Reopening Fixed Questions

I've observed on some beta sites, as well as some graduated sites, that sometimes questions are asked which don't immediately fit the goals of being a constructive question. These questions are closed, and the asker brings his/her case to Meta Stack Overflow, or a per site Meta.

In many cases, especially when the question asker or interested party is constructive in the meta discussions, the question is edited by the meta community and voted to reopen.

This doesn't mean it was unjustified to close the question. After all, that's what closure is for, to give the community an opportunity to fix the post before it gets answers. In these cases, the process clearly works.

On Project Management Stack Exchange, for instance, we take question closures very seriously, and oftentimes a close voter will even bring the question to meta him/herself and initiate a discussion around fixing the problems. This shows that, if you're an asker, close voters are not the enemy, as they may be more able to help judge what needs to be fixed in order to make it a good question.

Encouraging Editing Behaviors on Closed Questions

The entire reputation system focuses on content. Writing answers yields the highest reputation per upvote, while writing questions yields half that amount. When it comes to editing, reputation is only awarded to editors who are still green, who have less than 1000 reputation on betas and less than 2000 reputation on graduated sites.

Edits, especially those on closed questions where the question is then reopened by the community, are quite powerful, and should be encouraged, not only to fix the questions themselves, but to educate the community that this is an option. Many people seem to be under the impression that closure is the hell for questions, when in reality it's more like waiting to be reborn.

So, Who Cares? My Question is Reopened. So What?

If the problems aren't fixed, who's to say another round of close voters won't come along and cast 5 more close votes, continuing the close/reopen cycle. If we learn from the original 5 close voters and fix the problems that caused them to take action, there's a much better chance that we'll affect the decisions of N close voters.

The Question

Is there a way to allow up-votes on edits that meet the following criteria:

  • The edits are made to closed questions.
  • The question is reopened by 5 users or a moderator.
  • The questions are up-voted by the community.
  • Any user, not just < 2k(1K on beta) users, are eligible for the reputation gains.

Note: This is not the same as approval/rejection. This is a way to recognize those edits that hopefully help people learn more about the advantages of question closure.

The goal of upvoting edits is to recognize and reward the editors with vision, the ones who can carve out the cancerous parts of a question and turn it into a masterpiece, or at least something that, when reopened by some passionate users, won't look the same as when it was first closed. The reward doesn't need to be large, perhaps 2 points per upvote, but enough to where it can be mentioned in the What is Reputation part of the FAQ.

I've tagged this since I'm not really sure how I feel about such a feature, and I'm hoping to discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and perhaps decide from these discussions whether or not a is warranted, and what other ideas should, or shouldn't, be incorporated.

  • 2
    Personally I'd prefer a badge for something like this over adding a complicated voting system
    – Ben Brocka
    Sep 16, 2012 at 13:56
  • Even less complicated is having the OP just ask a new question in such a way as to fix the original question's problems. Of course, the new question would be closed as a dup of the first, but at least we'd get the question right. Sep 16, 2012 at 14:18
  • @ChrisGerken If the OP is able to ask the question again, why should not the OP be able to re-write the original question?
    – apaderno
    Sep 16, 2012 at 17:03
  • The badge would definitely be simpler, @BenBrocka, and simpler is probably the way to go. Great points!
    – jmort253
    Sep 16, 2012 at 17:24


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