As a community, where do we want to draw the line between editing old off-topic closed questions and changing them completely? This recently edited question has received many comments (well, a few comments with many upvotes) that the edit was over the top. I think I do agree, because while the theme of the question is the same, the question has completely changed (and not only by being more constructive). In particular, the answers given (and upvoted) already some months ago are now completely irrelevant to the question.

So, what do you think should happen to this sort of questions? (meaning: questions closed, with existing non-trivial answers, who cannot be salvaged by minor edit or simple removal of subjectivity)

  1. No edit, delete
  2. No edit, delete, ask the improved question as a new question
  3. Invasive edit, delete all answers (and all comments, which was actually done)

In my opinion, option #2 has the best benefits: it increases the value for our site by adding a good question, and does not create an unclear situation with mismatched question/answers/comments. Also, it properly attributes the good question to its rightful author (though it probably is a minor point).

  • Also, who gets the increase (or decrease) in reputation for the upvotes (or downvotes) of the edited question? Is it the original poster or the editor? Oct 27 '12 at 13:16
  • 1
    The following link is relevant: meta.academia.stackexchange.com/a/251/64 Oct 27 '12 at 13:19
  • @JoelReyesNoche - The OP gets the rep, not the editor.
    – eykanal Mod
    Oct 28 '12 at 0:53

I am not moved by the fact that the original question should have been deleted (eventually). That is the proper fate for it. If we are concerned for Ran G's rep just wait sixty days before killing it; but that period has already elapsed, so we've even good that way.

On the other hand, I think the rule that edits should not make large changes to the meaning of other peoples posts or to any question that already has developed and upvoted answers should be a bright line.

Please, delete the offending questions and ask the new question separately.


For the question involved, the question was changed, the comments were deleted because they "were no longer relevant," and the people who gave answers to the original question were asked if they wanted to revise their answers. In short, the old question and comments were, in effect, deleted, and the old answers needed to be updated. You might as well make a new question.

For the question involved, I recommend option number 4: No edit, (no delete), ask the improved version as a new question.

  • 2
    Of note: deletion policy was discussed here previously… the general SE policy is that most closed questions should end up edited/reopened, or deleted (the notable exception being duplicates)
    – F'x
    Oct 27 '12 at 13:26
  • 3
    If this general SE policy is to be followed here then I would recommend option 2 in this case. Oct 27 '12 at 13:27
  • 1
    This answer, plus @Joel's comment above, makes sense to me. I imagine that would probably follow option 2 if something like this came up again, but given that each case has to be judged individually, that doesn't really mean much.
    – eykanal Mod
    Oct 28 '12 at 0:58
  • 1
    As the editor of the comment, perhaps I did go too far in my edits. However, the old question would have been subject to deletion. We can always try to "roll back" the changes, but then we're left with a question to be deleted. However, I'm not exactly looking for the reputation; I wanted to improve the question. Changing the author changes the "benefits" formula. So I don't know what the best answer here is.
    – aeismail
    Oct 28 '12 at 2:08

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