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I've reviewed a number of suggested edits recently where the reason is "copy edited" and spelling or formatting changes have been made. These nearly always improve the original question in some (often minor) way, generally by fixing English usage.

Here is one example.

I rejected that suggested edit because:

  • it doesn't make the question easier to understand, it just fixes typographic issues.
  • it's a very old question which has no recent activity, so I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that it would bump up to the top.

My question is: should I be taking into account the age of the question when accepting or rejecting these edits?

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    \$\begingroup\$ That's hardly his worst case. See for example this one. \$\endgroup\$ – Keelan Apr 6 '15 at 20:26
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One of the most notable things about Stack Exchange that sets it apart from regular forums is that bumping old topics is okay. Our question guidelines dictate that we don't allow questions that are too specific in location/time (ie: shopping questions), so the vast majority of questions on this site will continue to be useful years after they've been asked.

With that in mind, I don't think editing old questions/answers is ever a bad thing. If the edit makes the question/answer easier to understand, perfect! Putting it on the front page might even let some new people find one of the old gems on EE:SE.

I say that you should process the edit like any other - you might not even need to look at the age.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The example isn't bad, but it's kind of silly to bump new content down the page to change 3 letters on a 4 year old post. \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Young Apr 6 '15 at 13:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe, but it's also kind of silly to edit a new post to change 3 letters. (Unless your last name is Mortensen.) \$\endgroup\$ – Greg d'Eon Apr 6 '15 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ No sillier than having the Community bump a half dozen dead topics at the same time. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Apr 6 '15 at 16:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Scott: The "Community" bot doesn't bump a bunch of topics at once, and only those that never got a acceptable answer. Of course sometimes OPs are too lazy to mark one answer as accepted, but that's another problem. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Apr 7 '15 at 19:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another thing that sets apart SE from other places is the huge gulf in cultures between sub-communities. Case in point: minor grammar/spelling edits are utterly frowned upon and rejected on math.SE. It's even in their faq somewhere if you look. \$\endgroup\$ – Fizz Sep 26 '15 at 11:22
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I'd accept good edits regardless of the date. It keeps the archive looking right.

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I find it annoying when people acceptably correct minor typos BUT simultaneously introduce stylistic changes which are matters of personal preference and which may in the process alter meanings or remove information or may make changes which are 'just plain wrong'. Occasionally people accept such changes before I get to see them. Quite how to deal with this is not obvious.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Reject & edit". \$\endgroup\$ – Fizz Sep 26 '15 at 11:23
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The occasional minor edit to clean up and beautify a old post is OK.

It becomes a problem when a user goes on a spree and suddenly a dozen old questions flood the front page and push out new questions that therefore will get fewer answers or get ignored altogether. If you see a bunch of edits on old posts, particularly from the same user in a short time, flag it for moderator attention and let them deal with it. They can send a message to the user telling them to only edit a few old posts at a time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There are some users in the system (especially on SO itself) whose participation seems to consist entirely of this sort of edit noise. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Apr 8 '15 at 19:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe corrections are a good thing. Perhaps the system can pace the speed at which old posts come to the front if there are too many (due to any reason). The edits are in no rush as it were so they could come through one for every 5 new questions and then everyone is happy and the system handles the counting and stuff. \$\endgroup\$ – KalleMP Apr 9 '15 at 23:16

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