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I’m not as active as I once was. But I visit once a day. To prevent the “broken windows effect” I sometimes clear up obvious spelling mistakes. And for clarity. I don’t pick up on grammar, capitals etc. Are we okay with this? I know small edits are advised against. Just thought I’d check with Music.SE community.

My feeling is that: good questions may receive less attention if they look bad due to spelling mistakes...

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    BTW, I never change American and UK English, for instance. I know we had some issues with this a few years ago. [ “practice” vs “practise” ] – Bob Broadley Oct 14 at 16:54
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    It is better to do copy editing comprehensively. It is also the general Stack Exchange policy (see numerous Meta Stack Exchange posts). – Peter Mortensen Oct 16 at 17:22
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Small edits that improve the post are always welcome. So small spelling and grammar fixes are always welcome. Trying to localize every post to common language as pointed out in your comment should not be done unless there's a very good reason for it.

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    Thanks, Dom. I always feel bad about changing things that are obvious, but can’t help feeling that “muisc” (for instance) benefits from a 3 second edit... – Bob Broadley Oct 14 at 17:21
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Quite happy (as you're probably aware!) to 'improve' - or is that 'correct'? Well spelled (spelt?) and punctuated q&a will come over better, and occasionally phrasing makes things ambiguous, when they don't need to be. And there's always the non-native speakers whose q&a benefit from becoming more easily readable. What's to lose?

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  • Good points, Tim. +1 – Bob Broadley Oct 17 at 19:02
  • UK: spelled or spelt, US: spelled (spelt is a type of wheat). – PiedPiper Oct 18 at 8:35
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I'm with the majority here - edit to improve spelling, grammar, clarity of intent etc where appropriate…

… but …
Limit it to new posts only, unless you can make significant improvement in other areas at the same time.

An edit brings a post back to the top of the Active list, so a lot of insignificant edits on older posts skews that list - which is [imo unfortunately] the default view when landing here.

There's an element of self-control needed when editing older posts, because of this promotion to the front page. If you're going to systematically check & edit posts you read, be sparing. One or two every so often will aid the site without swamping the Actives.

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  • Very good point. I agree about the potential problems with edits to older posts, but, being an old-post editor, want to acknowledge there can be benefits. For example, today I added a tag and a minor edit to 2015's https://music.stackexchange.com/questions/32611/word-for-the-entire-chord-progression-of-a-song, and shortly after my edit, MichaelCurtis added a very good new answer. (I suppose we could debate whether tag edits constitute "significant" edits -- I would tend toward "yes".) – Aaron Oct 27 at 19:03
  • @Aaron - There's nothing inherently wrong with bringing old posts to new attention, but I've noticed some editors, perhaps eager to get the appropriate badge, will flood the Active list with a flurry of minor edits periodically. The best editors - notably I see one mod I know on another stack do this - will correct old, out of date or spelling/grammar… but only one or two every few days, so it doesn't tilt the balance. – Tetsujin Oct 27 at 19:08
  • That's fair, and I have been guilty of over-zealous editing in that way myself. Perhaps soften "limit it to new posts only" to "limit the editing of posts older than X months." What about putting a reputation limit on editing posts older than X? Not sure this is a big enough or frequent enough issue for that, but ... thoughts? – Aaron Oct 27 at 19:16
  • I think it's a self-control thing ;-) i'm sure there's a meta SE about it, but my google-fu is frankly too tired to even try. I'll tweak the answer towards that thought, though. – Tetsujin Oct 27 at 19:17
  • Self control? I don't know. How about a special "Aaron" flag that says "HEY! AARON, put down the keyboard and walk away slowly!" :-) – Aaron Oct 27 at 19:20
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I'm for it. Standard spelling also improves searchability and SEO presence, improving the chance that someone with an answer finds it and driving more traffic to the site overall.

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  • This is an excellent point that didn’t occur to me. +1 – Bob Broadley Oct 17 at 19:00
  • But whose standard spelling would you use? There are many national variations. – PiedPiper Oct 18 at 8:38
  • @PiedPiper By "standard" I don't mean we should edit to one standard, but to any standard (presumably OP's). Among the small subset of words that have variations, most have only two anyhow. And compared to a typo, both have about the same effect in terms of matching searches. If you feel uncomfortable deciding on a variation you could also leave words that have them untouched – the change doesn't need to be total to reap this particular benefit. – Luke Sawczak Oct 18 at 12:33
  • I misunderstood your post as implying you wanted to select a particular standard. I agree, as long as a spelling is acceptable somewhere it should be left. – PiedPiper Oct 18 at 12:46
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In addition to what the other answers say:

If your reputation score is low, the system will notify you that your edit will be peer-reviewed. In this case, please proceed only if your edit is going to be major. In the context of fixing spelling errors, proceed only if your edit will prevent misunderstanding and/or make the post much easier to read. Don't do minor edits. This is to prevent additional people from wasting their time by reviewing your minor edits.

If your reputation score is big enough, please fix even the most trivial spelling errors. That, of course, provided you try to make your edit comprehensive (i.e. fix everything you can).

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  • Okay. This makes a lot of sense. So better to fix all the minor issues on a good, but badly written, question. +1 – Bob Broadley Oct 17 at 19:01

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