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From What if I disagree with the closure of a question? How can I reopen it?

Closed questions that receive edits within the first 5 days of closure are automatically put into a review queue to be considered for reopening.

Frequently, users make irrelevant edits to reason which a question was put 'on hold'. Consequently, it is sent to the queue only to reviewers click 'leave closed'.

Most times, only OPs are the ones able to address the close reason. That is why I suggest either:

  • the 'on hold' question is sent to the reopen queue in the first time someone edits it, but also the first time OP edits it (within the first 5 days of closure).
  • or the question is only sent to the queue within the first 5 days of closure, if OP is the one to edit it.

More context about this is available in Irrelevant edits to specific close reason in questions with 'on hold' status?.

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    I've already started the discussion at How can we solve the problem of misinformed reopen reviews as a result of edits during the review process?; you can post this as an answer there. – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog Sep 29 '18 at 19:11
  • @SonictheInclusiveWerehog, thanks. Unfortunately, I find that question extremely difficult to read, from title to body (too much verbose). If you think this is a duplicate, I suggest linking that one to this one. – Andre Silva Sep 29 '18 at 19:22
  • What proportion of these non-OP edits are made by low rep users? Would a minimum required reputation to allow an edit to a closed post (or add the edited post to the reopen queue) be of any use? – 1201ProgramAlarm Sep 29 '18 at 19:30
  • @1201ProgramAlarm, I don't know the exact answer to your first question, but I can say what motivated me to ask first in GIS Meta, and then, here: edits made by users who edit frequently (most of them high reputation users, even a mod). – Andre Silva Sep 29 '18 at 19:42
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    FWIW, the logic feeding the reopen queue is already horrifically complex and buggy; if we're gonna add to it, we should try & get as much mileage out of that addition as possible - as OP edits already dominate the queue, it might be worth looking for something a bit more nuanced as a trigger here. – Shog9 Oct 2 '18 at 1:29
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+50

I think sending an On Hold question to the reopen queue both the first time anyone edits it, and also the first time the asker edits it (within the first 5 days of being On Hold, if not already re-opened) makes for a sensible enhancement. I see no harm in these questions getting two runs through the review queue.

I think only sending to the queue within the first 5 days of being On Hold when the asker is the one to edit it, risks leaving some questions On Hold longer than they need to be. For example, sometimes only a simple edit by anyone may be what is needed to move a question from being Too Broad to being suitably focused for our Q&A, and ready for re-opening.

  • I particularly think that making a radical change in a broad question to make it specific is a radical change in someone else’s question. Which part to cut? What focus to give? To me those decisions should be made by OP (at least during “on hold” status). But agree sending it twice to the queue wouldn’t hurt. – Andre Silva Sep 30 '18 at 14:04
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Most times, only OPs are the ones able to address the close reason.

That's one of those truisms that gets tossed around a lot... And ends up being more of a self-fulfilling prophesy as a result. Consider that there are multiple, distinct reasons for something to be reopened:

  1. It didn't need to be closed in the first place (voters misinterpreted the question)
  2. It did need to be closed, but the reason for closing it is no longer in use (for example: obsolete close reasons, or rules regarding a site's scope that change after meta discussion)
  3. It did need to be closed, but the problem has been corrected (by the author or someone else)

When folks talk about askers editing to address a close reason, they're usually thinking of category #3: it's easy to find questions that are missing details or specificity and cannot be corrected in good faith except by the person who needs the solution...

...but those are not why we have 3rd-party edits triggering a reopen review. That functionality exists primarily because of category #1:

See, closing and re-opening aren't exactly equal. Most notably, closing requires you to specify a reason - reopening does not. This cuts both ways: closing requires more effort, but other voters also have a reason they can either agree or disagree with; unless the person voting to re-open left a comment, there's nothing to indicate why he thought re-opening was a good idea.

Asking good questions is hard. Identifying good questions isn't all that easy either - and sometimes folks make mistakes there too. Sometimes an edit doesn't really have to fix anything so much as make it clear that the problem never existed in the first place. THAT'S where the third-party edit trigger becomes important.

The success rate when flagging for reopening is... Not great. The success rate when 3rd-party edits send questions into the reopen queue is even worse... BUT, it's a lot more accessible - anyone can edit, even folks who can't flag or who wouldn't think to do so. As a result, more questions have been reopened following 3rd-party edits since we implemented this trigger than have been reopened via moderator flags during the entire history of Stack Overflow... It's not doing a lot, but it's still better than what we had before.

The truth of the matter is, most edits don't result in questions being reopened. That goes for 3rd-party edits, but also for edits from the asker. I'd still love to hear suggestions for better guidance for editors, if anyone wants to propose some. "Better" here being guidance aimed at improving the resulting edit, not discouraging the editor from editing at all.

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    Point #2 is just there for completeness – Shog9 Oct 4 '18 at 1:34
  • "BUT, it's a lot more accessible - anyone can edit, even folks who can't flag or who wouldn't think to do so" (and the sentences who follow it in the paragraph). I've been thinking on this in the last week and I think you are right. I keep thinking in situations where OP responds in comments, and someone edit them in (I have helped reopened a lot of questions this way, but confess see little of these in the queue myself). So, no objections to 3rd party edits sending questions to the queue. [now, there is a 'however']. – Andre Silva Oct 8 '18 at 20:41
  • However, the main question still remains. Not all OPs have the chance to edit their own questions and send them to the queue (not if someone edits it first to remove 'thanks'). I think this an important piece which is missing, even though the query is already horrifically complex and buggy. – Andre Silva Oct 8 '18 at 20:48

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