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This post is basically to share something I came across on Meta Unix & Linux. Kusalananda♦, a moderator there, posted Editing questions recently put on hold (don't). The gist is something that I don't think is common knowledge, and it would be beneficial to apply the same logic here.

It is common knowledge that editing an on-hold post automatically bumps it into the Reopen review queue. But there are two factors that may not be common knowledge:

  • That only happens within the first five days of closure.
  • It only happens once.

There are a number of implications.

  1. The five day limitation means that you can time your minor edits on closed posts so they don't unnecessarily force wasteful reviews. If you want to do tag cleanup or make minor English or formatting fixes that don't address the closure issue, wait until after the five days.

  2. If you edit and fix the closure issue on a question closed more than five days, you need to also vote to reopen to get it into the queue.

  3. The bumping happening only once was the impetus for Kusalananda♦'s post. If you edit the recently closed post to do minor polish that doesn't solve the closure issue, that bumps it to the Reopen review queue where it will waste a bunch of reviewers' time and won't result in it being reopened. But that also uses up the question's one shot at the review queue.

    Then, when the OP or another user actually fixes the post, that will not bump it into the review queue. Neither will voting to reopen the question. The post will remain closed and potentially be deleted, even though it's been turned into an acceptable question. The only way to get it reopened is to take external action, like recruiting reopen voters or calling attention to it with a question on the Meta SU site.

  4. If you are going to fix a recently closed question, make sure you fix every issue. Questions often have multiple problems and just one may be stated as the close reason. Review the question to identify everything that is a potential close reason, and address them all. Otherwise, you might fix only one of the problems and the question will not be reopened due to the remaining problems. That puts it right back at point #3.

Bottom line: if a question is recently closed, do not edit it until after the five days unless the edit will solve all closure issues.

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    Every edit should fix all issues (just not limited to edits to closed questions), when it’s possible, I agree with everything you suggest. I just fear there is a vocal minority that will approve any edit that makes an effort to improve a question.. – Ramhound Apr 20 at 14:00
  • @Ramhound It's not just the vocal minority. Too many people see minor edits as "helpful", not realizing they're kicking things back into the Reopen Queue by doing so – Machavity May 1 at 15:21
  • @Machavity - Honestly, I was just being politically correct, by saying it that way. – Ramhound May 1 at 15:22
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    There are some additional required criteria for the post to be put in the reopen queue as a result of an edit which you don't mention. Those criteria are stated by Shog9 here. Specifically, the edit must be to the body of the post. Edits which are just tag edits and/or edits to the title do not move the post to the reopen queue. In addition, if the editor has voted to close, or flagged the post, then the edit does not put the post in the reopen queue. – Makyen May 2 at 1:26
  • @Makyen, thanks. Yeah, I didn't get that nuanced; it's actually a little more complicated than the points I described. For that matter, it's probably been tweaked even a little more in the almost 6 yrs since Shog9 wrote that. :-) – fixer1234 May 2 at 1:39
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Don't forget the Suggested Edit queue here. A minor edit might be made before the question was closed, and get approved afterward. If you see a question is closed, and it has a suggested edit, reject it with the No Improvement reason if it fails to address the reason the question was closed.

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    If you use SOX (and why would anyone use SE without it, it adds too many useful features to count), there is an option to show a question's closure status in the Edit Review queue for exactly that reason. That saves a lot of accidental approvals if an edit looks like an improvement and you forget to open the question in another tab for context. – fixer1234 May 1 at 15:55
  • Rejecting the suggested edit with the "no improvement" reason is what I normally do when reviewing edits in the same situation. – karel May 27 at 10:06
  • When I have access to add-ons like Grammarly I typically just improved the suggested edit myself. Saves me the hassle from trying to explain the reason, an incomplete edit suggestion was rejected on this website, and trying to explain the reason incomplete edits are not actually helpful and often do more harm than good. – Ramhound Aug 2 at 14:54

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