Just thinking about my post about describing close reasons it strikes me that there are two very distinct kind of questions which are currently being closed:

  • Questions which you believe really shouldn't be open, and you'd like to see deleted eventually
  • Questions which aren't good in their current form, but could be good after some work

For instance, take this question. It was asked in good faith, but in a needlessly provocative manner which was bound to rile some people up. With a bit of appropriate editing - preferably by the original poster - it could be fine.

Other options could be "please provide more details/code (not enough information)" and "please edit (current wording is extremely unclear)" - perhaps those could be rolled into one, perhaps not. Either way, the OP could be notified that their question isn't likely to get the answers they want due to problems with it.

The currently flagged "please edit this because..." reasons could be visible on the question, and optionally cleared when the question was edited. Whether the question should be closed after enough flags and a long time with no input from the original poster is up for discussion.

One of the repeated complaints about the system is that it's too unkind to newbies, who might ask a question and have it closed very quickly. This would help to reduce that to some extent (although not entirely eliminate it, I'm sure).

5 Answers 5


I would add that when you flag something like this, edits to it should show up on your summary page so you can go change your mind.

If you don't change your mind that flag should turn into a close vote after a day (or some other arbitrary period).

  • 2
    Not 100% sure about it automatically turning into a close vote though.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 10:22
  • 1
    @ChrisF: How about if you don't change your mind and the question isn't edited for a day? Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 11:57
  • That's why I said I wasn't sure rather than saying I disagreed with that bit ;) There's two levels of flagging (as indicated by Jon in the original question) - 1) Tidy this up or it gets closed. 2) This could do with a clean up. I'm not sure having two more flagging options would be a good idea so having the half way house of "tidy this or it gets closed" is the best compromise.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 17:52
  • I see a "needs attention" as a borderline close vote giving the author the opportunity to fix it up hence lapsing to a close vote.
    – cletus
    Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 21:04

Good idea.

Some of the questions that most need editing seem to suffer from the inability of the poster to express himself in English. Consider the following:

  1. Allow us to specify in our profile one or more languages that we speak. This information would be private.
  2. Allow us in our profile to indicate a willingness to help with translation for people speaking one of a list of languages.
  3. When one of our questions is flagged for edit, allow us to press a button asking for translation help.
    • We'd have to enter a more extensive version of the question in a language we speak well enough to express ourselves.
    • The users who have opted in would receive a orange envelope (I think email might be too much).
    • One of these users may choose to edit by translation. He'd get a screen showing both the foreign-language and the new English version of the question. He'd enter the translation into the English box.
    • When finished, the translated post would replace the original

What do you think? Too much? Too condescending?


I think this is a great idea. I think many questions get downvoted because they are vague or sometimes just don't make sense.

A Flag as "More detail required" which notified the asker either next time they logged in or by email (if they subscribe to email updates for the question) would be a good work around.

Although this more detail required is already implicitly implemented in the comment system, I think an explicit flag would be nice.

I think that one issue is how do you decide whether more details have been added? and how do you stop people from just adding it willy nilly to any question they fancy.

Are you going to weight the more details required by a number of votes or is it just a case of once a user with over say 2k rep says it needs more detail then a boolean flag is set?

  • 3
    I'd probably suggest that the number of votes cast for each flag is just displayed... no weighting needed for that. As for deciding when enough details have been added - when you commit the edit, the system could ask the editor whether this should "clear" the flags or not. If they choose to clear it when actually they haven't improved anything - and do it several times - that suggests there's little hope, and the question should be closed.
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 9:37
  • I find downvoting without leaving a reason problematic. If I can't figure out why people downvoted, what's the point of downvoting. Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 6:26

Similar suggestion: Let people without editing rep help fix answers/questions!

Allowing flagged questions to be automatically closed if they're not edited within, say, a day... sounds like a great way to keep the site clear of cruft without unduly confusing new users.

I'd also suggest that a list of currently-flagged questions be made available to those with editing privileges, so that they could potentially step in and fix issues that the author was unable or unwilling to fix.

FWIW, i think closing should still be the first choice for blatantly argumentative questions; flame-bait should be discouraged.


This seems to be a good idea. I would add some window of time the question cannot be closed after it was flagged for edit to give the original poster some time to react. I thought about the flag turning into a close vote after some waiting period, if no edit occured. But this would disallow to use the flag in cases where the questions is valuable in its current state as well. It suffices if after a lay period the flag looses its power to prevent from closing the question, I guess.

  • I agree to not allowing these q's to e closed I disagree with the flag turing into a close flag. Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 9:30

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