This question: How do I separate paths to layers in Illustrator? has been put on hold as off-topic.

The question is vague, brief and not very well written, but it is obvious to anyone who has used Illustrator and After Effects what is being asked (or to me anyway, maybe because I had the same problem in the past). There was already an accepted answer (mine, but that is beside the point) before the question was put on hold as off-topic.

By the nature of the question, there isn't much you can try without knowing how to do it. It is one button, if you don't know where that button is, you can't do it, so the "edit your question to include what you have tried, so we can help you" is a bit obsolete (although that may not be obvious if the question is unclear). isn't there an 'unclear what your asking' reason for closing a question? If questions are closed for not being well written i'm sure that would make more sense?

I understand and completely agree that questions need to be closed if they are off-topic, too broad etc, but I really think unclear questions should be edited rather than simply closed if they are legitimate questions... So, should I bother editing the question?

2 Answers 2


The issue you will always face with vague questions will be does your edit in fact help the OP or does it cause another issue. Every time someone says "oh it needs X edit I know what they mean" I ask, how are you for sure? People can take context differently then the answers just like the edit can make the question go into a different direction. Since it can cause harm these are the rules of thumb I go by:

  • If your answer is accepted by the OP that is an indication you were on point so your edit would be valid.
  • If there are no answers I encourage people to leave a comment and wait 24-48 hours for the OP to come back and make an edit. In this time if the OP doesn't make an edit you could come into chat and we all could discuss it.
  • If the question is closed for unclear and its older then a month and you have an answer and want to make an edit then come into chat, let the community know and we can decide if it appears your answer is a valid answer and we can reopen it.

However, assuming what the OP wants or needs help with in their questions should be done with great caution. I'm for any question that has been closed for longer then two weeks without an edit to be edited and left in the Q and allow the five votes it needs to be opened, too.


I don't think you should edit it in effort, leave that up to the asker. Your edit undeniably improves the question, but it doesn't solve the root of the problem.

The point of that close reason is to mitigate requests for a "tutorial on demand". Asking a question for help on a community should never be the first step.

For a problem like that, the user should check the help docs or run a web search to try and solve the problem. After those resources have been exhausted, gather what's been learned then post a question explaining clearly what the goal is and include as much information as possible (even failed web searches would be constructive).

In this particular case, a very simple web search would have provided the answer. It's even been asked before on this very site (albeit without mention of After Effects).

Consistently closing questions like these regardless of whether or not they have an accepted answer is important to avoid confusion and frustration. We need to make clear that low-effort questions are decidedly off-topic; leaving any open that don't meet our criteria would open the floor to accusations of hypocrisy.

  • OK, maybe I should have left it. I think the only reason I thought it was a valid question was that I remember having the same problem in the past. I probably should have done a quick search myself before editing.
    – Cai
    Oct 22, 2015 at 16:56
  • @Cai no worries, I appreciate that you're trying to help. Thanks for bringing it up here.
    – JohnB
    Oct 22, 2015 at 17:00

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