This question was recently edited to add italics to a link to a spell. This edit was done after the question was already closed due to being a duplicate, and therefore put the question into the 'vote for reopen' queue.

Should we be editing closed questions in order to make styling updates if the edit doesn't also include an attempt to fix the question?

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    \$\begingroup\$ A good question! Though my edit was mostly to add the tag for discoverability (the other part was just a formatting fix while I was editing it anyway). I'm not sure if there's any established policy or guidance on this, so thanks for asking it. (...Though there's no real way to "fix" a question that was rightly closed as a duplicate of another question.) I do know that the first edit after it's closed brings it back up in the reapproval queue, so I avoid doing this as the initial edit on a question that is just temporarily on hold while it's being fixed. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Dec 13, 2018 at 4:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Some related MSE posts: "Should we fixed up closed questions?" and "Should I still edit closed/bad posts to make them presentable?" and this one, sort of: "Add “Questions edited after closing” review task" \$\endgroup\$ Jul 10, 2020 at 14:54

2 Answers 2


Edit away!

There was a recent change on July 7th to how the reopen review queue works. To briefly quote and summarize the change:

All users are still able to submit edits on closed questions. This new feature allows editors to determine whether they’re making a minor edit (i.e. grammar, spelling) or a significant edit. By submitting an edit for review, the editor agrees that their edit attempts to resolve the question’s close reason(s) and should be considered for reopening in the Reopen votes queue.


We understand that it may take multiple attempts to get your question just right. If a significant edit fails to reopen a question, users will now have an opportunity to continue to rework and edit their question and have it reviewed multiple times. Reviewers will not be able to see the same question twice in the Reopen votes queue.

The first part explains that the new process of editing actually gives users a checkmark that allows them to state whether they believe their edit is significant in a way that makes the question entering the review queue make sense. So now there is no reason not to edit closed questions because if you do not check the box, your edit can't send the question into the review queue.

The latter part of the quote drives this home perhaps even further, as questions are no longer limited to entering the reopen queue only once (though the finer details of how this all works are still being monitored and may change).


This answer was superseded by an update as outlined in the answer here.

(Note, this is the same as my answer to the duplicate question I asked: Why shouldn't I edit a question that has been closed?)

Editing closed questions puts them back in the review queue, and if the edit was unrelated to the close reason, the question will be kept closed

Firstly, I will point out that I've done exactly the thing I ask about in the question, and it was V2Blast♦ who pointed out to me why I shouldn't do this. I've since abstained from doing this, but I've seen some users still do this; I just want to point out that I learned the hard way, and that's why I now know this.

If you edit a closed question, that triggers the question being put into the Reopen review queue. The intention behind this automatic behaviour is that, if a closed question is edited, the hope is that the edit is an attempt to rework the question into a "stackable" state. The reviews will consider the edit to see if it brings the question in line with the stack's expectations and votes to Reopon or Leave Closed accordingly (or make further edits, etc).

However, if the edits were of a trivial nature (by which I mean, not specifically related to the reason the question was closed), then when it gets put into the Reopen review queue, the actual content and question(s) remains the same, just with better tags or corrected spelling. In other words, the question now being reviewed is essentially the same question that was originally closed, so the reviewers will just vote to Leave Closed, since nothing significant has been changed.

Why is this a problem?

The problem with this is that "everybody gets one". Once the question has been through the Reopen review queue, that's it. It doesn't get another shot at it. If further edits are made later, it doesn't get put back into the Reopen review queue, so it will only be reopened if people happen to manually check back and take a look at the question, unrelated to the review queue.

Hence trivial edits can actually potentially prevent the question from being reopened if the OP does later edit the question into shape, because the question has already gone through the Reopen review queue due to the trivial edits.

Hold off on trivial edits until the OP has edited their question with relevant improvements

Once the question has been edited by the OP to include the information needed to consider reopening it (meaning, gets put into the Reopen review queue), then you can make more edits on top of that, because it would now be put into the review queue for the right reasons, and further "clean up" edits won't interrupt that process.


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