Some of us are avid editors and try to improve with friendly edits any post that needs improvement. For higher rep users this seems like the default behaviour, as it is just a good thing.

Well is it? Always?

What are reasons not to edit a post that looks like in need of improvement, especially for questions that were recently "put on-hold" or "closed"?

1 Answer 1



One problem that many are not aware of is the behaviour of the re-open queue.

There is an inherent SE-design problem with our desire to edit posts into shape and our behaviour in trying to ensure this with fast and numerous small friendly edits.

Please do not edit questions that have recently been put "on hold"
—— with minor edits that do not attempt to address the "on hold" reason as well.

In other words: "If its recently been put on hold, only edit to attempt to alleviate the problems that got it put on hold".

If you do edit within the first five days it will enter automatically the "re-open" of the review queue.

If your edit is simply a correction of grammatical errors or a correction of the question's markup, without addressing the real reason for the "on hold" of the question, then this is the case:

  • the question will very likely not be reopened from review
  • when the original author fixes whatever the actual issue is with the question, it will not be put back into the review queue
  • as a consequence, the user will be denied the opportunity to have their question automatically pushed into the reopen review queue.

When a question is put on hold, it is not necessary to change it, especially not just to delete a few lines of "Thank you" or "I am a Noob", or to correct the markup or spelling (unless it helped to put the question on hold, which would be sad).

All the above does not apply for really fast edits — before it gets "on hold" status.

If you think you can really improve the status of the question so that it is worth reopening, edit it in any case and then vote for reopening.

If you are editing messages, and especially if you are editing questions that have been closed within the last five days (and doubly especially if you are <2K rep (or 1K, since we're still beta) and submit an edit suggestion),
try to identify all the things in the message that should (can) be improved and change them all into one edition.

Don't do a little editing, then another one, then another one, then another one. If you need to make many changes and are afraid of losing your Internet connection, work in an editor on your system and copy them to Stack Exchange when you are ready to do it all in one go.

  • As explained above, even a small modification of a recently closed question will move it to the reopening queue. If you make only a small change, the question will probably not reopen, so you have wasted the "free" criticism.

  • When you submit suggested changes, you work for the reviewers in the suggested queue. Please do not increase the workload for these reviewers.
    And, if you make a lot of changes to the same message, it seems that you are trying to milk the system for its reputation (i.e. get the +2 several times).

  • Many small changes clutter the revision history and constantly bump the post to the top of the homepage or active questions tab.

Therefore, a little redundancy:

  • Edit first, then vote-to-close (if it's still open but about to be closed))

  • Wait five days, at least, for minor edits:
    Minor edits that do not address mainly the closure reason, like tagging, spelling fixes etc, should wait a little more than five days

  • Edits that do address the close reason after five days should be accompanied with a re-open vote!

  • Try to always edit everything you can to improve the post in one session.

Largely copied from Kusalananda♦: "Editing questions recently put on hold (don't)", Unix&Linux meta

  • 1
    Looking through the list of newest questions, this seems to be quite rare, fortunately. The first candidate where this temporal overlap might have happened seems to be this. Apr 18, 2019 at 13:45
  • 3
    I've added emphasis to the key point of your answer ("Please do not edit questions that ..."), just to make it stand out a little more. Please feel free to rollback if you aren't happy with that. Apr 18, 2019 at 13:48
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    Hmmm. It looks more like, "If its recently been put on hold, only edit to attempt to alleviate the problems that got it put on hold". IOW, this is really honestly a feature, not a bug. Just don't spam the reviewers with trivial edits in this case.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Apr 18, 2019 at 13:53
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    @T.E.D. I think it's a little more than that. If a trivial edit puts the question on the reopen queue, and people - rightly - vote to leave it closed, then if the OP (or anyone else) actually fixes the problems that got it closed in the first place it may not be placed back on the reopen queue. Apr 18, 2019 at 18:28
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    "If you are editing messages, and especially if you are editing questions that have been closed within the last five days (and doubly especially if you are < 2K rep and submit an edit suggestion)," note that since this site is still on beta, the rep threshold is actually 1K, not 2K like U&L SE.
    – Andrew T.
    Apr 18, 2019 at 20:44
  • @T.E.D. My definition of "trivial edit" is perhaps a bit skewed, but I think I remember going through some posts, correcting spelling, grammar, formatting, the lot, thinking it helpful to free OP for only improving points "I didn't know better" or raise the attractiveness for other readers/editors: fixing the bold points of contention. IMO that still wasn't 'trivial' ("2–5 characters edited to body"), but in light of the above perhaps still detrimental and just the wrong thing to do. Apr 18, 2019 at 21:15

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