In this review, the editor improved this revision of this question, which still ought to be (at the time of writing) closed as OT > find a tool. Update: The OP deleted it.

The edit itself is good: it fixes grammatical errors and makes the question more easily understandable without changing the OP's intent.

HOWEVER, the question itself is a bad question because it is OT. Should I approve the edit, or not?

  • 2
    Repainting the titanic is "too minor". Causes harm: Bumps post.
    – bjb568
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 17:44

2 Answers 2


The edits did not improve the post in my opinion. It went from unsalvageable to still unsalvageable.

Really this line in the question was the nail in the coffin

Can you suggest best and latest combinations with Java from client side to database.

There is no open ended form of that question which is going to remain on Stack Overflow (nor that version of question on most exchanges).

Edits on posts that clearly stand no chance at succeeding are not adding value when the post is destined for deletion. All it does is waste reviewer's time looking at the edit and I do not think that should be encouraged.

I do not believe that approving these types of edits helps the situation, as it only encourages users to edit questions which have no chance of surviving.


Given that they are acceptable otherwise, I think we should approve those edits for the following reasons:

  • By rejecting an edit because you think the question should be closed, you make yourself the only judge on the closure of a question and, morevover, on its unsalvagability. After all, there is a reason why five close votes are required for closure. If your opinion on this deviates from the community’s once, this arguably causes more damage (in form of alienating the editor, causing quarrel and confusion, leaving a question in a bad state) than accepting a lot of such edits.
  • Even if the question is closed for good, an edit may teach the OP valuable stuff like using code formatting, proper English, tags, paragraphs, etc.
  • In case of really badly formatted questions, an edit may spare close reviewers more time for reading than it costs edit reviewers. For example, the insertion of a few paragraphs into a wall of text, correction of crucial spelling mistakes or highlighting of the actual question takes less time reviewing than it saves a reader.
  • Usually after consolidation with the asker, an edit may turn a question from closeworthy to acceptable.
  • If a question is closed, it can still serve as a beacon that prevents others from asking a similar question. Thus, the edit isn’t completely wasted.

Now, for all of the above arguments, there are cases where they clearly do not apply: If the question is a wall of random words, it is certainly unsalvagable and the OP is also very unlikely to make valuable contributions at any point in the future and thus correcting a few spelling mistakes will not help anybody. But drawing the line is very difficult and thus I think it causes more trouble, quarrel and confusion to approve of people disapproving edits for these reasons than those edits cause. Note that the too-minor criterion was removed due to similar reasons:

There are a couple of problems with this [too minor edits]:

  1. The meaning of "too minor" varies widely between individuals. Are trivial changes always too minor, or only too minor when they ignore other, more damning problems with the post? […]

  2. Implemented as you describe, it's nothing more than a rep-denial mechanism. "I like your edit, but not enough to reward you for making it". There's no way to enforce its use in cases that actually justify it, meaning the actual application is likely to be seen as capricious. See also #1...

If people suggesting edits to unsalvagable posts for reputation farming alone really is a problem on some sites, I would rather prevent this by retroactively removing or reducing reputation gained from edits to closed posts (but I do not consider this a good idea either). As Flexo notes, if a question gets deleted, the reputation for edits is already revoked and thus the incentive for reputation farmers to edit deleteworthy questions is already heavily reduced.

  • 1
    If a question is later deleted editors lose rep gained already.
    – Flexo
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 10:25
  • 1
    @Flexo: Thanks, I did not know that. I incorporated this into my answer.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 11:34
  • While I appreciate the spirit of making the exchanges a better place by always attempting to edit material into a better form, I think that it just causes problems when the question is clearly a lost cause. For borderline issues, the edits can salvage questions, but that isn't really the topic at hand. Keep in mind, an edit cannot be rejected by one user, it must also be a community decision. In that regard, no one user determines the fate of these edits, and also more people's time is affected by reviewing the edit. Closed questions are not meant to be found, so they cannot be beacons.
    – Travis J
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 22:17
  • The key issue here though, I think, is the distinction between posts which can have merit versus posts which cannot be saved through any sort of edit, aside from completely changing the question (which is not really advised). If there is the potential of merit, then edits should be encouraged.
    – Travis J
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 22:17
  • “Closed questions are not meant to be found, so they cannot be beacons.” – In that case they are much too easy to be found. As long as they did not get deleted (e.g., because they had answers), you can find a closed question like a regular one. I also do not deny the existence of cases in which the question is hopeless. But there is no clear place where to draw the line. And thus approving of rejecting such edits will cause evetually cause edits to be rejected in cases which are not black but very grey.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 22:41

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