There have a couple times that I have come across an answer in the low quality post queue where the real problem is the question. I have always opened and voted to close the question and mostly ignored the answer. Is this the best practice? What could I do better?

  • 4
    Great strategy. Correct things at their root cause rather than with symptoms. You may want to help with the symptom though (mention in a comment to the answer what you think about the question.
    – Mitch
    May 21, 2015 at 19:43

2 Answers 2


Thank you for helping to review.

What you're doing is good -- if the problem is the question then the community should address that. In addition to voting to close, consider whether it'd be helpful to do any of the following:

  • If you can fix the problem (often you can't, but if you can), consider an edit.

  • Leave a comment on the question explaining the problem, if nobody else has (or if someone has but you can explain in more detail).

  • Leave a comment on the answer alerting the author to problems in the question; maybe the answerer can help, and if nothing else you've given him a heads-up that things might be changing.

  • If the question isn't currently on the front page, meaning fewer people will come across it, bring it up in chat (or on meta) to get more eyes on it.

  • 1
    Good answer. I'd like to add one of the things this users here are good at is providing good answers to vague questions. If we can leave a question open to leave those good answers around, that's always best. If a question can be edited to be in line with useful answers, I encourage people to go ahead and edit it or make suggestions to that effect. May 21, 2015 at 20:47
  • @NeilFein, these weren't vague questions. These were questions that were either off topic, or had other serious unfixable problems. They needed to go, but the guys trying to answer were trying there best. It was not their fault that the question was either completely inappropriate or a flaming pile of crap. As for Vague questions, I believe that they are important as much of the creative process is nebulous.
    – hildred
    May 21, 2015 at 21:48
  • @hildred So noted, but can you provide some examples? As to vague questions being inevitable, I agree. May 21, 2015 at 22:23
  • @NeilFein, Latin quote from a modern fiction book, Absolute In An Iambic Pentameter Line. If I remember correctly both of these were off topic questions Which some poor fellow tried to answer. It has been a while since the really bad ones and I can't remember which they were.
    – hildred
    May 21, 2015 at 22:39

I always try to rescue the question if at all possible, either by suggesting edits, or, occasionally by doing a full rewrite myself in the case that I don't feel the OP will be able to do it (in that case I always leave a comment suggesting the OP revert if the edit is not satisfactory).

I do this even if there are no good answers on the question. In terms of the overall goals of SE, I think what serves it best is to have the questions framed in their best possible light whenever possible.

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