People, especially those who have learned English as a second language, express themselves differently. Does this site expect questions to fall into too narrow of a line of logic? Or are questions being required to be phrased just so?

I asked because I submitted an edit that did a lot of deductive reasoning for the one asking, but editing a question does little in the way of teaching them the language skills to actually ask a better question. That comes from a familiarity with the language and also a way of thinking geared towards a logical if/then mindset.

Given that this grouping of sites had its genesis from a computer programming perspective, does this close some people off to asking about the book of Genesis?

  • 5
    Please provide examples; without them it's hard to understand what you are suggesting. Oct 5 '16 at 13:53
  • @Nathaniel as an example christianity.stackexchange.com/posts/52967/revisions was a confusing question that needed entire phrases added in for clarity. I feel a little like someone who helped another cheat on an essay. Was a helpful service provided, or does the writer just have an excuse for being "lazy"?
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 19:19
  • Furthermore sometimes the users just don't seem to get the whole down voting mechanism. It is supposed to be used to say which threads contribute to dialogue, to discussion, to the flow of ideas. This question I've asked certainly has done that. It should never receive a down vote because I have contributed. What people may not like is I've asked a difficult question, or they simply don't like me. Using that as an excuse to down vote kills conversation and fosters a hive mind mentality.
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 21:24
  • I don't see a downvote on this question, but if it were to be downvoted, it's probably because it isn't (or wasn't) clear what you were getting at. Oct 5 '16 at 21:29
  • It should never receive a down vote because I have contributed. OK, please clarify this for me. (1) Your contributions are so good that you should not earn down votes, (2) your corrections should induce people to remove down votes, or (3) you feel you are being down voted due to it being you who is involved? Oct 5 '16 at 21:33
  • @KorvinStarmast sorry that I was unclear. No, relating solely to this question. If this question started out with an charge of +1 and then was negated down to 0, my comment was that because the question contributed to conversation. It wasn't closed, it wasn't edited, and therefore it was an acceptable question. Hypothetically, had it received a down vote--then that vote was cast in error. But yes, sometimes people down vote solely because they dislike the one posting.
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 22:01
  • @Nathaniel that would be a ridiculous qualifier. What's unclear to one person is perfectly clear to another. The more subjective rule of thumb is, does it contribute something to the site? If it can be lightly edited and the meaning teased out, then the answer is yes. If it is a throwaway question or needs a complete rewrite to be of any use then the answer has to be no.
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 22:06
  • At this point, because I've lost track of who wrote what (the threading is pitiable). But to say the least, everyone contributing is far more experienced than I, what I would ask of you all is: do you now feel a sense of relief that you don't have to edit as much? That is, with the frequency you once did or the zealousness.
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 22:08
  • 1
    --then that vote was cast in error That is incorrect. I have learned the hard way that SE voting is not that precise. SE voting works with a lot of votes show a trend or a general mass of the hive mind. Individual votes are not right or wrong. They are data, so when there are very few votes, it's like a statistical analysis with very few data points. Oct 5 '16 at 22:11
  • 3
    Check the tooltip that appears when you hover over the downvote button. For better or worse, the clarity of a question, however subjective, does matter. On meta, downvotes can also mean disagreement with a proposal or explanation, and it's always difficult to know what individuals intend to communicate with their votes, unless they comment (and commenting is not required). Oct 5 '16 at 22:11
  • @user31124 The amount of editing I do is based on (1) time available (2) how much a particular topic interests me (3) how much "help" I think and answer or a question needs. It's variable. Oct 5 '16 at 22:12
  • @KorvinStarmast so if there are fewer votes do they not each individually carry more weight to the system? We're not dealing with questions, or at least I am not, that will receive thousands or even a hundred votes in either direction or total. Each vote gets tallied at that point. Anyway, I guess the followup question was, while reddit far surpasses SE as a discussion medium the hive mentality there votes on a whim and often is devoid of logic. What am I signing up for here? lol
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 22:16
  • 2
    By design, a higher quality standard and a better signal to noise ratio. Oct 5 '16 at 22:17

You aren't helping someone cheat.

We (as a community) either continue to encourage editing to improve questions to meet SE quality standards, or we put more questions on hold, we close them, we delete them, or down vote them into oblivion due to being badly presented questions. What we should not do is allows degradation and entropy to happen over time ... death of a thousand cuts.

SE tries to get a favorable signal to noise ratio. Bad questions, or just badly written questions that are not clear, do not help set up good answers and thus do not support the favorable signal to noise ratio.

I don't mind editing. I typically put in a comment to ask the original author to make sure that their meaning was preserve, and invite them to edit further to make it better. That invites further improvement, and is a form of engaging with the original author.

Edit, Edit, Edit.

I forget if that's an SO/SE meme, or one of the blog entries for SE, but editing is generally helpful. You aren't helping someone cheat. You are helping everyone who comes here to understand the question, and understand its scope.

  • Sure, but the question originated from a mind that thought of it in certain parameters. Everything you wrote was good, and it was part of my dialogue with TRiG, but that's the followup question. What is the balance, is it better to close questions or to edit the life out of the original in hops that they "get it" at some point? I like the down voting idea... but I think ultimately it might tend to discourage a great deal of users instead of spurring them to resubmit until it hits the sweet spot.
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 20:56
  • 2
    @user31124. Is it better to close questions or to edit the life out of the original in hops that they "get it" at some point? Or just edit the questions to make them better. Perhaps the user will pick up on that and post better questions in future. Perhaps they won't. Either way, you're making the question better, and thus making the site better. Educating the user isn't the main reason for editing a question.
    – TRiG
    Oct 5 '16 at 20:59
  • 2
    @TRiG Educating the user isn't the main reason for editing a question. You said what I meant better than I did. Good play. Oct 5 '16 at 21:05
  • @TRiG shouldn't it be though? What is a site but a collection of users interacting & posting? If the object isn't to raise the weakest links up to the highest standards, then what is the point? The site takes no benefit from your proxy editing a question to supplant someone's voice. I would say it hugely benefits when users are taught how to ask and then can act independently. I would say educating the user should be the primary goal. If it wasn't then one could and should just snipe the question from them as they didn't meet site standards and you are already there. That would do it.
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 21:05
  • @user31124 I don't think it's either or, the point made about "what's the balance point" is well asked but hard to put a finger on. Patience is good. Oct 5 '16 at 21:08
  • @user31124 If you want to put in the effort to help a given user, do so. Each user will have differing levels of patience or knack for teaching, so I don't think there's a policy point here. Set the example you'd like to see followed. See who follows. Oct 5 '16 at 21:09
  • @KorvinStarmast that is, I suppose, how it must go. Though I find that a bit chaotic. If one editor has a heavy touch but high approval rating because the end result is a perfect question, and another editor coaxes the question asker along, then a third doesn't edit but downvotes and a fourth closes the question, who winds up the winner? It wouldn't appear to be the site there because there's no one unifying policy. In some of the scenarios it is the user, but it seems there would be chaos because editing, by that admission, is a purely subjective art.
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 21:18
  • @user31124 Not sure what you do IRL, but I have found that editing is as much an art as anything else. (Glad I don't to it much anymore) We are all volunteers here, we are not a borg, and we each have different gifts. Hmm, I am sure there is some scripture about that, each of us with differing gifts ... ;-) ) Oct 5 '16 at 21:22
  • @KorvinStarmast well put regarding differing gifts. But for a site which requires questions meet a certain grade and fit a certain criteria it behooves the site to have the same stringent protocols for editing otherwise the chaos that could be had by poor questions will certainly be realized by poor editing.
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 21:28
  • 1
    @user31124 I appreciate your instinct for high quality. Seriously. We are at the mercy of who has how much time to devote. I've been in organizations whose performance varied by who showed up, and where quality significantly changed (in both directions) as people changed. I don't think we can avoid that since humans are involved. Oct 5 '16 at 21:30

Questions should be clear and understandable. Sometimes this requires editing. A light touch is preferred if possible, but occasionally a complete rewrite is required.

  • That would automatically be my policy since I've been involved in sites that largely took away, via the community interaction, a user's unique way of expressing themselves. The portion that worries me is the complete rewrite. I'd wonder, if only for their own sake, the user wouldn't be better off having been rejected until they "get it". But then there's the risk of driving them away from the site in frustration. I guess it boils down to, do they care to form a better question? Do they care about language arts?
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 19:06
  • 1
    This particular user has a habit of interesting but poorly worded questions, on BH, BH, Skeptics, and Mi Yodeya.
    – TRiG
    Oct 5 '16 at 19:21
  • So what then? Are they to be sanctioned? Is it their mental faculties or are they actively flouting community standards?
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 20:52
  • 1
    @user31124 Or, they are slow to pick up on and adapt to this SE's norms. (IIRC, either David or Nathaniel has said it took about a year to get the feel for CSE. I had to work my way into it. Lee and I had a comment grump fest early in my participation, and it helped me see that I needed to adapt. Oct 5 '16 at 21:06
  • @KorvinStarmast well I appreciate your contribution and others. I was feeling out what I should expect because as you said in the above comments editors can unfortunately wind up working cross purposes, against each other, undoing the other's efforts. So if it took a year then I best settle in for the long haul. Good to know!
    – user31124
    Oct 5 '16 at 22:21
  • @user31124 Hang in there. I think it's worth it. :) Oct 6 '16 at 0:38
  • @KorvinStarmast thank you, with G-d's grace, I'll survive; As far as IRL , as well as here, lol. On another note, is there a way to open a chat for a particular edit? I was rejected on an edit and the reason was 2 to 1 against, but actually 2 to 2 since I obviously was in favor of the edit. I think the OP, if available, should be the deciding factor. The reason that was obscurely given was that I changed the meaning of the question somehow, which I assuredly did not. I just would like a little more feedback, hearing what assumptions they made, where they thought improvement necessary.
    – user31124
    Oct 6 '16 at 2:33
  • @user31124 I am not sure how that works. Curiosdannii might. Oct 6 '16 at 2:39
  • @KorvinStarmast thank you much. Appreciate the suggestion. I went back and tagged the other user on that thread that rejected. That had more points, lol. But either would be invaluable, since I honestly thought I had in no way changed the meaning, just added some clarity. It was rejected for seeking pastoral advice, which to me, the OP was not soliciting that. Ah well.
    – user31124
    Oct 6 '16 at 2:49

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