I asked Problem in understanding the proof of boundedness of a convergent sequence. yesterday & received some decent answers; however the answer posted by @Brian M. Scott explained lucidly my problem & so I accepted it today. But then I noticed, he mistook in forgetting to include $|\;\;\;|$ in two places even he mentioned them in earlier lines. So, I suggested an edit where I included the absolute sign & did some minor edits to make the edit 6 characters long. But to my surprise my suggested edit were rejected by __ putting reason:

This edit does not make the post even a little bit easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible. Changes are either completely superfluous or actively harm readability.

I, shocked, then posted a comment to @Brian M. Scott regarding the typo:

Sir, thanks for the answer. Shouldn't in $s_k≤|s_M|≤M$ & $s_k<|s|+1≤M$, there would be $|\;\;\;|$ in $s_k$; in the above lines you've written them correctly including $|\;\;\;|$ sign: "Now we know that $|s_k|≤|s_m$| if $1≤k≤N$, and $|s_k|<|s|+1$ if $k>N$"; but later, you didn't mention them. So, I think this is a typo:| – user36790

to which he responded quickly:

@user36790: Yes, I inadvertently omitted the absolute value signs around $s_k$ in the displayed formulas; they’re fixed now. Thanks for noticing.

& made an edit the same as mine.

So, why was my edit rejected even though it was correct & later the same edit was made by the answerer?? How, by correcting the signs, I did nothing to make it "a little bit easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible"??

I do confess that the minor edits I made to meet the 6-characters criterion, were really unnecessary. But this doesn't at all, mean you have to reject my edit. The reviewers could improve the edit by undoing the unnecessary edits without altering the main i.e. the mathematical one. After all, they have the scope to improve the edit; but they made a haste & rejected:(

  • $\begingroup$ Here is a link to the review: math.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/465591 $\endgroup$ – Peter Woolfitt Aug 19 '15 at 4:40
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    $\begingroup$ As a side note, I find the wording of this rejection message needlessly inflammatory. The following message would be more neutral "This edit does not make the post easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible. Changes are either superfluous or harm readability." No need to include the words/phrases "even a little bit," "completely," or "actively." $\endgroup$ – Peter Woolfitt Aug 19 '15 at 4:45
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    $\begingroup$ TBH, I find that there is a double standard of sorts in regards to edits. People under 2K rep sometimes make valid edits that get rejected and sometimes make silly mistakes that should be rejected, but folks above 2K rep have carte blanche. I've run across several edits that are absurdly silly, such as in (cont) $\endgroup$ – wltrup Aug 19 '15 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ this question, where someone edited both the question and the answer just to change $dt$ into $\mathrm dt$, and nothing else. $\endgroup$ – wltrup Aug 19 '15 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ @wltrup: And that edit (of the question, anyway) was also incorrect. If nothing else, it should be \operatorname{d} and not \mathrm dy. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 19 '15 at 16:48
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Either way, it's an incredibly silly edit. I venture a guess that it's how many people over 2K rep acquire easy rep points, by doing lots and lots of trivial, often silly, edits, just because they can. $\endgroup$ – wltrup Aug 19 '15 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ @wltrup Interestingly enough, after the 2k threshold, you're no longer awarded 2 points for editing posts. But it's an interesting edit nonetheless :) $\endgroup$ – pjs36 Aug 19 '15 at 17:22
  • $\begingroup$ @pjs36 Ahh... I didn't know that. I'll take my guess back and I'll venture another, that that particular reviewer has a very strong pref for how certain things should be formatted. I can understand that. I have my prefs too but I think any sensible person should know not to indulge one's prefs just because they can. I once had someone edit an entire answer of mine replacing all occurrences of $i$ with $\iota$ for $\sqrt{-1}$, and nothing else. TBH, I found that insulting, not so much for the $i \to \iota$ (that too, given how silly it is) but for editing someone else's answer just like that. $\endgroup$ – wltrup Aug 19 '15 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ @wltrup more productive than guessing the motives could be to tell the editor in a non-confrontational way that their edits are not really appropriate (one can at-notify editors, even though there is no autocomplete for them). Maybe they just read somewhere their way is the correct way to typeset this and try to help. $\endgroup$ – quid Mod Aug 19 '15 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ @wltrup: There is also a limitation on how many points you can obtain by suggesting edits. I think that 1k is the limit, so you still have to make another 1k worth of contributions. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 19 '15 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ It seems to me that the rule should simply be "edit if necessary", not on the basis of how pretty or not pretty it looks and not on the basis of one's formatting preferences. $\endgroup$ – wltrup Aug 19 '15 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ @quid Certainly, and I've done so in various occasions (though, ironically, not on that one). $\endgroup$ – wltrup Aug 19 '15 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ @wltrup But what is "necessary"? It is a quite vague notion. Some think $sin(x)$ is good enough. Some think $<v_1, v_2>$ is good enough or even correct. I don't while mainly it will seem to be about formatting preferences (though correct semantics are more important to me). But then I often do not bother to adjust the size of parenthesis and alike as I think it is good enough without. Some others might see this differently. I'd propose: "if something follows an established convention, don't change it to another." (This is still a bit vague but I feel less so.) $\endgroup$ – quid Mod Aug 19 '15 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @quid Fair enough, perhaps I'm writing without thinking right now. Some edits are obviously needed. If someone writes $\sin x + \cos x \equiv 1$, we all know what to do. I'd imagine that readability is also a necessity but that opens a can of worms. Is $a\,x^2$ more readable than $ax^2$? Most likely not. I suppose what I really wanted to say since my 1st comment in this thread is that people should exercise common sense in their edits. How? I don't know but I still think it's something that deserves a discussion, though (cont) $\endgroup$ – wltrup Aug 19 '15 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ @wltrup: Let me offer my general idea. If a post is on the front page (or even front page of some well-populated tag), then it's fair game for sin to \sin and other minor corrections. If it's not, then I will generally try to determine how useful is my edit going to be (overall, or just the sin to \sin and the like). If I feel that the improvement is worth the bump, I'll do it. If not, then I'm probably not going to. In any case only formatting (LaTeX or otherwise) should be made, unless reasonable circumstances suggest you may correct obvious mathematical typos. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 19 '15 at 23:06

The review was perhaps hasty, but there was a reason.

Obviously I have no way of knowing for sure, but my guess is that the rejection derives from the change in the italicization. Part of the suggested edit was changing "and stay" to "and stay" which, by itself, seems a superfluous change. Maybe this was done for minimum character change edit requirements? This could have lead to a rejection without further consideration of the mathematical changes (probably since understanding the mathematics takes more time).

Still, if one had been a careful/conscientious reviewer, the correct review would have been to approve or override the edit and maintain the italicization (or skip the review and post a querying comment on the answer itself as you did later).

  • $\begingroup$ I had no intention to italicize it but to make it more than 6 characters long, I'had to make something; isn'it?? I've written in my edit what I've done & also mentioned that I 've made some minor edits to make it more than 6 characters long. But if they only saw the italicized character, then of course, it's not my fault:( $\endgroup$ – user142971 Aug 19 '15 at 5:05
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    $\begingroup$ And if they have no time to check, then (I'm insulting no one.) they 've no right to review. I don't want to make this a big issue; I've got a mind-blowing answer from a distinguished maths professor- I don't want anything more. But inevitably it did sadden me:\ $\endgroup$ – user142971 Aug 19 '15 at 5:09
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    $\begingroup$ @user36790 Yeah, I'm guessing they didn't read/notice your review comment. If they had, then they should have realized what was going on. $\endgroup$ – Peter Woolfitt Aug 19 '15 at 5:10
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer:) $\endgroup$ – user142971 Aug 19 '15 at 5:12
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    $\begingroup$ @user36790 (Actually, the minimum character limit is another issue I have with the system. It seems especially unreasonably for the math portions of stackexchange where small changes can make big differences in meaning. Still, that's a discussion in and of itself) $\endgroup$ – Peter Woolfitt Aug 19 '15 at 5:12
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    $\begingroup$ It is very rarely the case that a $(\le 5)$-letter edit is at the same time completely essential and the only possible improvement possible for a post. So rare that IMO it's not worth it to open the can of worms that allowing everyone to make these tiny edits would be. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Aug 19 '15 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, I'd say 70%+ of the posts on this site have grammar/syntax issues. That by itself is enough to push the character limit. $\endgroup$ – Zach466920 Aug 21 '15 at 2:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Zach: The answer in this particular ordeal is by Brian M. Scott, and I have a hard time recalling any grammatical issues with his posts... :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 21 '15 at 7:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf If you really want to nitpick, he started a sentence with a math symbol. Some people consider that to be not great. And I think "and there is a largest" should be "and there is a largest one" (a native English speaker can correct me). But at that point it seems very petty. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Aug 21 '15 at 7:55
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Case and point, edited and fixed an dependent clause error with two commas "Part of the suggested edit was changing "and stay" to "and stay" which , by itself , seems..." And added "will" to a verb tense error. "This will lead to a rejection without further consideration of the mathematical changes" this makes a total of 6 characters added ;) $\endgroup$ – Zach466920 Aug 21 '15 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ Turns out adding "will" was incorrect, go figure, changed it to "could have". $\endgroup$ – Zach466920 Aug 21 '15 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Zach, "Case and point"? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Aug 21 '15 at 22:10

The edit proposed wasn't a good edit. In order to meet the six characters limit, you had to make some silly changes, and it is a good thing that those weren't approved.

If you want to correct a mathematical typo, I suggest you point it out in a comment, and let the author correct it on their own.

(In full disclosure I am strongly opposed to editing other people's answer for any non-formatting reasons; and I tend to reject most suggestions on my posts (or even roll them back at times), even if I end up accepting the suggestion later on.)

  • $\begingroup$ Okay, even Brian made the same edit. So, have I no right to edit other posts?? $\endgroup$ – user142971 Aug 19 '15 at 5:20
  • $\begingroup$ And BTW, the reviewers could improve that without rejecting my edit. $\endgroup$ – user142971 Aug 19 '15 at 5:22
  • $\begingroup$ Your edit was either mathematical in nature, and should have been pointed out in a comment to Brian to fix on his own; or it was about changing italics to boldface and "and" to "&", in which case it shouldn't have been done. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 19 '15 at 5:27
  • $\begingroup$ Note that "your edit" included more than just adding absolute values. So no, your edit wasn't made later. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 19 '15 at 5:28
  • $\begingroup$ Calm down. If you insist on being dramatic, I am going to insist not to reply further. Have a nice day. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 19 '15 at 5:36
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    $\begingroup$ "if I make the edit, is it a sin or crime??" is a dramatization of what happens. This site is not [yet] a religion, it is not a sovereign state, so it is not a sin nor a crime. The edit wasn't suppose to happen. Had the reviewers chose to "Approve & Edit", I would have said that they are at fault just as much. Mathematical typos should, as a general rule of thumbs, be pointed in a comment. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Aug 19 '15 at 5:42
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I got no word to describe my view; but I don't think it is wrong to make an edit of other's post if it is correct. However, by now, I'll take your advice. Still, I would say the reviewers could improve the edit & not just reject it. Thanks again & extremely sorry for bothering you:) $\endgroup$ – user142971 Aug 19 '15 at 5:46
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    $\begingroup$ @user36790 "So, have I no right to edit other posts??" That's correct, for now you only have the possibility to suggest edits to other posts. Once you reach 2000 reputation points you will be able to edit every post without anyone needing to check it beforehand. Presumably to give you time to learn what edits are and aren't acceptable. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Aug 19 '15 at 10:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Najib Idrissi: I'm talking about "suggesting" edits; not edits. This is implied, after all. $\endgroup$ – user142971 Aug 19 '15 at 10:56
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    $\begingroup$ @user36790 "I don't think it is wrong to make an edit of other's post if it is correct." How can you be sure that it is correct? After all you are asking a question and presumably more experienced people will answer. So, the logic (which I admit is not always true at all) would say that you misunderstood the answer and not that the answerer made a mistake. $\endgroup$ – Surb Aug 19 '15 at 13:27

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