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The help center states:

Stack Exchange is collaboratively built, maintained, and moderated by the community. If you see a question and you disagree with the stated reason of its closure, you should first try to edit the question to improve it as much as possible.

How far should I edit it? I don't want to get question banned.

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  • Obviously, my answer is "go wild at it", but I want to know if there's an authoritative source about this.
    – Braiam
    Oct 22, 2021 at 23:12
  • When deciding how much a question can be edited, it makes a very big difference whether the question is answered, or not. You should clarify that.
    – cigien
    Oct 22, 2021 at 23:13
  • 1
    @cigien presume that the answers should never be posted anyways and will be deleted anyways. Remember, I got my question closed, so the answers are irrelevant anyways: it should never been answered. Or you try to answer off topic, duplicate, unclear questions regularly?
    – Braiam
    Oct 22, 2021 at 23:14
  • 4
    Answers are not irrelevant just because the question is closed. Anyway, please add the details in the comments into the question.
    – cigien
    Oct 22, 2021 at 23:16
  • 2
    Does this answer your question? What should be done with a closed question that has been completely rewritten?
    – cigien
    Oct 22, 2021 at 23:48
  • 4
    Your question here isn't asking what you were arguing for in chat. What you were arguing for there was the asker being permitted to totally change the question to something completely different. If that's what you're really wanting to know, then please ask that. Right now, you've phrased this in a way that makes in unclear that you're wanting to know about going that far, rather than sticking with what most people will understand as "improve the question", which generally is improving it, not totally changing it.
    – Makyen
    Oct 22, 2021 at 23:55
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    In addition, you appear to not, at all, considering the issue of a user being currently question banned and using changing the question in its entirety as a way to get around the question ban to ask a new question, then wanting people to reopen it.
    – Makyen
    Oct 22, 2021 at 23:56
  • @Makyen yeah, that's BS. As even Shog itself put it "Well... If you're circumventing the ban by turning bad questions into good ones... Mission Accomplished!" So, even if you are trying to circumvent quality bans, it's totally ok. So, still that argument is totally misguided.
    – Braiam
    Oct 23, 2021 at 0:11
  • @cigien I know that question, I answered it :). Maybe give it a read to see what was the consensus back then.
    – Braiam
    Oct 23, 2021 at 0:16
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    I'm not commenting on what the consensus is, or isn't. I just think the linked question is asking effectively the same thing as your question, so I suggested it as a duplicate.
    – cigien
    Oct 23, 2021 at 0:52
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    Speaking of BS, Shog9 definitely never argued or believed that it was "OK" for users to attempt to circumvent quality bans. Apart from that, I agree with Makyen; you are mixing together several distinct circumstances. Improving a question, as it says in the Help Center, is totally fine. But improvement does not mean to replace with something entirely new. I cannot "improve" my computer by replacing it with a new one. Similarly, you cannot "improve" your question by replacing it with a new one. You especially cannot do this when there are existing answers and/or it's been closed as a dupe. Oct 23, 2021 at 5:22
  • @CodyGray Are you even reading the same thing "Shog9 definitely never argued or believed that it was "OK" for users to attempt to circumvent quality bans". He said mission accomplished in the way that you are fixing the questions to make sure you get out of the bans. That's definitively "OK".
    – Braiam
    Oct 25, 2021 at 14:10
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    Turning bad questions into good ones doesn't mean completely rewriting them. If necessary, I can check with Shog9 to clarify his intent. But I am not sure that will persuade you. It does not seem that you are truly asking a question with the intent of learning about the site's policies, but rather that you are pushing a hidden agenda that you know is against the preferences of the community at large. Oct 25, 2021 at 20:58

3 Answers 3

3

"How far should I edit it? I don't want to get question banned."

The Help Center article on question bans explains:

How can I get out of a question ban?

  • Begin by improving your existing questions: do as much as possible to make them clear, specific and on-topic.
  • The ban will be lifted automatically by the system when it determines that your positive contributions outweigh the cost of those questions which were poorly received.

Stack Exchange cannot lift question bans by request.

  • Edit all of your questions, paying special attention to those that score 0 or less. All questions are expected to be useful to future visitors, so put effort into writing with proper grammar and spelling, formatting your post so it can be read easily, and providing as much detail as possible about your problem and what you have already tried. Then write a title that summarizes your problem so that others encountering the exact same issue can find it.
    ...

IF editing your closed question could (possibly) repair its shortcomings and is likely to result in upvotes then edit your question correctly. Address helpful suggested shortcomings and duplicates in your updated revision, the first edit may automatically enter your question into the ReOpen Queue.

Don't invalidate existing answers nor challenge that since your question was closed any answers ought not to have been posted; giving you free reign to maximize the extent of the alterations.

Improve essentially the same question, or abandon it (at risk of a ban) and ask a new completely different one.

Sometimes you can improve a question, other times you simply can not. Blanking a bad question and using it as a space to ask a new question, circumventing a ban, is likely to result in a ban being manually applied.

Remember that even if you are banned you can ask again 6 months later, a really great question, and dig your way out of the hole.

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  • You started so well, and then went to add "Don't invalidate existing answers nor challenge that since your question was closed any answers ought not to have been posted; giving you free reign to maximize the extent of the alterations" The help center doesn't say that. Please, keep your argument to the help center.
    – Braiam
    Oct 23, 2021 at 0:10
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    @Braiam, the same can be said for the resulting comments on your question. Don't offer advice on how to answer in the comments, write your own answer. I'm not arguing the help center, I'm answering your question; which stands at -4 currently.
    – Rob
    Oct 23, 2021 at 0:15
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    Restricting criticism to only using the information in the help centre ignores the existence of clarification and further information in posts on Meta SE and elsewhere on the network. This does not seem reasonable, especially for someone who should be very familiar with the principle of "one post, one question". If you have a new question, ask a new question. If you're afraid of a Q-ban, make an effort to ask a good question. Otherwise the system is doing what it should.
    – Nij
    Oct 23, 2021 at 3:34
  • @Nij the thing with restricting to the help center, is that there's too much meta discusion that directly goes against a basic tenet of the site: that anyone can edit anything as long as it improves it. You can't have a meta post that directly contradicts what the help center plainly states. It is not logical. Also, I asked (in comments but whatever) for "an authoritative source about this". Opinions of randos on the meta aren't authoritative. Heck, even employees aren't authoritative unless you know they actually write the documentation and they can offer clarification on what they meant.
    – Braiam
    Oct 23, 2021 at 3:54
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    So your argument is that everything saying you shouldn't do this must be wrong, because it's not in one specific source, despite you asking here in meta for something that's not in that source? Good luck with that.
    – Nij
    Oct 23, 2021 at 4:38
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    If you're still having trouble, you've already quoted exactly what you need. Improve the question. In no sense of that phrase can a reasonable person obtain the meaning of totally replace the question.
    – Nij
    Oct 23, 2021 at 4:40
  • No @Nij it's that your argument is totally opposite of what the authoritative source says. If you are arguing that the authoritative source is wrong, it should use another authoritative source, or at least a valid argument that is aligned to a greater goal, ie. it leads us to a better content.
    – Braiam
    Oct 25, 2021 at 14:12
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    You quoted the source yourself, and it is quite apparent that your interpretation is is the minority, which suggests at best you are pointing out a potential ambiguity. However, it seems clear you didn't come seeking explanation for why you shouldn't do it, merely justification for why you would.
    – Nij
    Oct 25, 2021 at 19:59
2

I generally stop editing my questions when I feel that I have made what I am asking clear to potential answerers and preferably also to any viewers of the question.

It is hard to give more specific advice than that because every question is different.

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  1. How far should I edit it?

One problem (not yet mentioned in this thread) is keeping consistency of the question's . If an OP's 1st edit is Apples and the 2nd edit is Oranges that introduces a problem for readers (and don't forget, the revision-list could go up to the Nth edit Bananas...)

The only solution to keep the revision history consistent after those N edits would be raising a custom moderator flag asking for a but that is reserved for redacting .

So this leaves the answer to "How far" dependent on the question's changes keeping it within Oranges or Apples or Bananas. (*See example in footnote.)

  1. I don't want to get question banned.

No one does, the latest feedback indicates post ban mechanisms are going to be reevaluated.

Allow old, poorly-asked questions to eventually age away for purposes of the question ban algorithm

"There is definitely room for improvement here so I've set this to status-deferred for now as this is something we'd like to explore further." See answer.

This seems like the better solution because allowing complete changes to questions would lead to endless amounts of noise scattered in revision histories rendering that functionality chaotic and in many cases meaningless.

(* Example: Changing a HTML question to a Java question without any code, text -any trace of the original problem itself- would certainly break consistency of the post's history.)

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  • That's irrelevant. Nobody should be taking this into account.
    – Braiam
    Oct 23, 2021 at 3:54
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    @Braiam why is it irrelevant?
    – bad_coder
    Oct 23, 2021 at 3:56

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