On English.SC, we voted to edit non-controversial errors in the questions and answers of others. The argument went that, since the site was about English, it would be more appropriate there than anywhere else to do so.

What do you think: should we do the same on Linguistics?

I have in mind typos, lack of punctuation or capitalization, unclear formatting, etc. I think it would be in the spirit of our founders to edit, but others might disagree.

3 Answers 3


I would definitely say yes. It does no harm to do so, and it might even increase the expert-appeal of the site.

  • 4
    Isn't this the prevailing convention across all SE? On SO, it's very common to do edits on code and link formatting. I like that it's in place there and I think it's one of the better ways to have professional appeal. I see no reason Linguistics should be any different.
    – Steven
    Sep 14, 2011 at 20:57
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    @Steven It rather is the prevailing convention across the network.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Sep 14, 2011 at 21:18

In general, this is rather the spirit of edit permissions is to fix these elements. The point is to fix the things that do not take away from the intent and meaning of the original author. Typos, poor grammar and formatting, all that is fixed without needing to interfere with the post content. I say go for it! It does nothing but improve the post.

Remember, the reason edits under 6 characters are prohibited for suggested edits is because we encourage people to try and do all the edits at once.

  • 1
    Really, is that what's behind the 6-character rule? Well...I don't know what to say. It certainly wouldn't/didn't work for me. I'd simply close the tab if I got such a warning, because it didn't seem important enough to go through the frustration of trying to find another five errors when I was really busy doing something else. In comments, I always type filler text, but it still annoys the hell out of me. Sorry for my aggressive tone, it's not personal.
    – Cerberus
    Sep 14, 2011 at 21:11
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    You aren't the only one. There's more to it, but the main thing is that with suggested edits, someone has to approve it. You're putting that extra work on someone else, who's going to look at a post that has 8 typos, someone only fixed a single one, and now that good editor has to both approve this one typo and then fix remaining seven herself. That's why we ask for substance - to make it worth the while of approvers, and to make it less likely that they have extra work because of a random anonymous user's (remember, any user, even anonymous, can suggest edits) laziness.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Sep 14, 2011 at 21:18
  • As an approver, I don't feel obligated to go check other things as well when I just have to approve a small, simple edit. I just glance at it and press OK. I have no way of checking beforehand whether it will be an edit in a question that I find interesting enough to read.
    – Cerberus
    Sep 14, 2011 at 21:21
  • I'd also like to know how we were meant to deal with small typos like the one in the following screenshot. I don't see anything else to correct, and I don't like to add random stuff for no good reason. Screenshot of an answer. I just left it like that.
    – Cerberus
    Sep 15, 2011 at 4:54

We asked this same question on Travel when it was a baby and the advice we got is that it's a general guideline on Stack Exchange to clean up questions and answers.

It makes them more accessible to the future audiences and of course makes Google searches for similar topics more effective.

Hmm so the question I thought we had on travel was similar but dealt with stuff like chaning between British and US spelling, which is a different thing. But the rest of my answer still applies. I'm still looking for references to back it up too.

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