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In this question in the main meta.SE is discussed the problem of serial minor editing.

Apparently there are no official guidelines for the SE network at large and the review history for suggested edits of this SE suggests that the vast majority of edits are blindly accepted, meaning that the "reject because is too minor" way is seldomly considered, even for cases (e.g.: this) where I think would have been approriate.

Do we have specific guidelines for aviation.SE to deal with serial minor edits that do not significantly improve the quality of answer/questions? Is there the intention to moderate this behaviour or it is deemed acceptable by the community?

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There's a bit of history to this. Two schools of thinking:

  • If an edit improves a post in any way, we should be thankful for it and accept the edit
  • If you're causing unnecessary work for reviewers, the edit should generally be rejected. Please don't gum up our system with trivial edits that don't really improve anything.

Both have merit and scale is an important factor. A lot of our 'network wisdom' on this comes from Stack Overflow, where the subject of editing has always been a little ... lively. They're also at a scale where the time reviewers have to spend is enormously precious and critical for the gears to keep moving. They've got problems that we just don't have here, and probably won't for a very long time.

What I suggest is, favor accepting edits made in good faith that do actually improve the post, while improving upon edits that miss something. If someone adds a period and leaves an entire train wreck behind, reject it. If someone litters up a post with needless and silly formatting that doesn't do anything to the text but make it look goofy - then reject it. It's hard to describe good faith, you just know it when you see it.

If / when this becomes a hardship on reviewers, we can establish more stringent editing guidelines. I'm inclined to think that we won't need them for some time, if at all. If you feel as if a certain editor, or group of editors is more or less taking time from your reviews that could be spent more productively - flag one of the edited posts and point it out to a moderator. Sometimes folks just need a little guidance when it comes to editing.

Just don't ever get to the point where this becomes a complicated question to answer:

I corrected a few problems in the post but wasn't sure of others, you're saying that I didn't do enough for you with my spare time?

Edits, in particular low-hanging fruit can be a great tool to get new people actively doing things on the site, so try not to complicate the process any more than it needs to be until it's really absolutely necessary.

When it comes to tags, if ever unsure - just post here. Do we really need this [foo] tag that was just introduced?. If it's obviously a bad tag and there's no real discussion to be had, just remove it.

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  • $\begingroup$ thank you, especially for pointng out the scale factor that I was overlooking. $\endgroup$ – Federico Jul 22 '14 at 6:36
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The general guidance is "If the edit doesn't contribute something of value to the post reject it as Too Minor." - for example, correcting E-Mail or EMail to the modern email would generally be "too minor".
Note that reverting such edits would also be "too minor" by definition (if the original edit was so minor as to have no net effect on the post reverting would also have no net effect, and would just be noise).


In the specific case you raise, I'm not sure we even need/want a tag, but I'll leave that decision to the community.
Personally I like to think I'm as environmentally sensitive as anyone, but when I turn the key in an airplane how many dead dinosaurs are going out the exhaust pipe is the very last thing on my mind: Flying for fun is already enormously impractical, and if I've actually got somewhere specific to be I'm more interested in making the trip safely & time-efficiently than my carbon footprint while doing so.

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  • $\begingroup$ Please bear in mind that the case wants to be only an example, and not the only case where such a thing has happened. Also, one could see how the user proceeds creating tags and then the tag wikis to gather reputation. $\endgroup$ – Federico Jul 2 '14 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico There is definitely a certain amount of potential for gaming the system here, but this is why the amount of rep you can get from suggesting edits & creating tag wikis is aggressively capped. (Honestly I have a bigger problem with the spurious edits messing up good content than with people gaming the system for rep - fortunately that's not happening here (yet).) How to make "suggested edit" (and other) review queues work better has been a frequent topic of discussion behind the scenes, but it's not an easy problem to solve. $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Jul 2 '14 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ I know that this isn't the point of the question, but carbon footprints are a big deal with jet operators and the EU carbon tax scheme.... $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Jul 3 '14 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ I agree on everything you said, except I wish I could agree also on that not yet. $\endgroup$ – Federico Jul 3 '14 at 6:37

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