As seen in this meta question, the OP, who is not exactly an inexperienced SE user, didn't realise that editing of questions to improve them was

either an option, or a suggested path

Yet the whole basis behind making all posts on SE cc by-sa 3.0 is to make it easy and clear that posts will be edited to improve the content of the site.

We might have a problem here with closing or locking too many questions, discussed early on in the history of this site. It is easy for users to pile in on top of a downvote or close vote, and to justify this as keeping the site content of high quality. For sure, we don't want to be a repository of badly written 'fix my printer' posts.

On the IoT site (also in Beta, and with a fairly small core of engaged users), we made a deliberate effort to improve questions which were initially closed, once the OP had been given some time to make their own edits. This was quite an interesting challenge, since it helps in thinking what the really useful question to have asked would be. Overall, it improves the number of questions (and thus the reach of the site when it comes to organic search). It keeps the active users engaged in proposing edits, it generates more answers to be upvoted. If the OP comes back to ask another question in 6 months time (after their mini rage-quit), they might be pleasantly surprised to have gained some upvotes or answers.

Clearly not all bad questions are good candidates for improvement. Anything that has some technique/skill aspects (not just troubleshooting) is worth trying to rescue. First with specific directive comments, then with an edit. Where the problem is more along the lines of language or punctuation, I tend to edit by example (and re-structuring a question is also easier to explain with an edit - just encourage the use of rollback).

A critical detail from this answer, when a user is inexperienced with the technology, they will not know the terminology and they will not understand how to ask about their underlying problem rather than what they think they need to do to fix it. We can help this with some signpost or 'duplicate target' types of question.

I'm not proposing a free for all on off topic or poor questions, just that our resident experts try and see if they can write good questions on presented topics.

Remember, do not answer a bad question unless you want to make sure that even after being closed, the question won't be deleted.



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