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I often edit posts (by other people) to change links from something like this1:

I'm ne to lxc, but have 2 instances now happily using these instructions:
http://blog.foaa.de/2010/05/lxc-on-debian-squeeze/

To this:

I'm ne to lxc, but have 2 instances now happily using these instructions.

i.e. specifying the link text instead of displaying the URL. Personally I find this form much neater and easier to read.

Should I be doing this though, or is this considered petty editing?

  1. Yes, I would also fix the spelling and grammar; just leaving it here because it's not pertinent.
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    I do this, frequently. Never had any mods correct me. – jscott Jun 27 '12 at 1:00
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    Make sure you remove any URL shorteners you run across too. =] – Chris S Jun 27 '12 at 1:52
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    That isn't a great example as it's effectively link and run which we also discourage. – user9517 Jun 27 '12 at 6:19
  • @Iain Agreed; it just happened to be the one I was looking at when I thought I should ask about this :-) – mgorven Jun 27 '12 at 6:21
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I fix these, but generally only when I'm in there fixing something else. It makes things so much nicer to read though, so I would never roll back an edit that fixed that.

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    I would only add please don't fix old questions unless they're particularly awful links (or particularly good questions) -- Edits still bump questions to the front page... – voretaq7 Jun 27 '12 at 14:38
  • @voretaq7 Old questions are still read by people. Why are new questions more important than old ones? And why is bumping to the front page a bad thing if you don't do it to a lot of posts at once? – svick Jun 28 '12 at 8:26
  • @svick A lot of old questions don't generate the views that warrant much effort in fixing them - at least in my opinion. Of course if you have a 100+ views/day question fixing it is a Good Thing, but something that gets viewed once or twice a month and is otherwise excellent except for an ugly URL can probably be left alone. (URL shorteners are a different matter - kill these with fire so when bit.ly shuts down we don't lose our links :) – voretaq7 Jun 28 '12 at 12:58
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    @svick Note also that my problem is not with fixing the old question as long as it's done in moderation, I'd just prefer not to see a lot of old questions pushing new ones down -- While not quite as high as Stack Overflow our question volume is such that the lower down the list of new questions you are the less likely you are to get a timely answer... – voretaq7 Jun 28 '12 at 13:00
  • Exactly @voretaq7, the older posts going to the top just degrades the signal-noise ratio and encourages silly resurrections of old posts, that is the non-observant poster answering questions from 4 years ago. ;-) – Somantra Jun 28 '12 at 17:17
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    @svick, maybe the solution is altering the front page algorithm to only look at substantive changes. – Somantra Jun 28 '12 at 17:19
  • @Somantra Accurately detecting "substantive" is an NP-Complete (or at least NP-Hard) problem, but I'm sure as soon as the Stack Exchange developers master natural language processing and the heuristic algorithms to detect substantive changes they'll implement them :-) (The usual alternative of "% changed" breaks on posts with awful spelling/grammar: I could have a 30-50% delta but have made zero substantive changes) – voretaq7 Jun 28 '12 at 17:22
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    @voretaq7, in the absence of SE natural language mastery, a self-reported non-substantive edit disposition might do the trick. :-) – Somantra Jun 28 '12 at 17:28
  • @Somantra My former life as a software developer has lead me to never trust users. ESPECIALLY when I'm the user... now if you'll excuse me there's a jolly red candy like button that I simply MUST press :-D – voretaq7 Jun 29 '12 at 12:53
  • @voretaq7 So you trust the users enough to make any edit to any post (after they earned it), but you don't trust them to report whether the edit was minor or not? – svick Jul 10 '12 at 18:55

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