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I see that happening at least once a day so I'm bringing it up.

A user, most likely new to SO, asks a question that is not interesting or that doesn't make a lot of sense or it's not a real question.

At that point this question gets downvoted two or three times and gets closed which seems normal.

Then someone goes in there and edit the question so much that it's not really the same question anymore... or at least it has nothing to do with what the original user posted in term of phrasing.

Now people viewing this question will go "oh, it doesn't deserve -3, it's an ok question" and the question gets upvoted until it gets at 0 or 1. Maybe more.

I think it's good that a question gets a "second chance" to be answered, but I'm asking that: in the process the user got some reputation for asking a bad question (because downvote value != upvote value).

The idea case would be the downvoters going back and cancelling their votes, but this doesn't happen often. So shouldn't a entry closed, edited and then reopened be set as community wiki by default, or prevent the user to get rep for it (if it's not already the case)?

Here is the example that made me want to ask this on meta: Rounding the result of division in Javascript

The user asked

round this to teo places

0.0030![alt text][1] 0.031

[1]: http://divide sighn

It got edited and it's now pretty interesting and should be re-opened shortly. The user already got an upvote on his question and got rep out of it.

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See also: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1390/… –  Shog9 Sep 3 '09 at 13:10

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You vote on the question or answer, you don't vote on the user who provided it. A good question deserves to be up voted no matter how many people have edited it.

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Yes, but the user gets the credit, not the editor –  marcgg Sep 2 '09 at 23:03
Well said. Shame on people for attaching it to the user this way. –  GEOCHET Sep 2 '09 at 23:04
That's how it has always been. Some users do not speak english primarily, or are unaware of how to ask good questions. They need a little boost from time to time. –  Ian Elliott Sep 2 '09 at 23:05
What about the question I posted? –  marcgg Sep 2 '09 at 23:06
Again, doesn't matter for any question. Vote the question, not the asker. –  Ian Elliott Sep 2 '09 at 23:09
@ian Yes of course, but my point is that the user shouldn't get the credit for it. Rep is to show that the community like this user, and if he gets rep for a question he didn't really asked, it makes little sense. –  marcgg Sep 2 '09 at 23:11
@marcgg: The user should get rep for it. That is the idea of the site. We edit to help these people. –  GEOCHET Sep 2 '09 at 23:12
@rich b: but you're already helping them by giving them a correct question that will get answers –  marcgg Sep 2 '09 at 23:13
@marcgg: Right, and they asked it, so they should get the credit. Hopefully they will learn from our corrections and go on to make many quality contributions to our site. –  GEOCHET Sep 2 '09 at 23:14
@rich b: fair enought. I still prefer that they won't get rep for it, but get rep later on when they actually do ask nice questions. This is where the community wiki would have be helpful –  marcgg Sep 2 '09 at 23:17
@marcgg: No, it would be nice to give them rep now and make them appreciative for our help so they try harder. –  GEOCHET Sep 2 '09 at 23:19
"Here's the answer, and by the way ask the question properly next time, dumb-ass" isn't a very nice greeting. It's 10 rep, is it so terrible to show a little hospitality? –  Ian Elliott Sep 2 '09 at 23:26
It's only reputation; imaginary points in an imaginary game -- it's not real so who really cares. It's not hurting anyone and it's unlikely that it will give the person enough rep so that it really matters. –  tvanfosson Sep 3 '09 at 2:05

Yes, the user should get his reputation from the question/answer. That is why we edit, to help them out and hopefully show them what is needed to get good responses.

You should not be judging the post based on the original post, but rather the current post. That is the idea of the wiki part of this site.

If we wiki more posts that get edited, can you imagine the fighting? We already get enough blubbering, butthurt babies crying and whining and rolling back valid edits. No thanks. We don't need more of that, this would be a disaster.

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But then why do not turn the question community wiki? –  marcgg Sep 2 '09 at 23:12
Because we are trying to help these people and encourage them, no penalize them for not writing as well as we do, or not understanding English or markdown as well as we do. –  GEOCHET Sep 2 '09 at 23:13
Indeed; they are providing the original spark that drives the question, even if (during edit) it is twisted and contorted (sadly, often very necessary). Arguably the editor deserves some attribution, but we're all "givers", else we wouldn't be here to start with. –  Marc Gravell Sep 2 '09 at 23:17
@Marc: Indeed. I have rejected the idea of editors earning rep many times based on this notion. –  GEOCHET Sep 2 '09 at 23:18
Good answer. Ideally, a user new to SO would visit the front page and see many solid, well-asked, technical questions... and go out and ask one like them. Anything we can do to make that happen is a Good Thing. –  Shog9 Sep 3 '09 at 13:13

The question could've meant one of two things - I edited it to cover both, and upvoted it at the same time. Hopefully the user will see that a properly worded question will actually garner some attention and receive an answer...if not, at least the information will be there for someone who's interested in the future.

Rep should have nothing to do with it - look at the question as it stands and go from there.

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I approve of your edit, and I think it was a phenomenal effort on your part to turn the question around, however it did not deserve an upvote until AFTER you edited it. You shouldn't upvote a question that doesn't make sense. You didn't think it was a good question, you created a good question out of it. –  devinb Sep 2 '09 at 23:44
Agreed. And pity upvoters need to be dragged out behind ServerFault and shot. –  GEOCHET Sep 2 '09 at 23:49
I understand where you're coming from, but the intent is that the user will think 'oh, that's what a good question looks like'. 10 rep in the grand scheme of things is nothing, but for a new user, it might provide some incentive to stick around and learn how things work. –  ajm Sep 2 '09 at 23:50
@devinb: Also, how often do you get the chance to upvote your own questons? ;) –  ajm Sep 2 '09 at 23:54
@Andy: Right, just make sure you upvote the question after it deserves it. Pity upvoting is what is despicable, and I think is what devinb is referring to as well. –  GEOCHET Sep 2 '09 at 23:55
No argument there! –  ajm Sep 3 '09 at 6:56

I see two possibilities here:

  1. The edited version bears at least some relation to the question initially asked. This is usually because the editor figured out (or took a good guess at) what the OP intended; or
  2. We have a plague of power users editing bad questions turning them into completely unrelated questions for which they receive no benefit but the OP does.

I have seen no evidence of (2).

Either way, good questions will generally get voted up and bad questions will generally get voted down. It takes a lot for a question to get more than a few votes in any case so we're not talking a lot of rep. Certainly not enough to worry about.

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