5
$\begingroup$

Lots of questions get closed on WB stack. Sometimes the reasons are obvious and fixable: a good example is that the new user put too many questions into the single question.

When new users get their questions closed, they often lose interest in WB Stack and are not heard from again.

I propose that when experienced users identify questions with flaws that warrant closure, instead of voting to close they edit the question to fix the flaw.

This keeps questions that have a kernel of merit open without obligating new users to dance the dance. New users will then be enthusiastic about answers their unclosed question receives. They will ask more questions. Yay!

$\endgroup$
5
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I agree, but last time I did an extensive edit I heard screams everywhere, and the edit was canceled in about 30 minutes x_x... The system and the community doesn't incite editing, Like, at all. And I don't want to get banned because of that... $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    May 20 at 23:55
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ (a) There's a firm unwritten rule on this Stack that prohibits any edit to a question that invalidates existing answers. That's a serious limitation to your proposal. (b) Nearly all issues necessitating closure would require edits violating SE's basic help center rule, "To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)." The assumption that we could, e.g., add missing details without reading the OP's mind is simply an effort to keep the Qs alive without actually helping the OP (to get a good A or to use the site). $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    May 22 at 5:32
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ And at the risk of harming a friendship, while you are the very best at answering questions on this site (the majority of your answers are breathtakingly good), you've admitted that you'll answer anything - no matter how badly asked. I'm not entirely convinced that you're advancing this proposal for the OP's sake when you do so little to help any OP to improve their ability to use this site. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    May 22 at 5:36
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @JoinJBHonCodidact - re editing and invalidating answers; acknowledged. My hope from this proposal is to keep new users engaged. Some will leave in disgust because they don't like the edits and some are not educable. I suspect many do not carryout requested edits because they don't understand - they are young, english is second language, etc. Correcting mistakes is a way to help people learn too - tell them but also show them what you mean. See one, do one, teach one. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    May 22 at 16:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Editing can be a problem in itself. If the question is too vague, by definition you are only guessing, for instance $\endgroup$
    – Mary
    Jun 20 at 23:55

3 Answers 3

5
$\begingroup$

If you see a post with issues it should be put on hold until the issues are resolved. If you can resolve the issues with an edit that doesn't conflict with the OP's intent that is definitely the fastest way to resolve an issue. I think you'll find that its more difficult than you think to edit questions into compliance without violating the intent of the poster. Just because something can be made into a good question for this site doesn't mean that is what the OP was intending to ask.

If someone asks a very broad question like "What would the effect of dragons on society?" we suggest that they reduce the scope of their question. There are many many ways that the scope of that question could be reduced. Ask about a specific effect of your dragons, or ask about a specific aspect of society. We can't know the mind of the OP and regardless of how we reduce the scope the resulting ask will be different and cover less than the original.

If someone asks a character driven question, it may be that there's a seed of an on topic ask within the post. You could edit the character out of the post, make the ask not about what the character would do but that seed of an ask about building a world. Can you show that is what the OP intended?

If someone creates a post with three separate questions, removing two of the asks will make the post a better fit. Are you able to show that it was OP's intent to ask only that question and not the others they included in the post?

$\endgroup$
4
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ /Are you able to show that it was OP's intent to ask only that question and not the others they included in the post?/ Of course not. OP intended to ask all 3 questions and that is what happened. OP did not know the rule that questions must be one per post. I am proposing than an enlightened stack participant and rule enforcer such as yourself edit such posts to remove 2 of the 3 questions, keep your favorite as the sole question, and advise the OP why you did that, and that the OP can ask the removed questions in separate questions one at a time. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    May 21 at 21:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ We're not mind readers. If you look at the suggested edit queue one one the reasons to reject an edit is that it conflicts with OP's intent. That expectation does not go away just because you have earned more rep. I cannot see how deleting parts of the OP's post because you "like them less" is at all in alignment with our policy on editing posts. To quote from that page "[reasons to edit are] to clarify the meaning of a post without changing it, to correct minor mistakes or add addendums" $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 21 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Sphennings This depends a lot on what "changing the meaning" means. Seeing another path, if a question has many questions/directions that there's none, we could have clarified it by removing the noise, not altering the many questions' individual meanings. Of course, it's not to be applied everywhere where there're multiple questions, and definitely it should be more based on what should one work first rather than "I like it!". As an example, questions on "What if X? Then What about Y and Z?" could be shrinked to "What if X?" if X is indeed a condition for Y and Z to be considered. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    May 22 at 3:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Tortliena That's how I would suggest that the OP edits their post. However suggesting an obvious edit, is different than changing what is asked. The ask is the heart of questions on this site. To change the ask is to fundamentally change the post. That isn't fixing a minor mistake or adding an addendum. Better to suggest the OP edits their post. They are the only ones who can decide whether the edit conflicts with their intentions. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 22 at 10:05
1
$\begingroup$

We could try being a little more helpful in the comments

A salvagable question often has one obvious and fixable problem.

A few commenters try to tease out the extra information that's needed, but then it goes straight to,

"I'm voting to close this question because x"...and that's that. Not "I'm going to vote to close this question because x, if you want to keep it open, I suggest you do y" or anything that gives newbies a pointer.

I was baffled by some of the closures when I first saw them; neither the rules nor the application thereof are self evident.

Now, obviously, some questions can't be saved. But a good deal of them would have a chance if reviewers took those extra few minutes to suggest, "You need to fix x, e.g. by trying y".

Just editing them is worse than the status quo, it's likely to be insulting or at least highly confusing to the OP.

$\endgroup$
4
  • $\begingroup$ I think you'll find that the majority of closed questions aren't easily salvageable. There isn't an simple edit that will change a question asking for help brainstorming, into a question that is a good fit for this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Jun 20 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings Good thing Sean O'Connor is talking only about "questions that can be salvaged", then 🦋. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jun 20 at 14:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Tortliena "salvaged" you know... unless someone puts an answer on a bad question that would be invalidated by "salvaging" it. $\endgroup$
    – IT Alex
    Jun 28 at 13:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @sphennings I'm going to unscientifically guesstimate 25 to 35% are easy to salvage (by the OP). Another 25 to 35% are hopeless cases. What's in between might still benefit from a little more engagement, but that's a matter of opinion. There are certainly plenty of cases where adding a little courtesy or engagement to the same basic review/vtc procedure would go a long way for new posters. Why burn every 3rd new OP unnecessarily? $\endgroup$ Jun 28 at 22:17
1
$\begingroup$

Let 'em burn.

Seems to be the way Worldbuilding works. Most of our questions skirt the edge of not being SE compatible anyways and since that is the case, if they don't want to learn enough to fix the questions they would be better off elsewhere.

(Devil's Advocate: This is the extreme opposite of my thoughts)

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There's indeed a threshold to not jump over and over again 🐑↷|--|. However, dropping all the burden on the person shoes as they make their first steps is a "quit" moment. It needs to be cleverly balanced :p. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jun 28 at 14:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .