I am a novice SE user, a toddler. After visiting the Help Center, I realized that one way of contributing to this community is editing. I browsed in the Help Center and found the guideline of editing from here.
In that page the reasons for editing are mentioned such as "To fix grammar", "To correct minor mistakes", and so on. But there is a word needed to be clarified: "Edits are expected to be substantial. I found the clarification here: In the response to the question "Why does this threshold (changing at least six characters) exist?", it is stated that "Suggested edits are intended to be substantive and improve the post overall, rather than just focusing on one issue."I So, all things are clear for a novice user to start editing.
So, What happened ...?
I never knew that one can see their editing activity on their profile until about some days ago. I was notified that one of my edits was rejected. I did not know its real reason. I followed the guideline of editing; there were some grammatical errors needed to be fixed.
One more surprising thing was that some of my edit was applied by a high rep user, who had rejected my edit. I have no objection to that because high rep users are trusted, they have right to do almost all things they want to do in this community (Some of their privileges can be seen here), and, most important, they are high rep.
We are not here to listen to your tragedy. What do you want from us?
As I said, I have no objection. I, as a typical non-high-rep user, only want the following issues to be answered so that I will never commit such a crime again.
1- As I said, I followed the guideline of editing. If there exists some other one, please let me know. Please, please, and please do not mention some hidden rules like bumping because I hope that you do not expect novice users to browse through all comments under Meta posts to find unwritten rules such as historical reason. It seems that here is a popular scientific community, whose trusted members claim that they are (future) mathematicians and expect others to ask and talk in a precise and rigorous way. So, should any clear and sharp rules, instead of vague terms like "critical" or "superfluous", not exist so that non-high-rep users' time and energy are not wasted and automatically ban, suspension, ... do not happen to them?
2- Suppose that my edit was the worst and most superfluous one throughout the history of MSE. So, why should a small part of my edit be applied by a high-rep user, who had rejected all my edit?
What was my wrong?
So, the word "substantive" means that an edit should change at least six characters. This is the only clarification that I can find in the SE guidelines (i.e., Help Center and Meta Posts confirmed by SE community managers). Ok, if you do not accept this interpretation, please bring yours with appropriate references.
ImportantUnfortunately, it seems that I could not convey my main concern; people here are trying to show that why my edit was not substantial. This is not the main issue. Please read my first question carefully. I say that when I, as a novice user, want to edit a post, I try to apply the rules mentioned in the Help Center or guideline Meta posts. In the Help Center it is explicitly stated that "Common reason for edits include: To fix grammar, To correct minor mistakes, ...", and there exists the word "substantial", which is needed to be clarified, as explained in the second paragraph and (I). A novice user should not browse all comments under Meta posts to find the SE guidelines. When an edit is rejected, it should be explained which part of the editing guideline has been violated.
Very Very ImportantI appreciate all your personal opinions; each of them is a good answer to the question "How can I edit a post well?". But, this is not the question of this Meta post. People here are still trying to explain how a well edit should be. All the answers and comments are opinion-based; none of them gives a reference or link to material in the Help Center (in contrast to what I did in my original post). Some people claim that an edit must be symmetric and address all issue with a post. I do not know why I cannot find such an important and short point in the editing guideline of the Help Center.
Some people claim that their own interpretation of the word "substantial" is the correct one, again without mentioning any reference. I clarified the meaning of "substantial" in the second paragraph of my original post and the point (I); "substantial" means "changing at least six characters", according to the reference. If you do not agree with me, please disprove it, with linking a reference.
Some people claim that all the nuances should not be mentioned in the Help Center. Why? Here is the only community I have ever seen that some of its trusted users state that a detailed guideline is not needed for the community. Please see the editing guideline of Quora; although it is detailed, it occupies a web page. The MSE does not have enough space to allocate a web page for such nuances? Is it not possible to extract the nuances from the comments under the Meta posts and insert them in the Help Center?
Some people claim that the MSE is a community of people that develop the norms (i.e., the unwritten rules) of their own. I completely disagree with this claim. The burden of codifying SE rules (norms, culture, or whatever you called) is on the SE community managers, and any SE member should not and cannot change even a tiny part of them. For example, even the moderators cannot add a dot in the guidelines included in the Helping Center. No privileges and no moderating tool allow anyone to develop any norm (I hope no moderators and no high-rep users are disturbed by my words. I really appreciate your efforts on this website. Although you are super-busy, you manage this community well).
There is a new claim stating that the MSE is not a mathematical object but a human one. I completely agree with it. However, please note that the members of a human community should not be allowed to have their own interpretation. For example, consider a city with some specific rules. What would be happen if the people were allowed to act according to their interpretation of the rules? We would then have an anarchic city. Suppose that I, as a novice user, agree with the comments and answers posted here. Even in this case, we have somewhat inconsistent opinions about the acceptable edit. For example, if my edit were reviewed by someone who believes that "fixing a very minor grammatical error is fine for very new posts", as one of the MSE moderators do, then my edit would be accepted according to this view. However, if my edit were reviewed by someone who believes that fixing very minor grammatical error is not fine even for very new posts, then my edit would be rejected. So, we, novice users, do not know how we should edit posts. Please note that I believe that the editing guideline in the Help Center is completely clear, but it seems that some high-rep users do not like that the posts can be easily edited (because of bumping and other reasons) and so want to reject minor edits.
ConclusionAfter posting the issue here, the attacks started. I, as a novice user, was heavily blamed and scolded; some people shouted at and ordered me not to make another edit even on this Meta post. Why? Because I wanted to improve the quality of the MSE posts. Because I devoted my time and energy to remove minor mistakes from the posts. Because I wanted to contribute honestly (As you know well, there are many users raising their reputation dishonestly). Because I wanted to ... .
So, I have to conclude that I committed a crime; in fact, I am not a novice user but a criminal. Now, I have a horror of editing or posting questions and answers on the MSE. I have a horror of contributing to this community. I have a horror of an automatically ban or suspension. I have a horror of ... .