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I would like us to collect best practices for editing questions.

Particularly, how should one know when a rephrased question is worth another attempt, and how should one proceed when making revisions? What editing techniques make it more likely that a question will be better received by the community?

  • I see no reason to make this question Community Wiki. – Borror0 Apr 4 '11 at 2:02
  • @Borror Your edits/shortening look ok to me. I was thinking new users could use some hints at editing questions. Perhaps another older meta has such a list already? – Paul Apr 4 '11 at 2:09
  • If you think you can improve the question or answer without altering the meaning significantly, edit. See also: skeptics.stackexchange.com/privileges/edit – Borror0 Apr 4 '11 at 2:15
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Although your question phrased as if it's about editing, it's really about asking questions. After all, by wanting what gets a question reopened, you're asking for what differentiates a good question from a bad one.

I covered this in detail in the past, but here's what's usually the key point:

  • Put energy in summarizing the position you're skeptical of. Quoting the exact claim is the surefire and laziest way to do it, but a solid summary is just as good. The idea is to give enough information to the readers so that they understand what you want them to fact-check.

If people have to guess what you mean, you have not done a good job writing (or rewriting) the question. The question must be very clear, to anyone reading it. Most of us can't read minds.

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