A question was recently posted on Programmers.SE about Why IDEs don't support Unicode characters in code?. The author wrongly asserts that "no IDE supports" unicode, and the question is written in a way that it has chances to be downvoted (and has already one downvote) and closed.

On the other hand, the question can be reformulated into a form which will be actually useful to the community; something like:

What are the things to check when my IDE fails to support unicode in code?

I use [name of the IDE], but am unable to use unicode characters like æ, represented by U+00E6 in unicode table.
Is this behavior the same in other IDEs? What can I do to make it work in [name of the IDE]?

In fact, we don't care about about the wrong assertions of the author, neither by the fact that the IDE she/he uses does not support it, but the situation where the text editor must support unicode, but doesn't can exist and affect other developers (see my answer about fonts or underlying file encoding).

So is it a good idea to just rewrite from scratch the question, or it's somehow abusive to change the question so heavily, and I must let it as is, awaiting for it to be closed?

  • 1
    Programmers ought to want to be better coders and writers. If they cannot learn how to write better question through the school of hard knocks, they will likely have even more painful episodes at work.
    – Job
    Aug 31, 2011 at 15:31

2 Answers 2


If it's going to invalidate the answers, which it looks like your rewrite will do, you'll want to ask a separate question. We're not short on question IDs: if a question is bad and the answers are useless, we can just close the question out and you can ask a new one.

If you think a question needs to be closed faster than the community can do it for whatever reason, flag it for a moderator and we'll take a look at it. I tend to agree with the non-constructiveness of this question.


In addition to what Mark said, if you catch a question like that before it gathers answers, definitely feel free to rewrite it into a better form.

If there are only a couple short answers, it's also possible to get their authors to update (or delete) them by posting a comment along the lines of "The question was edited. Can you update your answer please? Thanks."

  • Has there ever been a discussion about sending a notification to those who answered a question whenever it is updated? Jan 4, 2012 at 16:38
  • @MikePartridge I'm not sure off the top of my head. I'll have to do some searching later tonight.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jan 4, 2012 at 18:06

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