I just wanted to fix the latex of a question. It took me exacly 2 characters to change, which caused a large formula to display incorrectly.

The software, however, asked me to make some further edits, which were in this case unnecessary. I see the necessity of this feature, in this case it was rather annoying.

Is there no possibility to overcome this? Something like the proposed "minor edit" option would also be a help here.

ADDED: Since these edits are subject to review anyway, the character limit is more annoying than its absence is a danger.

2nd EDIT: I did not want to correct trivial spelling mistakes but mathematical mistakes. There is a post, for example, where there is a $=$ sign instead of $\neq$. It annoys me very much, but remains as it is because cannot edit.

ADDED: I just wanted to add, that it is about real mistakes in relatively new posts, not about annoying edits like this one.

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    $\begingroup$ Such a feature has also been proposed and shot down on meta.math.SE, so I find it unlikely it will be incorporated here. For what it's worth, for users with 2k+ reputation this is not an issue. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 22:22
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    $\begingroup$ A relevant discussion: meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/169 . $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 11:15
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    $\begingroup$ This was extensively discussed at meta.SO, for example here and many other questions. The argument is that your edit costs time of two other users, who have to approve it. If this becomes great concern for MO community, it would be useful to know whether moderators can request moving privilege to edit questions lower (for example to 1k). $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 5:13
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for clarifying you're not talking about gratuitous minor TeXification of the kind you link to $\endgroup$
    – Yemon Choi
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 21:27
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak: I read the meta.SO thread which you cited. As Jeff Atwood puts it, the purpose of the policy is to prevent low-reputation users from requesting "bit-twiddling pointless edits". I understand that goal. On the other hand, since TeX is a programming language, there exist situations when a one-character edit to the TeX code can affect a significant portion of the post. Jeff Atwood's suggestion in that thread is that, if a low-rep user desires that such a one-character edit be made, then the user is obligated to first request many further edits to the post. Is this desirable? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelZieve I've retagged (and thus bumped) a similar feature request at meta.MSE. Notice the first comment, where Qiaochu Yuan, who was a mod at the time, said: We can't tweak these kinds of features locally (as far as I know). If that it is indeed true and the change would have to be networkwide, I have doubts that it will be done. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 5:11
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelZieve I've asked at meta.SO whether some limits like this can be changed for a particular site, but the only answer so far is rant why something like that is non-sense. BTW here is another feature request from meta.SO: Change this behavior to allow for spelling corrections and the like: “Edits must be at least 6 characters”. A workaround is mentioned there, but it seems to be rather uncomfortable. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 9:08

2 Answers 2


I also would like to be able to fix TeX errors. For instance, Igor Rivin's answer to

Algebraically Independent Numbers and Affine Linear Maps

is missing a dollar sign, so that eighteen words of text are interpreted as math symbols and hence have no spacing. You can still figure out what he's saying, but I don't understand the advantage of leaving this as is rather than making it easy for someone to fix it.

  • $\begingroup$ I fixed it. It just takes having enough rep. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 1:11
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for fixing it. But this particular fix is only one instance of a problem that surely occurs with some frequency. Does it really make sense that users with less than (say) 2k rep should have no standard procedure to make or propose a one-character TeX edit which affects the readability of several subsequent words? Especially when they do have a procedure to propose changes to all the subsequent words themselves? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ It is a bit silly. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelZieve I'd say the standard procedure would be leaving a comment. Either the OP or some 2k+ user might see it and edit the post. See Legitimate edits of less than 6 characters at meta.SO. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 5:18

I got bitten by this "feature" too, I was unable to correct some trivial spelling mistakes. Guess it's not worth trying to tidy up the posts of others until you have 2k reputation, a waste if you ask me.

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    $\begingroup$ The consensus at meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/169 seems to be that one should not edit just to correct trivial spelling mistakes. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 11:18
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    $\begingroup$ soemtmies teh comsnesus is msiatken. $\endgroup$
    – J.J. Green
    Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ To complement what @EmilJeřábek said: the disc. was about old posts. Even if one agrees with what said there, the issue persists to some extent as IMO there is little (or at least less) opposition to editing a post, say, 3h after posting. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ I've actually succeeded in subverting this restriction by adding and empty math block (as in $ $) which seems to add to the character count while not being visible in the edit: example here. $\endgroup$
    – J.J. Green
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 12:35

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