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Here's the typical lifespan for a bad question:

  1. A User posts the question.
  2. People either see it on the front page, say "Ooh, new question!" and read it, or else they see it pop up on Lazers and read it.
  3. They discover it has some problems, and vote to close it. Often they post in chat asking for a few more VTC votes so it can be closed quickly.
  4. User edits question in hopes that it gets reopened.
  5. Unless they come talk about it in chat or specifically pings in the comments a user who then brings it up in chat, maybe it gets reopened, or maybe it gets forgotten.

That's where it gets a little weird. If the user immediately revises their question, often the question still has enough attention in chat that it gets discussed and gets some reopen votes. But if they don't revise it for a few hours, or even a day or two, it often won't receive the attention it needs to get reopen votes. Getting briefly bumped to the top of the front page doesn't work very well because people are less likely to read a question that they've already looked at once, it may get quickly buried by other questions, and it also pretty much relies on someone who does actually read it to bring up in chat that the question deserves reopen votes.

My request is to have Lazers add questions that have been closed but edited to its feed. This would help ensure that when a user revises his question in the hopes of getting it reopened that it gets enough attention for that to happen.

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    I approve of your approach to tagging. – fredley Jun 7 '12 at 14:44
  • What about particularly bad questions that are closed, then require multiple edits before they become good? Would these appear in the feed after each successive edit? – raveturned Jun 7 '12 at 15:03
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    I'd hope they'd only appear once per feed cycle. So if it got edited 5 times between Lazers spewing into chat, you'd see it appear once, not 5 times. But if it got edited twice, 2 hours apart, you'd see it in there twice. Yes, it could get annoying if someone actively tries to be a pest and edits once after every feed cycle. But problem users can do other annoying things, too. – Sterno Jun 7 '12 at 15:04
  • Ah OK, I was not aware of how Lazers' feed works. It looks like the feed cycle is every 30 mins, is that correct? Seems reasonable. – raveturned Jun 7 '12 at 15:11
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    Lazers is (I believe) just a conglomeration of RSS feeds. I don't believe there is a RSS feed for "closed but edited" questions. For instance, this is the SE feed that drives Lazers: stackexchange.com/feeds/tagsets/33804/… – agent86 Jun 7 '12 at 15:27
  • @agent86 So let's get a feed for it! – Sterno Jun 7 '12 at 15:37
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    @Sterno, I'm pretty sure there's not that much flexibility in the SE feed system to allow for what you want, and I also don't know that it would be easy to do via the API, although I haven't thought on this extensively. You'd probably have to convince a SE dev that this was feasible and worthy of their time. – agent86 Jun 7 '12 at 15:40
  • @agent86 Is there a way I should go about doing that other than a feature-request? – Sterno Jun 7 '12 at 17:13
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    @Sterno, I don't think so, I think you're probably doing all that can be done. Just wanted you to know that although we control the bridge feeds (badp does most of this work), this isn't really something we (as the room owners) have much ability to change. – agent86 Jun 7 '12 at 17:26
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I need to agree with @agent86 that I'm not certain if this kind of thing will be possible without the intervention of the SE dev team. That said, if it was implemented, I have a few suggestions.

If something like this was to be implemented then I think we should create a separate bot to handle it than lazers, for two reasons:

  • Users can ignore the additional feed if they want to, without needing to ignore lazers (For users <3k rep it would just be noise)

  • So the edited questions are more distinguishable from the new questions.

Additionally, I think a few more criteria should be added to when it posts a question to avoid posting questions which were edited for reasons other than to make them worthy of being re-opened:

  • Don't post if the question was closed a duplicate.

    If a question was edited after being closed as a dup chances are it was just to improve grammar, wording, et cetera, and not so it can be re-opened.

  • Don't post closed questions where the only edit was a tag, or, if this isn't possible don't post questions when it's older than a week and was edited by someone other than the original poster.

    Questions which were just re-tagged are not going to be re-opened, and are just part of a tag clean-up. So posting them as part of a feed would just be noise.

    If it's not possible to check if the only edit to a question was a tag, then I believe only posting week old closed questions if they were edited by the original poster would accomplish the same thing. Chances are anyone other than the OP editing an old now closed question is just fixing tags. If they're not just fixing tags, and are trying to salvage the question, I find it likely that they would post the question in chat / ping the closers so the edits are noticed.

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