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I'm a kind of person who like to see no flaw in the answers I posted here (I'm sure many of us mathematicians here share the same value as me to a certain extent). For that reason, I usually double check posts that I made earlier in the day or 1-2 days ago to make sure there's no silly error anywhere, be it typos or miscalculations etc. The problem is sometimes I spot just a single grammatical error and feel the urge to correct it.

Is there a way to make a small edit without bumping the question to the front page?

On one hand I don't want a question that is already answered to be bumped unnecessarily but on the other hand I really do hate to see an error left unfixed.

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There's currently no way to do that. Strictly speaking, all edits should be substantive.

If you want to stay strictly above radar, try to add something useful along with your typo correction. Often it is not too difficult to find some point that you can clarify, a reference you can cite, or some way of extending or generalizing your answer in order to genuinely improve it in a minor way.

That being said, you'll probably get away with a trivial edit here and there as long as you aren't bumping frequently enough to bother anybody.

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  • $\begingroup$ Does the bumping also happen when editing an answer, or only when posting a new one? $\endgroup$ – timtfj Jan 17 at 17:36
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    $\begingroup$ @timtfj Bumping happens when editing answers, too. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Gruber Jan 17 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ @timtfj You can find basic information (and pointers to more details) about various actions which bump question in the tag-info for bumping. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jan 21 at 7:58
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexanderGruber Thanks—that's helpful to know, though I think it's rather unfortunate. The site prides itself on quality and it seems paradoxical to have a situation where people have to avoid improving the quality of what they've posted. (To me, correcting a typo if I notice one is simply essential maintenance! And really skilful editing involves finding the smallest possible change which will improve something or fix a problem—so my instinct is that most edits should be minor but can never be "trivial".) $\endgroup$ – timtfj Jan 25 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Thanks for the link. I'd never have known to look there! I see the rationale for the bumping but I wish editing could be based simply on the quality of the text and opportunities for improving it, and not on avoiding bumps. Allowing competent editors to mark edits as minor would help (maybe basing competence on the proportion of rejected edits). $\endgroup$ – timtfj Jan 25 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ Another issue here is that the ideal time to re-read something and make minor corrections isn't immediately after writing it, but some time later when you can see all the blemishes. I would like to work through my old answers doing this, especially with ones that got upvoted and are more likely to be read, but the outcry that can follow such edits makes this seem somewhere between foolhardy and impossible. $\endgroup$ – timtfj Jan 25 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ @timtfj Well, I think that you can still edit posts to improve their quality. It's just that you should do so withing some reasonable limits. (If you try edit posts in some way that whenever you edit a question you also look for other possible improvements - and you do the same for answers - you'll find that this is time consuming process and it's actually quite difficult to edit too many posts in short time period.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jan 25 at 23:37
  • $\begingroup$ And I don't think that editing your old posts would cause an outcry if you don't do too much at the same time. (Of course, there might be some other side-effects. For example, if the question is low quality and it was missed when posted, it might get closed after you bump it.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jan 25 at 23:39
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak To be honest I don't think I'd have the energy to do many at once! I tend to want to edit when a post gets some attention (a comment or upvote), since it reminds me of changes I'd like to make. The change I want is sometimes just a judiciously placed comma or changing one word to a better one, though. $\endgroup$ – timtfj Jan 25 at 23:44
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak That linked post seems sensible to me. I can't imagine I'd want to work on more than a couple of old posts anyway. $\endgroup$ – timtfj Jan 25 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ @timtfj I would suggest that if we want to continue this discussion, we could do so in chat. (One reason is not to leave too long comment thread here - after all it seems we have digressed from the original topic. And additionally, we could spare Alexander Gruber from too many notifications for comments on a single post.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jan 26 at 0:06

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