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I edited this post for readability and clarity (as well as grammar), since the headers made it difficult to read. However, (in my opinion) this post should be closed as not constructive, on the basis that it is multiple questions in one, and that it is overly broad.

Is it better to edit a question, then flag it? Or should I skip the edits and simply flag the question?

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1  
'overly broad' means it should be closed as 'Not a Real Question'. If you were to flag it as Not Constructive, we'd decline the flag (even though we'd close it as 'Not a Real Question'). The reason is, the flags are used in analytics, and it hurts the algorithms if we accept a flag for a reason that doesn't match why it should be closed. –  George Stocker Jan 18 '13 at 13:53
    
@GeorgeStocker Hmm, noted! Thanks! –  Emrakul Jan 20 '13 at 8:22

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I think it depends on the question and how bad it is.

If it is an obviously bad question that going to get closed and deleted, and cannot be fixed, there is no sense wasting the time (and the reviewers time if you have less than 2K rep) since it won't be around long enough to matter.

However, if it is a borderline question that you can either fix to make constructive, that you think it is fixable by someone who has enough knowledge on the subject, or you think may not get deleted by the community or mod, then cleaning up the grammar is an important step and worth the effort.

For the question you specifically linked, I think that falls into the latter category because the question is probably fixable and will probably last long enough to require cleaning up to keep the site clean.

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I agree - I usually reject suggested edits on obviously bad questions (and explain the reason to the editor). –  bfavaretto Jan 18 '13 at 16:16

I edit probably-duplicates all the time. If we're going to keep them around as signposts, they should be in reasonable shape as far as grammar, spelling, and formatting are concerned. But for other close reasons, I think you can hold only one belief at a time. Either:

  • this is off topic, or too broad, or a rant disguised as a question, or otherwise doesn't belong even if the grammar, spelling, and formatting are perfect. It is going to be deleted so it doesn't matter what shape it is in.

or

  • this is a bit of mess, but is fundamentally on topic, answerable, and so belongs here. It might get closed (Eg if it's a dupe) but it's not going to get deleted.

First case: vote to close. Don't bother editing, unless to remove really objectionable or offensive content you want to spare others seeing - but don't edit out spam because it confuses the folks who review the flags.

Second case: edit it into shape and move on.

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If you feel that a question is not constructive you may flag it. If you want to modify it to make constructive it's wrong unless you have agree it with the original poster. But, if you are not trusted editor then your edits would be reviewed and it will be a subject to reject.

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Editing is always good, if you're able; of course some questions are so bad that you don't know what the asker is really wanting, making it hard to edit correctly. It might be that the user of the crappy question gets some answer or comment that helps him because you edited it a bit, and what comes around goes around.

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I think it's entirely dependant on the situation, I've found myself in it recently whilst reviewing the close votes and generally find myself editing and then flagging.

Sometimes questions with close votes have already gotten answers with votes and acceptance, whilst the question may not require any further answers and in its original state, may not have been too useful, it was answered.

In this situation, I don't see a problem in editing and then closing, since the question isn't going to be deleted, and anybody that comes across it in the future by chance would have a better time reviewing the question and answers if the question is worded correctly in the first place.

Of course, if it was a one-liner question that made no sense at all and was going to get closed before anybody attempted to answer, or due to comment spam; I would leave it well alone and just flag.

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