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A curious thing I keep observing is that the suggested-edits queue seems rather empty (less than 5 suggestions per day, I guess).

In other words: Not so many users seem to suggest edits to questions or answers. Is there something we could do about it, or is that fine? Wouldn't more editors be beneficial to fix typos, typesetting and other hick-ups on old posts?

Some statistics

On a meta-site, edit privileges start for users with 1000 reputation, but what about all the 1323-177= 1146 users who could potentially suggest edits? Is it about the return-rate (how often a users visits the site per time interval), or is it about returing-visitors not being motivated to edit?

Total reputation   User count as of June 16th, 2020
> 1000                 177
>  500                 404
>  200               1,323
>    1              29,321
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  • $\begingroup$ It looks like there are two questions here: "Why do so few users suggest edits?" and "but what about all the users under 1k who could potentially suggest edits, shouldn't they be able to edit too?" The second one looks like it's proposing to change how Stack Exchange works, and that's usually quite an uphill climb. The first one is hard to answer; I guess people enjoy down voting and closing more than they do contributing to the site by helping folks improve their posts which is a win-win. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jun 16 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh "I guess people enjoy down voting and closing more than they do contributing to the site by helping folks improve their posts" - That's speculative, making assumptions about people's intentions. There's a lot simpler explanation which is that down and close votes require a lot less time and effort than editing. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Jun 18 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Jun 18 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ Tbh, the initial draft of the questions here are already well formatted and therefore edits are not required. For example, your questions are so well-formatted that edits are not even required. $\endgroup$ Aug 2 at 11:01
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When I see a typo on Wikipedia, I fix it. When I see a typo here, I don't. Why? Because "tiny, trivial edits are discouraged" (from the help center: https://astronomy.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/edit). You have to change more than 6 characters, and I don't want to spend time to artificially alter a post when everything but the typo is fine. So I would fix the typo if not for this questionable rule... I guess I'm not the only one who does this.

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    $\begingroup$ Very valid point actually. $\endgroup$
    – B--rian
    Jun 18 at 18:23
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When I see, for example, someone use "it's" when they should have used "its", or the other way around, it grates on me a bit, but fixing that one character typo is against the rules. So I have learned to overlook minor typos.

When people object to one of my answers, the last thing I want to have happen is for someone to completely change the sense of my answer. I've had multiple answers that have been edited to be flat-out wrong rather than merely unclear. Use the comments to suggest changes.

A long time ago I worked for a think tank corporation where I was a member of a group that was looking into improving how NASA operated. We wrote a series of documents intended to go to very high levels of NASA, and we used the concept of extravehicular activities (EVAs) to frame our work. The corporate technical editor assigned to review our documents thought 'extravehicular activity' did not make sense. He changed each and every use of 'extravehicular activity' (EVA, for short) to 'vehicle with extra activities' (or VWEA, his acronym). The "corrected" documents were then printed and distributed, without our approval.

I have had the pleasure of having technical editors who did extremely good jobs in fixing my mangled writing. Unfortunately, those few occasions were far outnumbered by technical editors who completely mangled my already okay (but certainly not perfect) writing. I am very leery of editing of my writing, and because of this leeriness, I don't edit other people's writing.

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  • $\begingroup$ Use the comments to suggest changes. $\endgroup$ Jun 23 at 8:29
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I used to make a lot of editing suggestions, especially in my early days on the site when I didn't feel confident enough to post questions or answers but I could use my professional editing skills to make questions or answers more intelligible, for instance if the writer's first language wasn't English.

I still make the occasional edit, but the limited time I can contribute to "community moderation tasks" gets eaten up in review queues, particularly as I try to post a comment to help the person rather than just hitting a review button.

The posts with only one or two typos can be really frustrating. My rule is that if it's a quite recent post (eg within a few days) and there's an opportunity to improve some poor expression and/or add formatting to make it more readable, I'll fix the typo. However, there's a view within Stack Exchange that "bumping" an older post by making cosmetic changes undermines the usefulness of our SE system, and I generally try to respect that view.

I should note, however, that there's an alternative view that regards an old question being "bumped" by an edit as a positive thing, since it dredges it up to the surface for a fresh review – perhaps to post a new answer, or perhaps to vote to close (maybe it's a duplicate of a better question that didn't exist back then), or maybe just to vote it up (or down).

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