# Editing closed/on-hold questions

I'm allergic to a number of things:

• Bad titles ("please review my code"), tags in title
• Wrong tags being used
• Typos and grammar issues

Is it ok to edit questions for these reasons?

When wouldn't it be appropriate to edit a question, and why?

• Isn't this what Jamal does all the time? – Simon Forsberg Jul 3 '15 at 9:20

## 2 Answers

It's perfectly ok to edit questions for these reasons, but there may be a time when it's not appropriate to edit a question at all, regardless of the reason.

When we edit a question, we're actually making the container more attractive for reviewers to come and look at the content, so that the post gets the attention it deserves - regardless of its age: it's perfectly fine to edit old posts, there's even a number of badges for that.

However, if you come across a question that's off-topic, and still open, vote to close - don't edit it.

If you come across a question that's already closed or on hold, don't edit it either.

Why? I can think of 2 simple reasons:

1. Because a question that's off-topic is likely in the process of being put on hold, and you never know if your edit will go through before the process has completed. If the site isn't very active at that time, a moderator may close a blatantly off-topic question single-handedly, so it's not because an off-topic question hasn't received any close votes yet, that it's "safe" to edit.

2. Any edit on a closed or on-hold question will automatically take it into the reopen review queue. Sending an off-topic question into the reopen queue with a new title and/or new tags and/or fixed typos and a better grammar is a waste of 5 users' time.

When a question gets put on hold, editing it becomes the sole responsibility of the author of the question, and when they do, their post enters a review queue for the community to vote to reopen the question as they see fit. Please avoid editing closed or on-hold questions.

When a question is off-topic, it's not the container that's problematic, it's the content.

Just back away slowly. Off-topic questions that don't get fixed and reopened can be downvoted, and the system will automatically delete them after a little while. It's just not worth the effort.

• Would you then say that tag edits (for burnination purposes) on closed questions should only be done by users with editing privileges? Regarding the reopen queue, I think the one workaround would be for a mod to temporarily reopen a question before removing a tag. – Jamal Jul 3 '15 at 2:46
• @Jamal if a tag edit is suggested on a closed question, then it would be up to the suggested edits queue reviewers to reject the edit with a custom reason mentioning that editing a closed question is the OP's business. ...right? – Mathieu Guindon Jul 3 '15 at 2:51
• "When a question gets put on hold, editing it becomes the sole responsibility of the author of the question", this isn't always entirely true. It's probably true most of the time on Code Review, but it's not always true. For example, a question for which the "plain-English" part was posted in a non-English language should be put on hold, but if it's somehow clear (comments, chat, whatever) that the asker knows English, it should be okay for anyone capable to translate the post in an edit (which would make it ready to reopen). Just an example case for CR. – nhgrif Jul 4 '15 at 13:55

Don't edit questions that are on hold or closed.

A question is put on hold when there is a problem with its content, as judged by 5 users or a moderator.

An edit will bump the question to the reopen queue (a particularly hard one to handle well). It generates extra work for the brave souls monitoring the queues.

When there is a problem with the content of a question, only the OP can fix that. Even if you think you can fix it for him, you probably shouldn't.

The kind of edits you gave as examples in your question are never OK for questions on hold or closed, as they cannot fix the content.

• Basically the same comment I left on Mat'sMug's post. Your bolded title deserves an asterisk. "...unless you can edit it into an on-topic question." Which, admittedly, on Code Review, is a mostly hard proposition. – nhgrif Jul 4 '15 at 13:56
• There are exceptions to most rules. To be able to edit something into an on-topic question, you kinda have to be a mind reader. In any case, even if the bolded title became a policy, there will always be users who think they found an exception to the rule and go ahead with an edit. It's still good to have a huge warning sign as deterrent. – janos Jul 4 '15 at 16:08
• That's why I specified it deserves an asterisk. You don't always have to be a mind-reader (in most cases on Code Review in specific, maybe you do). But there are certainly times when you can edit a question into being on-topic here, and that deserves a mention if we're answering when to and not to edit on-hold questions. – nhgrif Jul 4 '15 at 16:13