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Consider a situation where there is a very bad-looking question that is unclear (due to poor English, bad code formatting, ...).

I vote it down but then I realize that question can be made better. I go and edit it (and wait for peer review, because I don't have the edit privilege yet). Suddenly the question doesn't look bad at all. So I go and reverse the vote, giving it a +1-

I know that you can (and should) reconsider your vote if the question is improved by the author. But what if it were ME who improved it? :)

Is this considered a bad/weird behaviour? Should I instead remain neutral and not vote it down if the question is unclear and poorly formatted?

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2 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

There is no problem there. It doesn't matter that is was you that improved it, so long as it was improved.

You should vote on the merit of the question, not who edited it into shape.

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@Tibor - To clarify, voting up someone else's question has absolutely zero impact on you, only the original question-asker. As Oded points out, the goal of SO is to produce great content, not be a popularity contest. –  jmort253 May 5 '12 at 19:06
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Sometimes questions or answers are bad enough that a downvote is warranted.

Do not feel bad about this -- the ability to clearly and unambiguously state this question isn't worth anyone's time to answer or this answer is fundamentally wrong is part of the magic sauce that separates The Stack Exchange sites from most "web forums". The cargo cult nature of web forums is anathema to actual assistance and being able to clearly state that advice is worthless is the very essence of what makes this site sustainable.1

But if the difference between good and bad is something that you, as an editor, can fix, please do so -- if you have the enthusiasm and the time. I don't always have the enthusiasm. But together, as a group, the site is significantly better for all our collective efforts. But some questions are bad enough that only the original questioner can improve the question -- and it is up to them to do so, when the question lacks essential details.

1: Consider it an automatic -1 from me when I spot chmod 777 advice... the situation would have to be special for this one to be the right answer.

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