My edit on this answer just got rejected with the reason below:

This edit deviates from the original intent of the post. Even edits that must make drastic changes should strive to preserve the goals of the post's owner.

Edit deviates from the original intent of the post? Was the original intent to have a typo in the answer? What I wanted to correct stands in the comment of the answer. Please advise.

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    $\begingroup$ The rejection was a little silly. My personal preference is to leave a comment (as you did) and let OP make the edit, if the edit has any mathematical significance. I wouldn't read too much into the stated rejection reason – it's one-size-fits-all boilerplate. $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2023 at 10:40
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson it is silly. Stack is my go-to choice for asking about anything really and now when I want to actually contribute by correcting something that is obviously wrong, I can't. Other people will stumble onto the question and without too much thought take the most voted answer as best and try applying it for their situation. The question is 4 years old, is it really going to stand there in its incorrect state and wait for the OP to come and correct it? $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2023 at 11:11
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    $\begingroup$ Your edit is fine and it should have been approved. You have also left a comment on answer which is a great gesture on your part. In such cases I usually edit the typo and write a comment like: "I have taken the liberty to fix a typo, hope it is OK". $\endgroup$
    – Paramanand Singh Mod
    Jan 20, 2023 at 12:37
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    $\begingroup$ However do have a look at How to make or suggest good edits which sort of discourages making small changes on old posts. Your suggested edit falls in this category. The key difference is that the typo has impact on mathematical correctness. $\endgroup$
    – Paramanand Singh Mod
    Jan 20, 2023 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ The answer being discussed has been edited to fix the typo and I have subsequently deleted your comment regarding the typo (in response to a "no longer needed" flag). $\endgroup$
    – Paramanand Singh Mod
    Jan 21, 2023 at 4:43
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    $\begingroup$ I would have rejected the edit for the reason that it adds a line beginning "Edit:..." to the text. Questions and answers on Math SE should read like unified passages of text. If someone wants to see the edit history, they can click the link---revisions to the text should not be made obvious in the text itself. By way of comparison, imagine if ever Wikipedia edit began with "Edit:...". $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Jan 21, 2023 at 21:01
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson Then please kindly let me know how to make a proper 1-character edit. $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2023 at 19:09
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelMunta You earn enough reputation. Once you hit 2k, your edits no longer have to go through the review queue, and you can make "small" edits. Until then, avoid making one character edits. Find additional ways to improve a post (the one cited here could, in my opinion, use a little copy editing), or leave a comment suggesting that the original author make an fix. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Jan 23, 2023 at 13:02

1 Answer 1


I'm going to make an actual answer, to collect some things that others said in the comments, and add one my own, as I think it might be useful for future readers:

  • The actual text, as mentioned, is chosen from list of canned responses, so you can't read too much into it.

  • There is definite prejudice against minor edits to old questions. This comes from people clicking on a question they see in the Top Questions list, spending the time to read it, only to discover that it's mostly dead and done, but someone corrected the spelling of a word. In this case, as you mentioned, you were correcting the actual math, and that is certainly worth doing.

  • Lastly, and maybe surprisingly, I think you should have been more aggressive in your edit. See, the site culture here treats answers more like Wikipedia articles than Reddit posts, in that we are perfecting (well, at least improving) the site's content, and are less concerned about maintaining a record of the conversation that takes place around that. So just go in there and fix the formula - you don't need to add the correction as a footnote, along with an "Edit:" notation. My guess is that if you had done so, the edit would have been accepted.

And thanks for spending the effort to fix the broken things that you notice here!

  • $\begingroup$ The only reason I added the "edit" part was because of that minimum character limit on edits. The edit literally requires changing 1 character on that particular answer. $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2023 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ Ha! I hadn't thought of that. I will mention that one trick I've learned to get around minimum character limits is that the LaTeX "\${}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}\$" can be added anywhere without affecting the displayed text. I wonder if that would have made people reject the edit too? I guess I might have made the edit comment "Fix formula, plus padding for minimal edit length". It's starting to seem like a lot of work to fix one letter, but I guess on a widely open platform like stackexchange we need some checks in place. $\endgroup$
    – JonathanZ
    Jan 20, 2023 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, I've only used the length padding trick for comments. I just assumed it worked for length checking for edits. $\endgroup$
    – JonathanZ
    Jan 20, 2023 at 21:55

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