I know that trivial edits (and style wars/most style edits) are inappropriate on RPGSE. But the question arises, how trivial is trivial? For example, I recently saw this edit on an old question: one genuine typo fixed, parenthetical paragraph replaced with a regular one, and a contraction was replaced by the full form. This is just an example; there are others, of varying 'sizes'.

Is this considered a big enough improvement in clarity to warrant an edit? Or is it inappropriate? Furthermore, if it's inappropriate, should it be reverted to prevent 'fait accompli' phenomena/tactics?


3 Answers 3


A trivial edit is one which doesn't enhance readability even a little

A common example is choice between multiple comprehensible styles; for example, to my knowledge, the "official" style used in D&D 5E for spell names is italics without title case, but I've seen (and used) the opposite Title Case Without Italics as well. Either of those styles is equally comprehensible.

The linked edit is basically fine

One of the things explicitly listed as a good reason to edit is

to fix grammatical or spelling mistakes

The corrected typo obviously counts. The change to eliminate the parenthetical paragraph doesn't fit one of the example categories, but I think it is slightly beneficial. The change of "What's" to "What is" would be trivial on its own, but I wouldn't rollback an edit just because part of it is trivial. I think that change was most likely tacked on to the edit in order to satisfy the minimum characters changed requirement. Speaking of which...

The 6-character requirement applies across StackExchange and is unlikely to change

Even if it were the case that RPG.SE wanted to permit smaller edits, I don't think it would be possible without convincing the entire network. You can read more about the requirement here.

Basically, fixing a typo is not trivial even if the change is too short to be proposed, and making a lot of trivial edits to meet the minimum character requirement does not keep the edit from being trivial, but the requirement remains nonetheless.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note the editor has the ability to edit freely and does not need to change at least six characters for their edit to be accepted. They could choose to modify only one character. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 19:35

"Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged" but it's always helpful "to make the post significantly better when you edit"

In the particular example you've cited, it seems clear to me that all the changes were improvements to comprehending the problem:

  • Typos are errors. Fixing the typo fixed the legibility.
  • Mixing contractions and possessives with 's makes parsing visually difficult. Using the 's only where necessary (the possessive) simplifies parsing.
  • Parenthesizing the majority of a post's content violates the purpose of parenthetical expressions and confuses the intent of the content. Removing them avoids making the entire post look like an aside.

I know your question isn't about this particular example, per se, but examine that example and my bullet points above in light of site policy:

Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged - try to make the post significantly better when you edit, correcting all problems that you observe.

If an edit makes the post significantly better by correcting observed problems, it is by definition not a tiny, trivial edit. The number of symbols changed isn't what's significant; whether the post is better after the change is the deciding factor.

So let's consider a hypothetical example where an edit occurred to the same example post, but instead of the three changes above, the following three changes were made:

  • Putting a comma after "If someone dies."
  • Changing "easy to consider" to "straightforward to treat."
  • Removing the quotation marks around the "physical person" and "meta-person object" phrases.

Then the total amount of content changed is actually more than what was changed in the real example case, yet the meaning wouldn't be more clear to a reader than it was before, so it wouldn't have been a significant improvement. That's what a tiny, trivial edit would look like, and site policy on those is pretty clear.

TL;DR: So, how trivial is too trivial? By definition, if it's a significant improvement, it's not trivial and should be encouraged. If it's not a significant improvement, it's trivial and should be discouraged (or rolled back as necessary).


Nothing that needs fixing is too trivial to fix.

For examples of minor edits, V2Blast has a long track record of correcting all sorts of minutiae from formatting to hyphenation. While each individually may be very minor, it has made for a much more consistent reading experience on this stack.

I think the policy should read, "Making small edits for the sake of making edits is discouraged."

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    \$\begingroup\$ IOW, you say that the first link ('Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged') is outright incorrect, and the SE policy should be overturned? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 15:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @vicky_molokh No, a 'tiny, trivial edit' isn't something that needs fixing. If it needs fixing then it's not 'trivial', by definition. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 16, 2019 at 23:25

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