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I saw a question from a new user. It was pretty poor and looked unclear what he wanted. But I put myself in his shoes, and to me it seemed apparent.

So I wrote up an answer.

A few minutes later the question was closed as "primarily opinion-based". Which it was. Which is reasonable and correct behaviors

However, in the course of writing up my answer, I had seen how it could be considered in a non-opinion based way. So I edited the post, to make it non-opinion based. It was substantial edit, since I took the question from being a highly specific question: "Is X good" to a more general question "Why is X good, how can I tell?"

I figured that the question asker would either reject it if it was too big, or accept it. It was most certainly a big edit, but I figured it would be easiest to give the new user an example of how it could be asked.

The edit was accepted by 2 reviewers from the review queue.

A few hours later, a high rep user came and rolled back the change. As being too large an edit. Which I think is fair enough.

However, now I am in a odd position. I am quiet satisfied with my answer, particularly when it is taken to the revised question (which is now rolled back). I would like the information in it to be available to future people. It is stuff I would have liked to know when I started the game. But as an answer on a closed and negitively scored question, it is not going to be easily found. Particularly since the needed key word to find it on google are in my reverted edit.

I see 3 options:

  • Comment and try and get the Asker to edit the question so that it is better. Seems unlikely, they have not been on since then. Likely got scared off by getting multiple downvotes in the first few minutes on the site.
  • Delete my answer to this question. Then post my Edited question, as a new self-answered question.
  • Consign this answer as out of my control and business.

Which would be best?

  • 2
    All 3, over the course of 2 weeks or so. Give the asker a chance to update their question. If they haven't, write your own, and consign the current one to inevitable deletion. – Robotnik Sep 11 '15 at 12:07
  • 1
    Link to question?! It might end up that your edit was right but we'll all be able to take a decision if we know which question this is about. – Jonathan Drapeau Sep 11 '15 at 13:04
  • @JonathanDrapeau This is not about if my edit was right though. I think reverting it was completely reasonable. gaming.stackexchange.com/q/235739/53810 – Lyndon White Sep 11 '15 at 13:20
  • Yes, I know but to best advice you on what course to take, seeing the question to know if it could be saved from deletion should help. Thanks – Jonathan Drapeau Sep 11 '15 at 13:30
  • It's now been deleted, so you can go ahead and ask it yourself. – Frank Sep 18 '15 at 13:27
  • Only now, since the question was deleted, I can't access my answer to post it. sigh I knew it was coming, and should have backed it up. But i've been so overworked lately – Lyndon White Sep 18 '15 at 14:55
  • pastebin.com/WNtdvSmx – Frank Sep 18 '15 at 20:09
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If you believe you have a better/more useful question (within scope of acceptable questions on the site) then I don't think there is anything wrong with asking it as a new question.

You can self-answer.

Whether you delete the old answer is up to you. I suppose it would make more sense to remove it (assuming a new replacement question is added).

If the original question is re-opened after an edit, and becomes effectively the same question, either one will be closed as a duplicate.

  • 1
    Although, you're probably better off waiting for the original to be edited or deleted, whichever comes first. That way, there's no chance of needing to dupe it. – Frank Sep 11 '15 at 14:58
  • @Frank The asker would need to edit his question for it to be reopened and chances are it will never happen seeing how the asker reacted to his question being downvoted. – Jonathan Drapeau Sep 11 '15 at 17:37
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    @Johnathan Very true. However, there is a chance he will; you never know. To decrease the moderation overhead, I'd just wait. Simpler.for everyone involved. – Frank Sep 11 '15 at 17:41
2

In a community wanting for growth, stomping out posts like this is unfortunate. Rolling back an edit which not only provided a googleable title but added to the informative nature of the post was misguided.

The whole point of community editing is to improve posts by adding content and to me that edit was an improvement. If you as a user are going to call a question low quality content worthy of deletion there is absolutely no reason to fight an edit.

Answers are the fabric of the Stack Exchange model, and anytime you begin attacking those answers by using punitive or "teaching" downvotes you do yourself and the exchange an absolute disservice.

This post should have been edited to further be on topic by those with knowledge of the topic rather than scrapped. That way it could be reopened, and quality content can be placed on the site.

This site does not get enough questions as it is, and content needs to be encouraged not scoffed at.

  • 2
    Here is one of the rejection reasons to choose when reviewing edits: "clearly conflicts with author's intent This edit deviates from the original intent of the post. Even edits that must make drastic changes should strive to preserve the goals of the post's owner." Whilst I agree that community editing is to improve posts, we should not be changing the meaning of them. Oxinabox's answer doesn't answer the original question, it makes some broad assumptions about the information that the question OP was actually after. tl;dr: we shouldn't be changing the question to suit the answer. – Robotnik Sep 15 '15 at 4:44
  • @Robotnik questions are merely the sand that produces the pearl. If we have learned anything in the last three years, it is that you optimize for pearls, not sand. -Jeff Atwood web.archive.org/web/20150819150730/https://… – Travis J Sep 15 '15 at 5:43
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    @Robotnik - I think that smaller communities lack the guidance of the overall exchange and that is probably where your misinterpretation of the guidelines and outlook come from. "the world is awash in questions, but not answers. Answers are the real unit of work in any Q&A; system. Therefore, the only logical thing to do is to maximize the happiness and enjoyment of answerers." – Travis J Sep 15 '15 at 5:46
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    Make no mistake, I'm pro-'editing-to-make-sense', I'm simply stating the rules as written. Speaking of rules: that blog post is irrelevant to the point at hand. We're not removing a pearl with the sand, or a baby with the bathwater, or another metaphoric catchphrase - It's already been stated that Oxinabox should give the OP time to change the question themself, and failing that - to self-answer a tailored question if the information in the answer is valuable enough to keep. – Robotnik Sep 15 '15 at 5:54
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    Doing so will allow us to a) have a good answer, b) have a good question, c) reward good answers and good questions and d) remove bad questions. We can "have our cake and eat it too!" – Robotnik Sep 15 '15 at 5:54
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    In an ideal world he came up with the post himself and made a canonical question and answer. And in that situation all of those points are true. But that isn't what happened, that is also what fails to happen far too often because making canonical posts are very hard. Merely pointing out that the post had qualities which could make it a canonical candidate should alert you to the point that this answer shouldn't be simply thrown out. What reason aside from a negative response to answering that question would the downvotes serve? It is a pattern that needs to be stopped. It hinders growth. – Travis J Sep 15 '15 at 5:57
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    Making an edit that changes the intent is a major no-no, and I can't support any effort to do so. If the original asker has their question closed, and they don't fix it, ask it yourself. Do not modify their question. That's not what edits are for. As for site size, I think we're in pretty decent shape. We're definitely not small. – Frank Sep 16 '15 at 14:30
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    @Frank - The OP, a 1 rep user, clearly had abandoned the question. There was no attempt by them to edit it. It needed modification. As to the actual modification presented, it was not a change in intent and the OP was grateful to the posted answer. I would agree with you if there was no answer, just ask a different question if you want. There is a lot of onus on creating a canonical post at that point which in itself complex. However, there was good content. That coupled with the fact that the 1 reputation user (probably feeling alienated by now) wasn't going to edit makes this edit valid. – Travis J Sep 16 '15 at 18:43
  • @Frank - As for site size, gaming is definitely in good shape at the moment. That doesn't mean it should stop growing. Note that the amount of content being generated has been stagnant in 2015, and has actually declined since 2014. This is a problem from a growth perspective, and so regardless of size, this exchange needs to keep growth in mind. – Travis J Sep 16 '15 at 18:45
  • Irrelevant. The edit changed the intent far too greatly to be acceptable. The asker wanted an opinion on a build, which is why it was closed. The edit modified it to be acceptable, but that changed the intent of the question. In these cases, if the modified question is something that you think is valuable, just ask it yourself. Modifying someone else's question is not kosher, abandoned or not. – Frank Sep 16 '15 at 18:48
  • As for growth, what stats are you citing? Much of our traffic comes from new games, and we get spikes as those come out. – Frank Sep 16 '15 at 18:49
  • @Frank - Question to Answer spread queries: 2013, 2014, 2015 – Travis J Sep 16 '15 at 19:07
  • @Frank - And also, as to questions, very relevant. The departure was not as great as you are making it out to be. The OP had a question on a particular build and another user came and made the question into a legitimate post. That is why when questions are first closed they are technically "on hold" while someone can edit them into a legitimate question. It does not always have to be the OP, and also the "departure" here is negligible. It went from how does this exact build type work, to how can I identify good builds of this type. Not a large change. – Travis J Sep 16 '15 at 19:10
  • We'll have to agree to disagree that the edit was acceptable. As for the SEDE queries, what you're missing is that it doesn't have deleted questions; less surviving questions doesn't mean we're getting less traffic. Just that we're getting less allowable questions. – Frank Sep 16 '15 at 19:13
  • @Frank - That includes deleted questions. And also, if closed or deleted questions were to be removed, it is merely a small offset, not a translation. Which is to say that taking deletions and closures into account merely makes the graph look a little smaller but still retains the overall shape shown. – Travis J Sep 16 '15 at 19:16

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