I have been on Stack Overflow and other similar sites in the Stack Exchange network for some time and one of the very irritating things I have noticed is that most members actually strive to flag the questions, downvote questions, and look down upon the user who asked the question, instead of editing it and answering the question.

There are plenty of examples for such questions, I just can't find none as of now. Questions on SE sites have to be high quality, but I think members should rather focus on answering the question instead of trying to make it perfect or look down upon it.

  • That's because I got downvoted. – Vlad Sep 10 '13 at 17:32
  • Ahhh. Yeah, some of these SE sites can be a bit brutal. My suggestion is to read a lot of the questions that got lots of upvotes, and pay attention to how they broach a subject. A lot of times a good question in theory can be worded poorly, and that can make all the difference. – Johnny Bones Sep 10 '13 at 17:34
  • "can't find none" ... I think the intention was to write "can't find one", no? Or did you want to write "find dozens of them". Consider correcting ... By the way: great question "I" think ... – Pierre.Vriens Mar 19 '15 at 20:14

I prefer to point out what's unclear than to guess. In this case only OP can tell what OP had in mind. And yes, I vote to close as too broad and unclear pretty often (on Drupal Answers). The result is: less answers wasted. If people are forced to wait for clarification on question, there is significantly less chance their answers will go down the drain as not fitting the question. Saves time, saves effort.

Last but not least, I strongly believe that making people post better question teaches them more than making questions good for them. Fish and fishing rod, kinda. I always do my best to explain why I don't like / understand question, but yea, I downvote. But I also un-downvote when edited. I've seen question going from -2 to +3 in like 5 minutes when OP took time and edited it to shape. And his next questions was pretty good too as far as I remember - mission accomplished. I don't think it would be the same if I would just edit his question for him and gave answer. Worse, best answer wasn't even mine, but the guy that gave it needed data from the edit to provide it. If I would edit question as I understood it, best answer would never get posted at all.

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    As an elaboration on the fish and fishing rod comment, the kinds of things that users do to improve a question (displaying actual output versus expected output, highlighting the problematic line of code, reducing to a minimal example) actually let users find the solutions to their problems (which they can then post as answers). – Joshua Taylor Sep 5 '13 at 15:36

I personally don't strive to find mistakes in questions. I read questions and simply see they have problems. They are unclear, poorly formulated, or a bad fit for the site. Heck, it might be on a topic I know nothing about.

Present me with a jQuery question and I wouldn't know how to answer it. (Well, except that we need more jQuery, but I somehow never post that). But I can see it's not clearly formulated. I can see when it's a givemetehcodez question. There are plenty of bad signs I do pick up on. And to help the site out I will evaluate them accordingly. Either by voting, or by telling the OP (how) to address the issues.

Do I edit? I sure do. I think I'm now at a fairly reasonable 4.4k edits on the main site. And with that I don't even make it to the top. There are some insane editors out there. But edits can only take you so far. Some questions are beyond editing, and others are well written but simply unclear or show no effort. No amount of editing on my behalf if going to do anything about that, without me making wild assumptions about what the author must have intended.

We're not really out to criticize anyone. This is not a personal game. We're out here to uphold a certain level of quality. If you notice that some users take that a bit too far, you are free to flag their behaviour for the attention of those who can handle the flags. But you can't argue that they should either answer, edit or be quiet.

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