# Should I edit posts that have one or more important words spelled incorrectly?

I would like to know this because there are many posts that, for instance, have a word or words spelled wrong, e.g. Raspbian as Rasbian. If these words are names of software or other important keywords this can be annoying, especially in the title of a post.

So the question is, should I edit posts such as these? Will such edits be considered as "too minor"? If I do any such editing should I let the reviewer know, in the description of the edit?

Thank you.

EDIT: So far I have had very different answers (some well received and some not so well received). It would be great if more high rep users would give their own personal take on this issue, in order to get a balanced view.

• I can't resist: Definitely don't correct them if they are spelled correctly in a different region's convention. :) – Brick Dec 5 '17 at 23:27
• @Brick OED allows both spelt and spelled, although I lean more to the latter. – Milliways Dec 7 '17 at 9:45
• @Milliways That was exactly the joke. – Brick Dec 7 '17 at 14:13
• @Brick: OOPS! I didn't notice that I wrote spelt in the title and spelled in the body! Oh dear, I really meant to use spelled. [: - ) – hat Dec 7 '17 at 15:51

By all means. There's been lots of discussion of this on Meta.SE, and as far as I can tell the only objection has been that people would abuse this to make 2 rep points at a time.

Which it would seem absurdly stupid to say, "No, please do not correct spelling errors in posts because we cannot afford to give you two rep points just for that".1 So there have been a few suggestions to swathe this affrontery, such as:

• Edits could be approved as "too minor", such that the edit would be okay, but you would not get anything for it.

• You could only receive a maximum of N points for edits done in M minutes.

Neither of these has been implemented though, which is probably for the best, since discouraging people from doing reasonable things voluntarily on a crowd sourced platform because we think we should show our lack of appreciation by saying this is not even worth 2 free internet points would be counter-productive.

One of the things from those discussions that I do take seriously, and it is the only reason I believe I have ever rejected an edit that was a legitimate correction, is that if you are going to make such changes, apply them evenly -- I think it is literally stated as "there should be no remaining errors", but this is a bit idealistic as not everyone notices the same errors, etc. The general point is, if there is a post that is full of obvious spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors, and you submit an edit that corrects just one of them, then I or whoever may go ahead and correct them (or not), after I reject your lazy attempt to scam two free internet points ;)

That still could be taken as a dissuasion to fixing posts that require a lot of fixing, on the basis of "I don't have time to do everything so since doing something is not appreciated I will do nothing". Again, if it's me, and you've made a reasonable effort (which, with short posts, probably does equate to "fixed everything"), you have my approval.

1. And as per comments below, not all spelling errors are created equal and it might be considered important that we help stop the propagation of Rasbian vs. Raspbian -- how do you arrive at the "too minor" criteria now?

• Thank you for the helpful answer! Just to make things very clear, would fixing Rasbian to Raspbian in this post be acceptable, or merely pedantic? [raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/53252/… – hat Dec 2 '17 at 15:40
• No, in fact that's not an unusual fix. It's commonly mispelled and correcting that helps prevent the mispelling propagate so this is more important than your average typo. I'd add a question mark to the end of the last sentence too. – goldilocks Dec 2 '17 at 16:13
• That helps a lot. I would not make such minor edits to words which do not really matter, but for names of software and/or OSs and similar cases, I will now edit whenever I come across such errors. Thank you again @goldilocks! – hat Dec 2 '17 at 16:32

I fall somewhere between goldilocks and Milliways, but more toward the side of goldilocks. I don't so much care about giving the 2 points away, but there are some unintended consequences of digging out old posts for "trivial" edits:

1. As Milliways noted, this creates activity on the question, which then promotes it to the top of the active question list, which then makes people think it's a new question. If you're correcting a minor typo from 2004 on a question that maybe doesn't even make sense in 2017, then let it go so that you don't accidentally lead everyone into reading a now-dead question or, worse, submitting answers. If the it's a recent question and a keyword has been misspelled such that the question might not hit on a reasonable search, then go for it.

2. Until you reach a certain level, your edits go into a review queue, which means someone else needs to spend their time checking your edit. Use some good judgement on whether or not your correction is worth their time in addition to yours. I don't have enough points to review on this site, but on the parent site I do reject edits that I consider trivial to discourage this type of behavior. Although it should be said the issue is on a much bigger scale there since there are a lot of such edits going through.

There's no bright-line division on these though. In the end, use good sense.

• Thanks for sharing your view! I have just checked the review queue's history and it would seem that we have had 25 items for review in there since Dec 1st. That is about three items a day and each has to be reviewed by two users. I dare say that the review queue is not putting undue stress on us, as of now that is. – Ghanima Dec 9 '17 at 10:18

My personal take on this issue.

    #!/usr/bin/env python3

editPost = 0

personalValues= {  #insert your personal values here
"tooMinor": 6,
"okPost": 3
}

post = {
"needsWork" : True,       #insert particular post details here
"correctionsNeeded" : 10,
"worth" : 3,
"crucialChanges" : 0
}

def editEvaluate():
if post["worth"] > personalValues["okPost"]:
if post["crucialChanges"] > 0 or post["correctionsNeeded"] >
personalValues["tooMinor"]:
return True
else:
return False

else:
return False

if post["needsWork"]:
if editEvaluate():
editPost = "should"
else:
editPost = "should not"

print("You %s edit this post." % editPost)


Here, as requested, is the same thing again in C. The fact that there is no natively supported substitute for the Python dictionary in C does make some big changes. The principle remains the same, but in my opinion the Python code demonstrates what I am trying to say better. One reason is that the Python syntax is closer to English.

#include <stdio.h>

#define TRUE            1
#define FALSE           0

/*Personal values*/

#define TOO_MINOR       6
#define OK_POST         3

/*Post*/

//Insert post attributes here
#define POST_NEEDS_WORK     TRUE
#define CORRECTIONS_NEEDED  10
#define POST_WORTH          5
#define CRUCIAL_CHANGES     0

int evaluate_post(void){
if (POST_WORTH > OK_POST){
if (CRUCIAL_CHANGES > 0 || CORRECTIONS_NEEDED > TOO_MINOR){
return TRUE;
}
else{
return FALSE;
}
}
else{
return FALSE;
}
}

int main(void){
char * edit_post;

if (POST_NEEDS_WORK){
if (evaluate_post()){
edit_post = "should";
}
else{
edit_post = "should not";
}
}
printf("You %s edit this post.", edit_post);
return 0;
}

• Could you post a c version of this code? – Milliways Dec 9 '17 at 12:13
• @Milliways: I am also new to C, and I am still trying to learn the more difficult basics (like pointers and data types). Please don't be too critical of my attempt! – hat Dec 9 '17 at 13:27
• This was intended as a comical comment, as I assumed was the post! – Milliways Dec 10 '17 at 4:36
• @Milliways, my post was comical, but I mistook your comment for a serious request. I was happy to post it in C, but as I said, I am still learning C programming. – hat Dec 11 '17 at 6:22

I am opposed to most edits - unless to correct misleading statements or errors of fact. If you think you know what the author meant, so will the rest of us.

Correcting spelling errors adds no value, and some people seem to delight in going back through history and performing trivial edits - this just serves to promote posts (quite often of little value) into the Activity queue, which wastes the time of others.

If you REALLY MUST correct errors, only edit recent posts.

I must admit I have to restrain myself from correcting the egregious errors of Apostrophe Man.

• An outstanding example of a trivial edit, which did nothing to improve the obscure question, and introduced 3 errors in grammar. raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/q/76286/8697 – Milliways Dec 10 '17 at 4:40
• I most heartily agree that such edits should be thrown out. – hat Dec 11 '17 at 7:48