Should questions that are closed for being off-topic be edited for formatting, grammar, retagging, or other issues that don't resolve the reason the question was closed?
Is this a valid reason for rejecting suggested edits?
The argument against these edits is that they have several negative consequences:
- In many cases, it causes the question to be pushed into the reopen review queue. The edit didn't help resolve the issue that caused the question to be closed as off-topic. So, this creates unnecessary work for reviewers (since the question doesn't really need a review for reopening at this point). Having unnecessary reviews in the queue can decrease users' motivation to help out with reviews.
Users can only vote once in each direction (close, reopen) on any question. It's not clear to me whether "Leave Closed" votes in the reopen review queue count as voting once in the close direction. If it does, this means that by unnecessarily reviewing a question following edits that don't resolve the reason for closure, users are prevented from voting to close this question again if it becomes necessary. Given that we currently have fewer than 50 active users who can cast these votes, this is a cause for concern.
- If the user proposing the edit does not have enough reputation to apply edits unilaterally, then it will go into the suggested edits review queue. This is also demoralizing to reviewers, for the same reason; it's a waste of effort for questions that are going to be deleted, anyways.
- Edits bump these posts to the front page. If the edit makes the question a candidate for reopening, that's a good thing. But if not, it looks bad to have many closed off-topic questions on the front page; I'd rather not bump these if we can avoid it.
The argument in favor of these edits is that they may turn out to be useful if the question is also, separately, edited to make it on-topic, and it is then reopened. However, it seems to me that it might be preferable to do these formatting, grammar, or other edits only after the issue that led to the closure has been resolved.
I am especially thinking of edits to posts that are not likely to be reopened because they are shopping questions or one of the other off topic questions listed in the help center. For example,
- this suggested edit of a shopping question
- this suggested edit to a shopping question
- this suggested edit to a "Choose a university for me" question
- this edit of a programming question
(Not suggesting that users who made these edits were doing anything wrong, since until now we have not had a site policy on the matter.)