I recently encountered this relatively straightforward question on the rules of cricket.

If you look at the edit history, you will notice that I had to make extensive efforts to formatting, grammar and phrasing to coax out the underlying question. You'll notice that one commenter clearly saw two orthogonal questions at first glance (as did I), and it took careful reading to see that there was really only one question - two interrogative sentences were used to contrast two different related events.

It's clear to me that there is now a question, and as someone who has no idea about the rules of cricket it appears to be a very good question.

What level of editing to questions is acceptable and expected?

Should the question have been downvoted and flagged for closing (rather than edited), when after a few attempts at reading it was obvious there was a single, answerable question there?

As an aside, while the comments are all constructive (ie. please edit to one clear question, please add a link, please consider your grammar), does anyone feel that they could have been delivered in a slightly more friendly manner, given that the asker appears to be a new user and both their written English (demonstrably) and English comprehension may be lacking compared to other users of the site?

The criticism of the question is all fair and constructive, but I feel that new users to the site may be intimidated a little by rapid-fire feedback, particularly given the loss of tone over a written medium.

  • 1
    I edited your question and please take a look.
    – user10632
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 7:56
  • 1
    @MichaelMyers Could you give your reasoning for your admin reopen of this question? As noted in my answer, I certainly don't think it's a cut-and-dried reopen.
    – Philip Kendall Mod
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 21:04

2 Answers 2


I think there are some users that agree with you. Let me play the devil's advocate here.

  1. It is common courtesy to make a question as clear as possible. I don't think it is necessarily related with English proficiency of any OP, but with their attitude and sincerity. The OP rolled back the corrections made by @Nicholas V. The comment by the OP reads (which was made after @Philip Kendall's first comment):

I have edited it using blocks and tried to make it as clear as possible.

No, it was made worse and more unclear. I can't even understand why the OP would change back "say" to "says", "internal" to "intrrnal", etc.

  1. Even though I agree it could be a good question for someone who has no idea about the rules of cricket, the OP should have made it clear what he wants answered in the first place.

  2. The question reads more like "what is the difference between internal injury and external injury?" Well, would it be only applied to Cricket?

  3. Based on my year-long experience on Stack Exchange, such an OP never comes back even if we are friendlier in our comments. They just post a XXXX and go.

I agree that we need to be friendlier to new users. But it will depend on how sincere their attitude is. Which is better between editing the question and downvoting and closing it will entirely depend on each user's way of judging whether the question shows research effort, it is useful and clear. When it was asked and edited by the OP, the question wasn't clear nor useful. I've just downvoted the question as the OP didn't respond to the helpful comments.

However, as it is clear now thanks to your edit, I voted to reopen the question.

  • 3
    All of the points that you make seem fair to me. I guess that I was missing a lot of context, as I didn't look far enough into the edit history of the question. You've addressed every concern I had about how it looked to someone who only saw the end result of the edits and reverts. I'll be using this answer should as a guide to dealing with near-unsalvageable questions from new users in the future. Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 9:21
  • 3
    This deserves more than +1. +1 for "we need to be friendlier to new users" regardless of their attitude. +1 for placing responsibility to the question asker to ask the question clearly so we can answer. If it is not clear, it makes a lot of sense to request clarification.
    – user527
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 12:54
  • 3
    "I can't even understand why the OP would change back "say" to "says", "internal" to "intrrnal", etc.": I assume Hanlon's Razor here i.e. I'm assuming it was an accident by someone unfamiliar with the SE interface, rather than a deliberate reversion of Nicholas's changes.
    – Philip Kendall Mod
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 21:21
  • @PhilipKendall Yes, he might have accidentally clicked on "roll back" which changes every correction back to the previous version. What I meant by it was "why didn't he check the spellings when editing. He should have."
    – user10632
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 10:02
  • @Rathony I'm not personally too bothered about minor spelling / grammar errors so long as the meaning of the question is clear. Yeah, it would be lovely if everyone wrote perfect English all the time, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect that from everyone, particularly when their first language isn't English.
    – Philip Kendall Mod
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 14:03
  • @PhilipKendall I can't agree with you more. For the record, my first language is NOT English, either, but at least I try to minimize my mistakes and not to change other users' helpful corrections back.
    – user10632
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 14:12

How I see this in the general case:

  • If you are willing to make the effort to change a badly written question into a well written one (or other similar things which would make a question less likely to be closed), then you are a good person and this should be encouraged. SE is generally accepting of significant edits to questions which are likely to be closed in their original form.
  • However, if you see a bad question and don't have the time / don't want to make the effort to fix up somebody else's work, then voting to close is the right thing to do. The primary responsibility for a question lies with the user asking it; if they're not going to make an effort on it, then they can't expect the community to fix things up for them.

With this particular question, it was... frustrating to say the least to see Nicholas's edits reverted and the poster JUST ADDING SOME SHOUTING. Despite the edits, I still think there are at least three questions in the post:

  1. Is a substitute allowed for a player with an internal injury?
  2. If a player with an internal injury leaves the field, are they allowed to bowl immediately on their return to the field?
  3. How is it determined what is an internal vs external injury?

which still makes it count as "too broad" in my opinion.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .