I have found an answer with a dangerous mistake in chmod parameters. I did an edit suggestion(since I'm not privileged enough) but I was forced to change at least 6 characters for the system to accept it.

In many cases when there are command-line examples a single character can be the difference between a working, nonworking or worse, dangerous command.

Should smaller edits be allowed?

Are there any alternatives, should I flag the answer, describing the suggested edit, rather than edit it?

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    – Pandya
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


The post is otherwise so perfect that there is nothing in it that can be improved?

Suggested edits take time from peers to vet and approve, so we ask that they be somewhat substantive.

I don't feel 6 characters is an onerous burden. I say dream bigger! If you wish to make trivial 1 character edits at will, that is possible -- it just takes 2k rep.

  • 1
    In addition, if the author did a mistake, chances are other might as well. Therefore it is relevant to point out the mistake, which takes more than 6 characters.
    – hultqvist
    Commented Apr 3, 2011 at 10:44
  • 2
    @phq +1 ...sort of. Some possible mistakes, like rm -rf ~ /.something instead of rm -rf ~/.something, are definitely serious enough to merit correcting and also likely enough for others to make (and bad enough) to merit explicit mention. But some mistakes, like the one I described in my comments here, are typographic errors that are definitely important enough to correct, and yet unlikely that others would make. Commented Nov 10, 2011 at 18:37

And what if the post is indeed so perfect that nothing can be improved? What if it is not so perfect, but the editor does not have the expertise to make it an awesome post? I too had a similar experience now, where I wanted to correct a command-line thing, and one character was the difference between right and wrong.

Why waste the editor's time by making him/her look for things which can be rephrased without changing the meaning?

Why waste the approver's time by making him look at irrelevant parts of the diff which are there solely as a workaround to the 6-character issue?

Instead there should be a way to manually override the 6-character limit, an "I know what I'm doing, this edit is important" checkbox. A well-meaning user correcting a dangerous command to a correct command might get frustrated and annoyed by the system (and rightly so) and just let the dangerous command be.

  • 2
    Agreed. Recently I edited a post that had a - where a . should have been, in the name of a file. Since I was unable to make just that change, I did change the post in other ways, improve formatting, and user bigger markup (like <code>.</code> instead of tickmarks). Some of those changes were good, and others were merely neutral. If I had been warned that small edits are allowed but discouraged, with a message encouraging me to consider making additional changes if warranted, I think that would have the advantages of the current policy without the disadvantages. Commented Nov 10, 2011 at 18:31
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    The kind of message I'm thinking of is, for example: "Your edit only changes 2 characters. Tiny edits are discouraged on AskUbuntu unless they are very important. Please consider if the change you are making is important, and also consider whether or not there are other improvements you can make as well." (Then the user would be permitted to make/propose the small edit, if they really wanted to do so.) Commented Nov 10, 2011 at 18:32

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