Assume you have a question like this:

I has need to make html website!!! i has ! What does i do now?!?!?

And somebody submitted an edit to add backticks to show the code and various grammar fixes:

I have a need to make an html website! I have <html></html>! What do I do now?

However, the post obviously should be closed as off-topic. Although this edit makes the post more readable, should the edit be approved, rejected, or ignored?

  • 1
    For suggested edits, that should be rejected. Not enough changed in the post
    – ಠ_ಠ
    Aug 22, 2013 at 14:15
  • Ok, say the edit removed the excessive punctuation.
    – Mooseman
    Aug 22, 2013 at 14:16
  • 1
    Is this a theoretical problem you're considering or do you have any such examples on the site that we could work a more material analysis on?
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Aug 22, 2013 at 14:16
  • @GraceNote I have seen cases where this situation has occurred, however, the posts have either been deleted or edited extensively. This example is theoretical, as it is slightly more extreme than any actual question I have seen.
    – Mooseman
    Aug 22, 2013 at 14:18

2 Answers 2


The goal of closing a question is to provide time for the question to be improved. Edits are the means by which that happens. You most certainly should not reject an edit just because the question is closed.

If you think that, even after the edit, the question should still be closed, but the edit is still a significant improvement, moving the post at least a noticeable amount closer towards being opened, then it's a good thing and worth approving. As several others have stated, the specific example that you used was a rather minor improvement, and even after the edit the post was clearly very, very far from being worth reopening; probably so far from being worth reopening that I would question if it's even possible to redeem it, which makes me inclined to reject the edit.


Judge the edit based on the merits of the edit, not on the original question.

In your example, I would have likely accepted the edit because it, for me, code format improvements no matter how small are a must for acceptance. The only counter-argument for that rule is when the edit changed something else invalidly.

It is important to keep in mine that some edits may improve the question enough that any previous close votes are no longer valid. A rare case I am sure (as it's very difficult to guess the requirements of somebody else), but still worth accepting a valid edit in the event it may prevent the question being closed.

In fact, I seem to remember one suggested edit I seen Today that I approved, but the question was still so poor that I went and voted to close it anyway. (I think it might have be a formatting edit, which as you know, is one of my personal rules or acceptance)

  • Why would it be too minor. It's the entire post. The OP didn't provide anything else in the question to improve.
    – Cole Tobin
    Aug 22, 2013 at 14:39
  • @ColeJohnson: It's subject to opinion, and I don't feel a significant change has been made. Though after another review, I might be tempted to vote "invalid edit" because of the inclusion of source code that the editor can only have guessed at
    – musefan
    Aug 22, 2013 at 14:51
  • 1
    @musefan - I'm not sure that code was added. The OP says backticks were added so that the code would show. My guess is that the HTML without the backticks didn't show properly.
    – chue x
    Aug 22, 2013 at 15:01
  • @chuex: Ah yes, missed that bit. Then I would have accepted on my "code improvements rule!" rule
    – musefan
    Aug 22, 2013 at 15:06

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