Occasionally, I come across questions or answers with grammatical errors that have a major impact on the meaning of a sentence, but take less than 6 characters to fix. This question for example contains the following line:

When people visit, I will give them the key since I do trust them enough to perform illegal activities (at least knowingly) or eavesdrop on my traffic.

Obviously, the OP means "I trust them enough not to perform illegal activities..." But inserting "not" is less than 6 characters.

In cases like this should I:

  1. Add some unnecessary changes to get the edit character count up?
  2. Leave a comment to tip of the OP (who I think can edit less than 6 characters on his own post)?
  3. Just ignore it?

4 Answers 4


This sort of question crops up from time to time on various SE sites.

You should leave a comment.

You suggest adding unnecessary characters. These are just that - unnecessary. They would not improve the post.
Ignoring it will not solve the problem that you have found.

A comment will alert not just the OP but also any other reader of the post to the deficiency.

  • 15
    I'm not sure you can call minor edits unnecessary. A single character difference (a misplaced comma for example) can totally change the meaning of a sentence.
    – lzam
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 12:07
  • 1
    I was just quoting your option 1, which uses the word 'unnecessary'. It is true that a couple of characters changed can alter the whole meaning of a sentence. In these cases, a comment is preferable under the ethos of the site.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 12:10
  • 4
    This edit is necessary - the meaning is wrong, and could be confusing to a non-native-speaker. A comment just adds more confusion and more reading and mental processing to get the right meaning, or more work for someone else. Two wrongs don't make a right. Instead, find some more things to polish in the post, and fix it, knowing that the rule about minimum edit size is meant to protect against unnecessary edits.
    – nealmcb
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 3:19

When a very small change is required to fix the meaning of a sentence, you could also find other things in the post to edit, like punctuation or colloquial phrases, which could easily get you the 6 chars needed to propose/make an edit.

  • 4
    StackExchange isn't supposed to be a stable of writers who use a common synonym like "Associated Press"; different writers should be expected to have different styles. I think it would be better to confine edits to things which are semantically wrong, than to make stylistic "improvements".
    – supercat
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 19:33

Users who can edit without going into the suggested edit queue can make small edits like that. You can probably hop into the chat room and someone will take care of it for you.

The subject of minor edits has generated a lot of debate. I think the primary reasoning behind not allowing it for users under 2k rep is because they get reputation for every accepted edit, and it'd be otherwise very easy to game up reputation that way; users above that threshold no longer gain rep for making edits, so they're allowed to make small edits when necessary.


Even visual modifications are welcome - adding the code formatting tags for instance

I read on another Meta site that a solution is to leave a comment in the code of the answer

<!-- this is a comment to bypass the six characters limitation that I find useless --!>

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