I noticed that sometimes a user decides to go on a huge minor edit spree (such as right now, a user edited 10+ posts with rather frivolously, mostly grammar but sometimes even just adding a dash or a capital letter). I would like to discuss the rejection of "too minor."

The pro I can see is that it makes posts cleaner -- adding a small LaTeX or fixing a grammar mistake does improve the post, albeit slightly.

The con is that it bumps the post unnecessarily and it congests the review queue (though this isn't really a problem because of all the people who are willing to review them). The former is especially important when the posts are old.

Personally, I did reject them for being "too minor" since I felt they did not enhance the post in any meaningful way. What are your thoughts on the matter?

In the meanwhile, can I report someone for trivially editing old posts (years, in some cases), presumably to get the archaeologist badge?

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    $\begingroup$ You are not alone in thinking so: another reviewer rejected same edits. It's true that the user in question tends to go on editing sprees. Well-meaning, no doubt; but the rapidity of edits and their very minor nature can be seen as a nuisance. I would have rejected some of those myself, even though I'm generally in favor of edits. $\endgroup$
    – user127096
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 4:05
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    $\begingroup$ I think this topics periodically comes on meta. About once in a user doing something like that. Often this is the result of users coming from other SE communities, feeling that the behavior can be extrapolated between sites -- where in reality MSE (and MO) is quite different than the rest of the SE network. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 4:44
  • $\begingroup$ Some older discussions related to "editing sprees": How much bumping is too much?, User on an editing spree. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 6:01
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    $\begingroup$ I think the first thing which should be done should be pinging the user on some post he edited, with short explanation and/or links to some of the relevant meta threads. (In this particular discussion, it would probably be this one.) I'll just mention that editor can be pinged too. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 6:04
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding the aspiring archaeologist: go ahead and report him if you think he's doin' wrong. We'll look into it. But please do this through flags, not through meta. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander Gruber Mod
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 7:01
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, that part was more of an afterthought, this question was meant to be a discussion, not a witch burning. $\endgroup$
    – MT_
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 11:52
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    $\begingroup$ A simple solution would be removing the stupid feature of bumping questions when an edit is made. Is that really necessary? $\endgroup$
    – user85798
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ The fact that we time and again find ourselves telling people not to do things that are obviously good for the site just because they bump the question seems to point to a serious flaw in the way the site works. Is there no way of viewing the question list that doesn't move edited questions to the top? $\endgroup$
    – Jack M
    Commented Apr 5, 2014 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ FWIW I have pinged the user, who sparked this question, at one of the questions they edited. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 6:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Oliver Such feature request has been discussed several times, for example here: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/1920/… Personally, I think the bumping should stay - there are several reasons why it is useful. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 6:12
  • $\begingroup$ @JackM You asked: Is there no way of viewing the question list that doesn't move edited questions to the top? Did you mean newest tab, where the questions are ordered by the time they have been added? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 6:15
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Yes, that sounds pretty good. If that feature exists, then is it really such a big deal if we bump questions by editing them? Users who want to avoid seeing bumped questions can just use the newest tab instead. Also, I think I agree that altogether removing edit bumping would be a bad idea (although maybe a "do not bump" checkbox when editing would be useful). $\endgroup$
    – Jack M
    Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 7:01
  • $\begingroup$ @JackM I think that it is big deal (or, to use less strong words, that there is a reason why people complain it) is that many users (including me) prefer to use the active tab, where the posts are ordered by recent activity. When something new was added to an interesting old question, we want to see it. But there is no possibility to see whether a questions was bumped because of some minor edit or because of a new answer just from the list of questions. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 7:38
  • $\begingroup$ The users which make small useless edits probably want to get the golden badge for editing... I'm not sure why such a badge exists. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 13, 2014 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ @BeniBogosel I mean, I definitely appreciate that we have people who do a lot of editing on the site since they're doing the work for us lazier people. However when the award becomes an incentive scheme, you're bound to have some problems. $\endgroup$
    – MT_
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


Making a sufficiently large number of trivial edits on old posts is considered abuse of the system, and is grounds for a warning or suspension if the behavior continues. However, the difficulty lies in defining "sufficiently large number" and "trivial".

You can definitely flag suspected abuse; in fact please do so if the behavior seem like abuse to you (and give a brief explanation with your flag). In general you should err a little on the side of flagging rather than not flagging, since flagging itself has no direct consequences (or almost none - under certain conditions a large number of flags will delete a post) and even if the mods do not agree, if we think a flag is borderline we usually mark it as "helpful".

For reviewing minor (but correct) suggested edits, I try to weigh the benefits (improvement to the post) against the costs (bumping the post). Generally, I only reject the edit if the post is:

  1. Already off the front page.

  2. Does not correct any mathematical error.

  3. Does not make the post substantially easier to read (e.g. replaces 4 with \$4\$).

  4. Corrects at most 1-2 spelling/grammatical errors, or I see more such errors which are not corrected.

This is just my personal rule, and by no means do I think it is the grounds on which others must review.


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