Why does the system block typo-fixing edits below 6 characters?

This question contains a couple of unfortunate typos in the blockquote at the top; however, it seems that I'm not able to propose an edit, because it would be below the minimum limit of 6 characters.

Can I ask what the purpose is of this character limit, that is preventing me from trying to clean up this question? The way I see it, even a 1-character typo in a conspicuous place can be irritating ..

• Now fixed! ${}{}$ – John Rennie Aug 20 '18 at 14:41

2 Answers

The character limit is in place to discourage the suggestion of trivial edits (e.g. adding a single period at the end of a post).

Once you have full editing rights (at 2k reputation), i.e. when your edits are no longer submitted for review but directly applied to the post, you can also submit one-character edits.

• Ok thanks. I guess I need to get up to 2k then, before I can correct typos :-) – Time4Tea Aug 20 '18 at 14:18
• @Time4Tea It bears remarking that, once you reach 2k rep, you're expected to refrain from such small edits unless they really, truly, absolutely need to be fixed, and there is no other fix that can be applied to the post. Minor typo edits bump inactive questions to the front page and displace content that's actually active and of greater interest, and it should only be done when absolutely necessary or as part of a bigger package of fixes on the whole thread. – Emilio Pisanty Aug 20 '18 at 18:12
• @EmilioPisanty if that is the main issue, then perhaps the system should be changed, so that questions don't get bumped if the edit is less than 6 characters? Just my opinion, but it seems a little silly that we can't correct typos to improve the quality of questions/answers. – Time4Tea Aug 20 '18 at 18:20
• @Time4Tea That's been requested, and declined, multiple times on the Mother Meta (example). (Also, with this kind of feature, it's worth looking on MSE if there's already resources on the topic - there normally are.) This is simply not a feature that SE is going to reconsider anytime soon; the Q&A engine is a finely tuned machine by now, and what you're proposing is a major change that would have all sorts of unforeseen implications. – Emilio Pisanty Aug 20 '18 at 18:29
• @EmilioPisanty ok, thanks for the link, I wasn't aware of that. – Time4Tea Aug 20 '18 at 18:43
• Oh, this explains why I didn't understand how the character limit for edits worked. I didn't realize you could edit any length at 2k rep. TIL. – JMac Aug 20 '18 at 20:22
• @EmilioPisanty The important exception is when the post is already high up on the front page: tiny edits by 2k users are ok for such posts. – user191954 Aug 21 '18 at 7:45
• @Chair As with all rules on this site, it needs to be applied with due judgment and consideration. In this particular case, if it's a minor edit of an old post that's already on the front page, that last fact should be noted explicitly in the edit message - it will make the reviewer's job a whole lot easier. – Emilio Pisanty Aug 21 '18 at 8:25
• @Time4Tea There's indeed a lot of nooks and crannies if you want to learn the system in full detail. Meta Stack Exchange is the place for that. – Emilio Pisanty Aug 21 '18 at 8:28

Another option is to look at whether the answer could be improved by a judicious minor addition of useful and non-controversial information - taking care to ensure it doesn't detract from or alter the intention of the original answer. The addition thus provides the platform for fixing the odd typo, while at the same time helping to achieve the SE goal of providing excellent and useful answers.