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I recently rejected an edit where the only improvement was elimination of double spaces after periods.

To be clear, on the internet, double spaces are unnecessary. If you look at the preview panel when you add a second space, most browsers just ignore it. I still do it out of habit from time to time.

This Wikipedia article talks a bit about the controversy, but let's go with the assumption that there is still some open debate about which is correct.

Generally, if someone edits a question and there are meaningful edits, I wouldn't care what they do with spacing after a period. However, I feel pretty comfortable rejecting an edit where that's the only improvement.

When there are other improvements that are necessary or helpful, I would probably just leave the edits they way they are. My question comes down to whether or not double spacing should be treated with similar respect to dialect, such as in this question.

If someone removes doubles spaces from someone's post, but makes other meaningful edits, should we remove the edit changing them from double to single spaces? People who type two spaces either just do it out of habit, because they believe it's still necessary, or do it on purpose. Are there people who consider it rude, and should we treat this like a dialect issue?

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I recently rejected an edit where the only improvement was elimination of double spaces after periods.

That's not entirely true: There was some editing of the tags as well, assuming you're talking about the edit proposal for this post.

If you're wondering about when to edit posts, take a look at the /help/editing part of the help center. It says edits should be used to:

When should I edit posts?

Any time you see a post that needs improvement and are inclined to suggest an edit, you are welcome to do so. The original author of a question or answer may always edit their own post, regardless of reputation level.

Edits are expected to be substantial and to leave the post better than you found it. Common reasons for edits include:

  • To fix grammar and spelling mistakes
  • To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)
  • To include additional information only found in comments, so all of the - information relevant to the post is contained in one place
  • To correct minor mistakes or add updates as the post ages
  • To add related resources or hyperlink

If the only change was to remove some double spaces, that's indeed a valid reason to use the rejection reason for 'no improvement' since the change is completely superfluous:

This edit does not make the post even a little bit easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible. Changes are either completely superfluous or actively harm readability.

Since double spaces aren't neccesarily a spelling or grammar mistake, and also not a minor mistake in a post that needs correcting (that's already done 'automatically' by any modern browser that doesn't show double spaces in markup), an edit to a post that only removes some whitespace can be safely rejected. (With one exception for code blocks, although I don't think we'll get much of those on IPS.)


If someone removes doubles spaces from someone's post, but makes other meaningful edits, should we remove the edit changing them from double to single spaces?

If there are other meaningful edits, you should accept the edit. There's no need to edit the 2 spaces back in, these sites won't show them, and you'll only be creating more work for yourself, just like editing them out is creating work for yourself.

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