I just reviewed and rejected a suggested edit on this question. The original question was clearly off-topic, and it was closed as such. The suggested edit made some superficial grammar corrections, but in no way changed the substance of the question, and I see no way in which this question could be edited into an on-topic question, anyway. Since this edit does not seem helpful in any way to me, I rejected it.

After I rejected this, I noticed that one well-respected and high-rep member had approved the edit. Hence my question:

Should we reject such superficial edits to closed, off-topic questions that are in no way salvageable, even though the edits are valid improvements to the language of the question?

1 Answer 1


What always sticks out to me with edits like this is whether someone searching the site can find the question. This, in fact, is included in the rejection:

This edit does not make the post even a little bit easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible. Changes are either completely superfluous or actively harm readability.

Imagine, for instance, someone only searches "multi-effect"; before this edit, this question would not have appeared, because it only used "multieffect" with no hyphen. So in this particular case, I think the edit did some good by including both "multieffect" and "multi-effect" to help out future readers that may use that as a search term.

This is not to say that we should aim for the lowest common denominator and intentionally include as many misspellings of Messiaen and we can imagine. But, at least in this case, I think the use of both the noun and adjectival forms makes a worthwhile edit.

As for your more general question, I personally think these superficial edits do make the site better by raising our level of discourse. But presumably there's some point of diminishing returns there, but I'm not sure I know exactly where that is.

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    @DavidBowling My sense is that somewhere around (past?) the point of diminishing returns is your exact question: "what if it's so off-topic it should be deleted?" I'm curious to hear what others say, because I don't have a complete answer.
    – Richard Mod
    Apr 17, 2018 at 19:57
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    There is a script that runs daily to delete closed questions and here are what triggers it: meta.stackexchange.com/a/177675/236364. The closed questions that don't meet requirements stay until deleted. I will sometimes trawl through old questions and delete closed ones that don't make sense to keep, but there's really not a process for this that I'm aware of.
    – Dom Mod
    Apr 19, 2018 at 16:53

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