Every now and then good questions get closed because of various reasons. Perhaps the most recent example of such questions is here:

The question is good, and quite many people actually commented so. Now, I feel fine that it is closed as too broad.

However, in many cases, new users find it overwhelming to do necessary edits. We could actually lend a helping hand. While I feel it is wrong to go and do major edits on other peoples posts, we could actually make suggestions for edits somewhere.

While chat is a good place to do so, not all users will be interested in chat. So what I suggest is that we open a shadow copy somehow on meta, to discuss the suggested changes if any.

Would doing so be fine? Is it beneficial? Any other thoughts?

3 Answers 3


You're free to edit. I've been editing when possible to get something reopened.

Few Caveats:

  • People see close votes and like pack animals continue close votes even if edits were made.
  • People have to vote to reopen
  • I wouldn't edit if its beyond what can be figured out from the question

For example, What to look for in a Graphics Card for Graphic Design? I edited heavily but to be about Graphics Cards which if you read the original seems to be what they really wanted to ask about. They then went off on a tangent which made it too broad and subject to opinion.

Does a feathered vignette for a child's portrait look good? is another heavily edited one that could be useful and beneficial but still has downvotes and negativity from when it was very poorly worded.

I for one didn't attempt to edit the question you mention because I don't know what will work best for that user if the user doesn't state their own learning style and preferences. It also asks multiple questions which is frowned upon and I'm not seeing a clear decision on which question the poster is most interested in. If you'd like to edit it however then by all means go ahead.

It's always beneficial if we can turn interesting questions into ones that can remain open. This is encouraged by StackExchange Mods / Staff / Meta

  • Often once a question has garnered enough negativity, edits don't usually seem to help it, the damage has been done. Other times I see edits made to closed questions, that provide extra details but still the question remains too broad or too opinion based. But even that's a fine line to walk because some of our most popular questions on the site are primarily opinion based. Unfortunately I don't have a broad solution, except that those voting should take the time to make up their own mind rather than jump aboard a bandwagon. I'll be the first to admit I get sucked into that sometimes.
    – Hanna
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 0:57

I wouldn't suggest opening a shadow copy on meta. Also, I think the min. rep to gain access to chat is 20 unless a mod is brought in. The issue with the question, as pointed out, it's just way to broad. If you try to implement something other than leaving a comment you create another avenue of confusion in the system.

I would allow the OP 24-48 hours to make an edit so we can narrow down a quality Q&A. I do agree we get some questions like this that are broad but we cannot allow them to be opened because it will turn into, "This is open, why isn't mine?" issue down the road.

You could also bring it up in chat with the party user's that left a comment on how we could orchestrate a better question. After some general idea of the direction users would like to see the Q&A go you can flag for a mod to open a chatroom around it so the OP could participate. The topic would be discussed with the OP and it would be a good time tell them, gently and not overwhelming, that we prefer questions that can in fact be answered. Those answers shouldn't be from ones opinion and they should have supporting facts.

You're allowed to make your own chatroom if you would like, I would have to look but I dont think a mod is needed up to a certain rep count to create a room. That could be your clinic.


I think there is value in this idea.

I've personally had questions closed on other sites, that were then defended and discussed by users I've never spoken to, because they were discussing the value of the question and trying to make it work for their site. It was a pleasure to see people finding the value in my question, and putting effort into bringing it up to scratch.

It was far more welcoming and inviting than being left a comment or close reason that says my question doesn't fit and I need to fix it. As a new user, I don't really have any idea how to make it work for their site, in many cases reading the help section doesn't explain much for my specific question. However, seeing what they did with it, and the discussion around it, actually taught me a lot about what is expected on that site.

I can't recall specifics, but I think I've defended one or two questions here because of what they were asking.

Once a question has been asked on SE, it comes into the public domain and effectively gives the right of ownership to everyone on the site. If we see an interesting question that we like, we should do what we can to make it fit, regardless of who the user is or their attitudes towards the question, site or anything else.

Good content benefits the site far more than it benefits the OP. Additionally, every time we cover a topic properly, we can cross it off the infinite list of potential questions, and future duplicates can be closed and linked to the question that was built by the whole community.

Chat has far too many problems to be used for this purpose. When I used to try and discuss edits I wanted to make to questions, I would usually be interrupting unrelated conversations and got the general feeling that I was being a bit annoying.

At least if we do it here, the only people that will be bothered by it are the people that want to bother coming here to deal with it. In addition to that, anyone can post on meta with no rep requirements. Arguably, it is one of the reasons meta exists. If we made it a formal procedure, we might increase the production of good content. It would also allow people to leave controversial comments on a completely separate post and keep them off the main site, which has been a cause of concern of late.

Overall, I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. I can't actually think of any significant drawbacks, except maybe overwhelming meta (not a huge concern imo), but am open to considering any issues I haven't yet pondered.

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