Reviewing proposed edits I've found this one:

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I've rejected it as "no improvement whatsoever", but also the question seemed poor quality and I've opened that too. It's closed as too broad, so it shouldn't have been edited just to make it a bit more beautiful.

Should users with low reputation also restricted from editing closed questions (of course everybody should be able to edit his own question)?


I've just realized I've written "old questions" in the last sentence, I've thought "closed questions" as in the title (sorry from them who commented on my request for old questions!).

In addition to my first thoughts; I regularly check reopen votes, they're quite rare, generally done by the question's author, sometimes by somebody else, but I still think that substantially improving a closed question is a tough job if you aren't its author, and quite unlikely a new user will do it.

  • 3
    eh. Looks a lot like he's searching for specific mispellings and correcting them and other errors. A good chunk of his edits seem fine
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 14:37
  • @JourneymanGeek: I've rejected many of his proposals as not improvement. Even if he make true corrections I don't expect new users to correct only a few typos per post and spend others' time too. Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 14:42
  • 6
    @MátéJuhász Please don't complain. That's how a lot of new users get their early rep. As long as their edits are complete (fix everything) it's OK.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 16:02
  • @MátéJuhász In this case it should have been rejected/improved because he missed 2 misspellings of environment. You can of course choose to improve edits ...
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 16:05
  • @David: yes, I know:), and also I improve edits when the question make sense, however I can't agree with "improvement" of non salvageable questions. Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 16:46
  • 1
    @MátéJuhász - The questions are not salvageable in your opionion. Which means if you believe the edits do not improve the question, then the proposed edits should be rejected, but users should be able to propose edits to questions regardless of their reputation. At least until their suggestions are rejected by the community to many times. One of the few ways of getting reputation, outside of answering questions or asking questions yourself, is to propose edits to existing answers and questions. If the content cannot be improved vote to delete/close and move on to the next answer/qustion
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 18:02
  • @MátéJuhász, if the question is already closed/on-hold, no edit should be approved that doesn't solve the close issue. That just creates needless work for re-open reviewers. If the question's still open, it's a judgement call. Edits that make a question more answerable, or even generally improve its quality, I usually approve unless they cherry-pick a few problems and leave the post still needing major work. If it's an old, low value question, I weigh the utility of spell-correcting a word in a dead, useless question vs. bumping it and having it steal oxygen from current questions.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 23:17
  • I'm not sure a rep threshold is the answer. A high rep user just did spelling cleanup on your example without thinking about the fact that it was a closed question. I've also run into the situation of reviewing a new-user edit of a closed question. The closed status doesn't appear in the edit review window. They will do an obviously incomplete fix of spelling/grammar and I click Improve Edit to finish the cleanup without checking the original post for status or reading the question for context to realize that it should be closed. (cont'd)
    – fixer1234
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 19:57
  • 2
    A better solution to this problem might be a pop-up warning on clicking Edit or Improve Edit on a closed/on-hold question explaining that the edit needs to fix the hold issue. That would educate new users and alert experienced users who might not be paying enough attention.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 19:59
  • @fixer1234 you're right, that would also help. Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 3:23
  • Related: Should we edit old, non-interesting questions?. This question kind of takes the opposite stance of the top voted answer on that question: If the question's grammar is a shambles, please rewrite the text so that the actual question is understandable. If there are small capitalization or English syntax errors, please fix them; it really doesn't take too long once you get a little practice. Hopefully this gets a clear answer so a reliable precedent is set...
    – jrh
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 13:52
  • @jrh - that's about open question. You can really improve them that way. However for closed questions this "light edit" won't be enough to make them on-topic. Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 17:20

2 Answers 2


I'm going to go out on a limb and say a restriction of this type would be a bad thing.

Keep on rejecting edits that aren't good edits, per editing guidelines, but not allowing new users to edit a question that is closed could lead to not allowing a user to edit a question that they found via search, but was abandoned the first time, leading to a collective didn't you SEARCH?!?!

  • Sorry, I don't understand your point:( "leading to a collective didn't you SEARCH?!?!" what do you mean with it? Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 14:45
  • 1
    Just that sometimes the community berates newbies that don't search before asking questions, and a search might come up with a closed question that could be salvageable. I'm explaining this poorly. Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 15:21
  • "come up with a closed question that could be salvageable" - as I've written in my question I think improving closed questions is a difficult activity and don't think that new users would have enough experience for that. Nevertheless they tend to edit / answer old questions they find to ask for clarification. I think if some of them would find a question similar to his one the most he would edit in it would be to state he has similar problem and please ask. (but again, we're speaking about closed questions, they're either off topic or low quality (or both), ... Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 16:17
  • ... I don't really think new users would find them and want them to improve.) Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 16:17
  • 1
    Fair enough, as evidenced by the score - others agree! Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 18:05

I whole-heartedly agree with Raystafarian's answer, but I have another point of view to add.

"Having low reputation" is not the same as "being new to Stack Exchange".

For instance, I have been using Stack Overflow for years, read tons of questions, and have read various variants (official or endorsed) "how to ask a good SO question" several times. And yet, only a couple of days ago I got above 15 reputation threshold, since almost every question I could potentially ask has already been asked before, the ones I could ask are so specific practically nobody cares, and every question I could potentially answer is either: asking about something completely esoteric and/or in technology I have hardly heard of, or answered within minutes by 10k+ users.

Sometimes, very rarely, I find I could contribute to discussion by placing a comment, but I have no way of doing this, and I have no way of gaining enough reputation.

(Plus there are things like 40-minute cooldown on posting until you have 125+ reputation.)

I love the idea of StackExchange, but it really makes me feel like a pariah sometimes.

Therefore, I am opposed to putting even more barriers to prevent low-rep users from proving themselves. Every edit should be judged on its own.

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