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I imagine this question has been asked before, but probably with different wording, which I was unable to find either here or on SE Meta, so if it turns out to be a duplicate, please let me know with a link - and feel free to vote to close.

Often times I'll see a question that is just too broad, too vague, or almost completely off of our scope. Yet, I can still see the potential in it to be a good question. In such cases, I'll downvote/vote to close according to the situation at hand, but try to at least comment on the question, asking OP for improvements. A lot of the times I am unable to understand what OP really wanted, so that's as far as I can go, but sometimes I can infer what they meant to ask - or how to ask it in such a way as to make it a fitting question.

In the latter, I'm divided between editing a poorly-written question so it's more fitting, asking OP to fix it themselves in the comments, or just dealing with it exclusively via voting. In cases where the question is fit and good, but just badly formatted or with poor wording, then I don't second guess it and edit it to the best of my abilities. But in those grey areas, I don't know if it's up to us to make a good question out of a question that would otherwise be deleted/close.

My question then boils down to: Should we edit broad/unfit questions to salvage them, address the issue to OP, or let it be deleted/closed?

Footnote: I often search through the help center, FAQs, meta and related posts before I try to meddle with other people's questions/answers, so if anyone has further resources and guidelines I can follow, that'd be very much appreciated.

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    Similar question with 3 expert answers: interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1886/… – English Student Feb 23 '18 at 16:15
  • Thanks for the link! By my own searches I did not find that question, so I appreciate the new resource :) – HugoBDesigner Feb 23 '18 at 16:22
  • You are most welcome @HugoBDesigner. Those 3 answers give a comprehensive assessment covering multiple aspects on the question of 'whether to edit or wait for OP.' – English Student Feb 23 '18 at 16:47
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Should we edit broad/unfit questions to salvage them, address the issue to OP, or let it be deleted/closed?

This depends entirely on the situation, and will probably always be a grey area. It's been said that giving it a quick edit might help hold the attention of an OP, so if it's a minor fix, you can always try. A good example for this would be a question asking 2 things, and one being primarily opinion based. In such cases, feel free to edit out the primarily opinion based thing, as long as you don't forget to explain this properly to the OP (edit message/comment).

For those cases that really need more detail or input from the OP on what they actually want to do (XY problems for example, or 'should I' questions, or the ones lacking a goal) an edit won't be of much help. If it's closed and the OP seems to have abandoned it, there's not much we can do but eventually delete it.

Don't go editing closed questions to improve grammar/spelling, they have only one chance to pop up again in the review queue after being closed and edited.

Commenting is always good. If you see something you want to be clarified, or something that can be improved but you're not sure if that's what the OP wants, feel free to leave a comment.

If the OP is responding to comments but not editing it into the post - feel free to edit the information in and leave a comment to say, "I made some edits to your post, feel free to further edit or rollback if I was off base. Thanks!" Some users don't really "get' editing and how important it is here so it helps to nudge gently. Just don't write anything that is completely off base or indeducible from the OPs words.

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  • Thank you, that answers my questions exactly! – HugoBDesigner Feb 22 '18 at 13:15
  • I agree with this but also wanted to add that if the OP is responding to comments but not editing it into the post - I've taken to making edits I feel necessary from their "new" info in the comments (and even sometimes making 'assumptions' to better phrase their questions) and then leaving a comment to say, "I made some edits to your post, feel free to further edit or rollback if I was off base. Thanks!" Some users don't really "get' editing and how important it is here so it helps to nudge gently. Just don't write anything that is completely off base or indeducible from the OPs words. – Jess K. Feb 22 '18 at 22:16
  • @JessK good point. Put that in the answer as well :) – Tinkeringbell Feb 23 '18 at 9:28
  • Very fair points, I'm taking those into consideration now as well, thanks :) – HugoBDesigner Feb 23 '18 at 16:24
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Small fixes should be ok, but beware. What we don't want to have happen is that the question gets changed, receives a couple of answers, only to then have the OP return and disagree with the edit. The OP has the right to roll such edits back, invalidating the answers on the question.

Edits should respect the intent of the OP, so in general it is better to wait for the OP to respond. An exception could be made if the required edits are very minor.

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