From time to time, I like editing questions and answers here and there that require some considerable formatting and overall question refining, so OP would actually have a good chance of someone answering their question.

While this operation is a bit time consuming and requires some effort - sometimes I stumble upon some very minor edits (usually done by high rep. users) that I'm not sure if they were actually needed, and what their gain is.

For example:

  • I edited this question and left the "TIA" word (since I use it in my questions and it's "nice to have"), while OP removed it.
  • In this question I edited, OP only changed the letter i to I in the title.

I'm not sure how the system even accepts such edits, as a revision requires at least 5 or 6 character changes to be submitted. I assume this gets approved automatically for high rep. users?

And if so, should we actually make such minor changes?

  • 5
    We generally don't use "polite" phrases (like TIA, Thanks,...) - in technical context they are regarded as clutter that doesn't make the question easier to read .
    – guntbert
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 21:22
  • When users add a whole bunch of words and sentences such as: "thanks for the help I'm a total beginner", I tend to remove them when editing. But I'm not sure a single word or two such as TIA, thanks, or thank you is that bad or critical. In my opinion at least.
    – Pizza
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 9:25
  • 1
    No worries - it is definitely not "that bad" :-) But please don't add such phrases when editing/suggesting an edit. (My comment was intended as a sidenote only)
    – guntbert
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 16:10

3 Answers 3


In both cases, it isn't the OP who made the secondary edits you refer to, but another user who was reviewing your suggested edit.

Reviewers other than the OP must have 2000 reputation. At that level, users can make edits:

  • without having to undergo review,
  • without having to meet the character limit,
  • however, without the 2-rep reward.

The help officially discourages trivial edits:

Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged - try to make the post significantly better when you edit, correcting all problems that you observe.


  • The "Improve edit" review action is specifically for cases where the reviewer feels a suggested edit missed out on something; and
  • At this rep, trivial edits only bother the OP. They get a notification when their post is edited, but then in such cases (suggested edits with an improvement tacked on) they're getting a notification anyway, so it makes no difference.

muru's answer is all true, but I just want to add some extra information, as the edits you linked are done by a user with the edit privilege.

And before answering your question, I want to explain how edits work first. There are 2 types of edits:

Normal edits

These are edits that can be done by anyone with the edit privilege. They don't need to be reviewed and they have no restrictions.

Edit suggestions

These are edits that are done by users without the edit privilege, which on Ask Ubuntu you receive after reaching a reputation of 2000.

Those edits have restrictions on them. A hard restriction, which is a minimum amount of character changes. And a soft restriction, which is set by the community where reviewers reject minor edits.

Having said that, the reason we prefer not to have minor edits isn't that they are just minor. It's because they waste reviewers time and daily review limit. We reject those to teach newcomers that they should put work into the edits so that they are worth being reviewed by two other members.

Once your reputation reaches 2000, you are free to do any sort of edits. Although it's still preferable to avoid minor and unnecessary edits, it's fine to do them, especially on new or active Q&A posts. You won't need to take the reviewer's time in this case. And that mostly what it is about.


Besides the managerial reasons stated by muru and Dan, I would also like to add a bit of technical reasoning.

Why are those edits allowed?

Because sometimes it's the details that make the difference.

I very specifically remember two weeks ago, when I was helping an owner of a small VPS setup a piece of software over Discord. To be honest the errors he was dealing with were quite novice-level, yet the OG developer of said software wasn't able to help him because his description of the error greatly confused him.

But then I realised why they were having trouble communicating - this VPS owner was confusing nvm - a program used to manage NodeJS versions, with npm - NodeJS's package manager. This developer had in fact never used nvm, thought it was a typo, and therefore was befuddled by the unfamiliar error messages the program was spitting out.

So all I did was pointed out the difference to both of them. They went "ah-hah", and the problem was solved in no time. Now imagine if this is a question on StackExchange - by simply changing a single letter, the question can become a whole lot clearer.

Now from a technical perspective, it's completely impractical to try to distinguish this kind of edit from other kinds of "meaningless" minor edits. I imagine you can train a neural network to estimate the "meaning delta", but that sounds like a lot of work and it is. Considering there is little to gain from spamming minor edits, it's best to just leave them alone.

Why are these edits registered in edit history?

Because no matter how small they are, they are edits nonetheless.

To give the simplest of examples - you can easily invert the meaning of a sentence entirely by inserting a "not". Hopefully I do not have to explain further why small edits need to be recorded as well.

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