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Recently, I read a question that had a number of issues regarding the spelling, grammar and content; however, I managed to understand it and answered the question.

In the comments, Sam Saffron asked why I didn't edit the original question to improve it. I replied by saying that I didn't really think about it at the time, and I then went and improved it.

This has been discussed on the podcast (voting on and the quality of questions) and I had some suggestions/thoughts on how to encourage the editing/improving of a question.

  1. As a user with ~4900 rep, I don't receive rep for editing a question or improving it. I quite like the suggested edit +2 rep (but I'm not eligible for that), so maybe some kind of reputation bonus would be beneficial. Possibly if, after an edit, the question is upvoted, a +1 or +2 rep to each editor that isn't the original question asker.
  2. Having a look at a few random users whose questions I have improved/edited, they tend to have a lot of questions edited. Maybe a prompt could be displayed encouraging relevant (high reputation) users to have a look at the question quality if a certain percentage of their questions have been edited.
  3. It's a kind of follow-up from the previous one: Another trend is that those users also tend to have a lower accept rate; maybe this could be another metric for a dialog suggesting an improvement.

I really feel like it's an important duty of higher reputation users to do as much "gardening" of SO as possible. I just wonder if there is a way to encourage it at the lower end of this "higher reputation group".

Also, I wonder if the 10,000 reputation cap for the suggested edit number display is too high. It seems a little odd to me that I have the ability to edit with impunity (no peer review), but I don't have a way of seeing a list of suggested edits.

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I'd rather not have the site prompting me to edit questions. That falls into a category I like to call "annoying". The bad questions are annoying enough already, that's why I fix them. Seems easily enough remembered... – Cody Gray May 17 '11 at 8:26

From a purely Darwinian standpoint, it behooves you to edit and improve the question if you are bothering to answer it.

The better the question looks, the more likely people are to click on it, see your great answer -- and upvote it.

Whereas even if there is a brilliant answer to this question ...


-- user12345, 3 days ago

... would anyone ever bother clicking on it to find out?

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True, but the "issue" is that I didn't (for whatever reason), so I was trying to come up with thoughts for how this could be encouraged. I also tend to be fairly active in editing (well I feel like I am), so there is bound to be people who don't that might if they were encouraged. – Alastair Pitts May 17 '11 at 0:25
@ape well, I will delete really bad questions, regardless of how many answers they have. Every time you answer a terrible question, you risk having your answer thrown away. So, carrot in my answer, stick in the comment here :) – Jeff Atwood May 17 '11 at 0:26
The really bad questions (like your example) I can understand, but the question itself that I ignored wasn't bad per se, it just wasn't well worded/spelt. I will tend to vote to close on bad questions, rather than answer anyway. – Alastair Pitts May 17 '11 at 0:28

How about checking a post for common spelling, grammar and CAPITALISATION ISSUES and supplying a subtle prompt below (or above) the question text remining users that they are able to edit questions, for example:

This question appears to have some spelling and grammar issues. You have the ability to edit questions, can you improve this post?

This message would only need to appear in severe cases where the detected problems could not possibly be anything else (a false positive would after all be fairly annoying for any asker who put real effort into asking their question) - the purpose of the message is not to flag problem questions but to raise awareness that users are not only able to edit questions, but improving questions whenever you can is completely encouraged.

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