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How do we decide if we should really go ahead with editing that nagging mistake in someone else's post? Is it OK to edit subtle grammatical mistakes, or typos?

Stack Exchange has this built in rule that the edit needs to be above a certain character count to be allowed. In practice this might mean that someone will edit more than they intended to, to be able to push their minimal edit through that first automated check -- that doesn't mean it will be accepted.

Once you have a certain level of reputation you don't get points for approved edits. Below this threshold you do, but your edits will be vetted by several members with sufficient reputation and we might consider your edit too minimal to constitute a valid edit.

If you think about it, there is a big difference between these two things:

  • correcting grammar, typos, punctuation (you become the mechanical Turk version of a spell-checker)
  • correcting or adding structure, terminology, images, links, and fixing typos

The combination of items in the second bullet point is what benefits the community most, fixing typos and minor grammatical mistakes is fine, but if the edit doesn't help further elucidate a question it will likely be rejected -- not because it was a bad edit.

What other things should we consider before editing a question?

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    $\begingroup$ Oh dear... *hides* $\endgroup$ – wchargin Aug 13 '13 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ @WChargin I agree with many of your edits, even style changes and redacting the fluff. Say more with less. But not everyone feels this way -- nor do they have to, I get it, the sense of ownership is a contentious point. $\endgroup$ – zeffii Aug 13 '13 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ gandalf3 is here too.. editing. :) $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Aug 14 '13 at 0:58
  • $\begingroup$ edits that fall into the second category (I hope), mind you ;) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Aug 14 '13 at 2:39
  • $\begingroup$ i'm OK with it! $\endgroup$ – zeffii Aug 14 '13 at 8:01
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Editing is a good thing. Stack Exchange themselves say:

We welcome all constructive edits, but please make them substantial. Avoid trivial, tiny one-letter edits unless absolutely necessary.

They also suggest:

How to edit

  • fix grammatical or spelling errors
  • clarify meaning without changing it
  • correct minor mistakes
  • add related resources or links
  • always respect the original author

Sometimes questions have such bad grammar, because the asker is not a native speaker of English.
In those cases, the questions are really hard to follow. If you can understand it, fix it up. If you don't, it would be best to leave it as it is, as you could change the meaning of a sentence or paragraph.

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  • $\begingroup$ what reference is that from? maybe you could link to it? $\endgroup$ – zeffii Aug 13 '13 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ It's when you click edit on a question/answer. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Pendergast Aug 13 '13 at 12:01
  • $\begingroup$ I see, it is good to be reminded of this -- perhaps I have been harsh on recent proposed edits. $\endgroup$ – zeffii Aug 13 '13 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ Well, personally I'd like to fix spelling, just as I'd appreciate someone else correcting a typo in my posts. Writing your instead of you're or then instead of than are off putting and don't need to stay in a post. I don't really understand the 6 character threshold yet $\endgroup$ – Haunt_House Aug 13 '13 at 18:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Haunt_House, neither do I. fixing minor typos should be an entirely painless under-the-radar activity. $\endgroup$ – zeffii Aug 13 '13 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ @zeffi very true. $\endgroup$ – Haunt_House Aug 13 '13 at 23:07
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This already seems to be covered by Why can people edit my posts? How does editing work?

When should I edit posts?

Any time you see a post that needs improvement and are inclined to suggest an edit, you are welcome to do so. The original author of a question or answer may always edit their own post, regardless of reputation level.

Edits are expected to be substantial and to leave the post better than you found it. Common reasons for edits include:

  • To fix grammar and spelling mistakes
  • To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)
  • To include additional information only found in comments, so all of the information relevant to the post is contained in one place
  • To correct minor mistakes or add updates as the post ages
  • To add related resources or hyperlinks
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We don't need small obsessive edits but we do want to maintain a high quality of content here.

We need to remember that this site uses English, which is not the native language of many users and these questions and answers will be archived here for several years for others to find. It is effectively an extension of the official documentation. Maybe even a testing ground for improving the documentation.

The quality of content here will reflect on the blender community as a whole. Poor quality here will give possible new users a bad impression of the whole blender community.

So when you want to edit something, will your edit improve the perception of the blender community? Will it improve the ability of someone to find a relevant answer when searching? Do the official docs also need clarification on this point?

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    $\begingroup$ I think even small edits are valid often, take for instance the situation where you suddenly notice a typo in a book or on-line article -- how often do we wish we could correct it and move on? I don't think this has anything to do with pedantry, and I agree that the content here will (increasingly) be perceived as the reference for new users -- we better make sure it's not only accurate but also free from the most obvious typos. $\endgroup$ – zeffii Aug 14 '13 at 10:41
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    $\begingroup$ So maybe typo corrections shouldn't be perceived as 'not significant enough' $\endgroup$ – zeffii Aug 14 '13 at 10:43
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    $\begingroup$ Just for good timing Matt Gemmell posted this yesterday about bad grammar in posts $\endgroup$ – sambler Aug 16 '13 at 12:38
  • $\begingroup$ that's a great post to reference - thanks for this share! $\endgroup$ – zeffii Aug 16 '13 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ Great link @sambler! I wish more people understood the principles in that article . . . $\endgroup$ – VRM Nov 22 '14 at 19:13

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