Ok, so we have people new to programming, poor English speakers, and sometimes their intersection asking questions here. Their questions aren't always the best, but sometimes there is an opportunity to throw their question on our back and carry it over from no-man's land into a place where it can get help and contribute to the value of the site.
My model of question quality
I view question quality on a continuum. Some place between marginal and closable, I think, "man, this one's not worth it," and vote to close.
<------------|--------------->--------------->----------------> closable marginal better high-quality
However, if we can get questions from close-worthy to marginal, we can sometimes then continue improving them in terms of quality.
I've seen this myself, where I'm not sure what the overall question is, but I'm able to fix utterly atrocious spelling and grammar, and then someone else realizes exactly what they're asking and straightens the question out into that. But I don't think the second edit would happen without the first.
Once we get questions over the revulsion hump, we can write good answers that are solidly on-topic for the site. If the question is still marginal, but has strong on-topic answers, that's a sign that we should improve the question to eliminate the problematic part.
My approach to editing
I sometimes find such an opportunity to salvage the impossible, and this week I was able to do it again. Here's my approach to fixing the apparently unfixable:
Redact meta-info like:
- My English not so good. I'm from a non-English-speaking country. (Don't forget to fix the spelling and grammar problems if you can.)
- I'm a noob to the programming language, computers in general, or some particular aspect of OOP or software architecture.
- Other hand-wringing, mitigating personal details.
- thanks, and Here's my name (We already know to delete this, right?!)
Redact or modify parts that will get the question closed:
- Requests for resources.
- Requests for a finished product, debugging, or opinions.
- Requests for aspects that make the question off-topic.
- Turn a "do this for me" into a "how do I" ?
- Turn a request for thoughts into a "what's important about X?"
- Cut down questions that ask too much into a manageable amount.
The bottom line is that the asker doesn't own the site's presented state of the content they provide, the site does*. If they are uncooperative with a post-saving mega-revision, (i.e. rolling back your edits) then absolutely let them have their way and vote to close/delete the question. But they are noobs to the site, and chances are they're afraid to click anything, and don't have the slightest clue that you have an edit pending or how to approve it.
We can ask them to try to figure out how to approve a post-saving revision, but reviewers of such a revision should fast-track it - not protest that it changes too much and force the noob asker to approve their own rescue. After all, the asker can always roll it back to close-worthy.
Celebrate, mission accomplished.
I was a little stoked at my recent success, and made a Success Kid meme pic to celebrate. I think it would be cool to see more of these:
It was the question that was at +2, if I recall correctly.
* As content is under CC-BY-SA, they do own their content, but the site owns the presentation, and has the irrevocable right to post and adapt the content so long as it follows the terms of CC-BY-SA - such as attribution, notice of edits, same license...