We sometimes get questions like online printers, which is incredibly likely to get closed as Not Constructive (if not just a duplicate). Is it better to:

  1. Vote to close and move on
  2. Vote down and comment on how the question could be improved, and vote to close if the original asker (usually a new user) doesn't correct the issues.
  3. Edit the question to be a better fit for the site, even if it changes the intent of the question.

I know we don't want to significantly change the meaning of questions that do fit the site, but what about ones which are destined for the dustbin otherwise?


2 Answers 2


Rules I follow:

  • If an edit can be made that takes me under 2mins to do, that does not change the intent of the question I do this first.
  • If the question is a clearly not constructive, don't make any edits and vote to close
  • If the question is borderline constructive but you need input from the question asker to get it on topic, comment as such.

I do not think the site will benefit from significantly modifying the intent of questions. Reasons:

  • I think this will confuse our new users and may turn them off to the site even more then closing a question as not constructive.
  • It will fill the site with unnecessary clutter as no one really had the question if we are changing the intent.
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I strongly agree with this. Often if a question is salvageable, it shouldn't take a whole lot of work to do it. This is because either the question is too far out of line to be on topic or would require substantial change to meaning to get it on topic. Generally, the ones that can be fixed are close, but don't really know enough about what they are asking to know what they want to ask for, or they simply don't ask it very clearly. As long as the core of the question can be understood and is on topic, it can usually be cleanly rephrased pretty easily. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Mar 18, 2013 at 20:53

I think give the author of the question a chance to improve it. Many of them never seem to return to respond to comments. If that's the case, no point improving a question for someone who's not bothered to return to the site. If they are responsive, then help them narrow the question to something answerable. Especially if there's a good related answer, ask them to review that answer and then ask something more specific

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree on this and it's alos worth noting that you should give someone time to change their question. Many new users will wait a day or longer before coming back to see if anything has happened so downvoting and closing the question within five minutes doesn't help. \$\endgroup\$
    – user9817
    Mar 26, 2013 at 15:02

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