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I suggested to the author of a question on SO that he/she should clarify the question. I now see a suggested edit by a different user. The edit itself however seems to suggest to me that they are collaborating on a project. Can I simply assume this and accept the suggestion, or should I reject it and ask the author to post it?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I have wondered the same thing in the past. The consensus that I've heard on edits is: if it improves the question, accept it.

In this case, the original post was nothing but a block of code; the edit added explanation and context that seemed relevant. The original author's desire for an answer is only a part of the formula for judging the usefulness and appropriateness of a Stack Overflow question. The question's future and the site as a whole should also be considered. It is always better to have a solid, open question than a crappy, closed-then-deleted question. In that light, and given that the original author didn't see fit to put enough effort into the question to make it good, such an edit is a net positive.

The edit already had one accept vote just now. I hit the "Improve" button on the suggested edit and cleaned it up a little. The author can always come back and make further edits, or even roll back to the initial not-so-good version (and probably end up with no answers and a closure). Unless and until that happens, we have gone from something useless to something potentially useful.

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An edit should improve the question without altering the question's meaning. – IAbstract Aug 5 '11 at 20:13
@IAbstract: The question as originally posted had no meaning -- it was simply a block of code. The edit added context and explanation, transforming a useless post into a potentially good SO question. – Josh Caswell Aug 5 '11 at 20:52

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