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I tried to edit an article to fix a typo.
The edit page told me "fix grammatical or spelling errors" and "correct minor mistakes" but then told me off for fixing too few characters and told me to avoid trivial edits.

Which is it?

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That message is made to prevent too minor edit to a question, that may cause it to be continuously "bumped" to the top. Many edits might also cause it to become community wiki, which will prevent the posters from gaining reputation.

When you edit a post to fix typos (which is perfectly fine) just keep an eye for more important edits to be made: formatting, phrasing, capitals and so on. That way you'll really improve the post and hopefully no further edits will be needed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is the official Stack explanation, but it's kinda bogus. There is no reason a minor edit needs to bump a post to the top. We could have a checkbox "this is a minor edit" like Wikipedia, or just set a threshold for Levenshtein distance before a post is bumped. \$\endgroup\$ – markrages May 3 '13 at 17:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for bogus explanation theory. \$\endgroup\$ – AndrejaKo May 3 '13 at 20:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @markrages any edit to a post needs to be reviewed, so it always bumps. I can completely change the meaning of a post by only changing one character, so having review of edits will continue. All posts and edits bump the post so that others can review and vote/fix accordingly. It is ideal that you could let someone just tag, "minor fix" but not realistic. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 4 '13 at 14:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk, nope. We already have the mechanism in place for this. There is a review queue, and the original author is notified of edits. It's insane to bump questions for everybody on the site for one-character edits. \$\endgroup\$ – markrages May 4 '13 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @markrages review queue is for those that dont have high enough rep, notifying the author is going to often not cause any review, the author may not be here. Stevenvh for example. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 4 '13 at 15:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk: Maybe it might require more rep than being allowed to edit someone else's post, but after a while we really should be able to trust people that when they say a edit is minor, it really is minor. It could also require only some minimum number of characters changed. In the very unlikely case this ever become a problem, there could be a flag for overly aggressive minor edit. Knowing that edits are tracked and that there will be consequences for abuse should eliminate any problems. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 5 '13 at 12:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kortuk: I often see little things to fix in my own posts well after they were posted, but I usually don't because I don't want to bump it to the top and be perceived as rep-gaming. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 5 '13 at 13:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop there was some discussion about it and I think the conclusion was that you should fix the post, and if you gain some rep from bumping, well, let it be. Just make sure that you don't spam the main page with bumped questions, and keep the reviewing task at a low pace. \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 5 '13 at 15:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ If the edit is that minor, it's not really that necessary either. Perhaps one should consider if the changest to be made are worth having the question bump to the top of the queue - I see many (especially by certain users) where they aren't. Is it really worth bumping a question to remove "thanks in advance" if you aren't able to make a truly helpful contribution such as an answer or a comment suggesting a possibility to explore? And this question itself seems to have been an example. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton May 5 '13 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop It is not only for intentional errors, we all make mistakes, I get your point, but if you are taking the time to make a very very small fix, take the time to improve something else also, problem solved. Now you are gaming the system by using it the way you should. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 5 '13 at 21:45

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