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I don't know if this can be changed specifically for the Bitcoin Stack Exchange site, or whether it needs to be changed for Stack Exchange as a whole. Even if there is individual site fine grained control over this, I don't know if Bitcoin can have this changed while still in beta. I'm interested in hearing people's reasons for and against this policy, and whether there are ways of overriding it in specific instances such as the example I give below.

I've just suggested an edit to an answer which only required a single digit number to be changed from 2 to 3. In most cases a single character edit would be trivial and would not affect understanding of the answer, so editing would be discouraged. However, in this case the answer's example scenario already included a valid amount of 2BTC and another valid amount of 3BTC, so the typo accidentally referred to the other amount and gave a completely different impression of what was going on. The fact that 3BTC was intended and that 2BTC is just a typo would be obvious to someone who understands how transactions work, but the answer is explaining for the benefit of people who do not yet understand how transactions work, so the correction of the typo is essential.

Due to the automated ban of edits of less than 6 characters, I've had to go in and make other trivial edits in order to bring the total up to 6 characters. This is increasing the number of trivial edits being made and taking time away from useful changes that could be made elsewhere. I also expect that some people feel discouraged from contributing to the editing process. I'd like to hear from anyone who is.

I understand that it is useful to have methods to discourage trivial edits, but I do not believe that the importance of an edit can be judged based only on its length. Rather than an automated rejection, could there be an automated message that says

"This edit is likely to be rejected due to being less than 6 characters. Do you want to make further changes? Click here to submit anyway if you are certain it is not trivial"

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The first thing to note, edits are posted immediately (no review necessary) after you reach a certain rep threshold. On a graduated site, which Bitcoin.SE currently is not, I think that rep amount is 2000. On a non-graduated site I think the amount is 500 rep. You currently only have 356 rep, so you cannot yet enjoy this privilege. (On a side note, once the site graduates, your privileges will be reassessed and there is a likelihood that you will loose some of them).

In light of this, you may not think there is a problem anymore, but in case you do, here's the argument against allowing less than 6 character edits for low rep users:

  1. It first protects the content from vandalism and invalid edits. Even with the review queue, these edits use users' time; the offending edits still have to be rejected.
  2. It prevents trivial edits from low rep users that don't understand the site yet. I've spent a good deal of time on quite a few SE sites and can tell you that each site is quite different. You might have it down pat how they do it on one site, but that means nothing concerning another.
  3. It encourages complete edits. You currently have to change six characters to put an edit in the review queue. Since you only found the one, what you should do is look for others. I noticed at least two other characters that made for poor grammar. I personally think a few of the sentences could be reworded to omit unneeded words and clear up confusion as well.

So right now, if you see a post that needs a single character edit, go ahead and make it, but proof the entire post and make all beneficial changes. You will always be able to find 6 characters.

Once you reach the rep threshold for your edits to post immediately, still proof the entire post. It will build you a reputation as a good proofer and as a valuable asset to the site, and it will not seem trivial to all the users who will see the post at the top of the active page.

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