There is a rather nice question in the tag at the moment. It deals with the pre-requisites needed to understand a rather famous result. You can find the question here.

An answer to this question would be useful to lots of people, not just the OP. This question is a credit to the site, and one we should be proud of (and proud to have people who can answer it on here – indeed, proud to have the person who wrote the book which the answers is going to tell the OP to read on here)!

Unfortunately, the question was initially poorly posed. It therefore received a score of -7, and is currently sitting at -4 at 0. If it had been well-posed then I believe it would have received a respectable positive score, perhaps breaking the $10$ barrier. (Of course, this is just opinion.)

Anyway, my point is this: Nice question, but a hideous score. The score reflected something which is not relevant to the question as it is presented now. Moreover, this question will be useful to future visitors, but with such a low score it will be impossible to find (would you think the thread you are searching for had a negative score?!). We therefore have a problem.

Proposed solution: Get the OP to re-post the question. This re-sets the score at $0$, and people will be voting on the question not on the way it was posed.

What think you?

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    $\begingroup$ Previous downvoters can undo their downvotes after the question is edited. Maybe a reminder of this feature in the comments is in order... nevertheless, I don't think it's kosher to circumvent downvotes by reposting a question or answer. $\endgroup$ – J. M. ain't a mathematician Jun 19 '13 at 12:17
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    $\begingroup$ @J.M. Yes, I agree that this is the ideal solution. However, it comes with the assumption that they care, or can be pingéd. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jun 19 '13 at 12:20
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    $\begingroup$ On the other hand, bringing this question's plight to meta might cause a few upvotes from other concerned people, which should offset the downvotes incurred. Either way, the question's OP should be thankful to you... $\endgroup$ – J. M. ain't a mathematician Jun 19 '13 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ Also, your point about kosher-ness is why I posted this question. I agree that it is not kosher in general. However, as the votes were due to the way the question was posed rather than the question itself, then I believe a case can be made. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jun 19 '13 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ I still think that the long-standing but still denied request (cf. MSO) of a notification of change when one has downvoted is called for. But until that fortuitous day, perhaps meta threads like this one, or case-by-case reposting can help. $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Jun 19 '13 at 12:28
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    $\begingroup$ If "good questions" can be re-posted to get rid of negative scores, then so can "bad questions". If this gets started, I have my suspicions of which type will have this done most often. $\endgroup$ – GEdgar Jun 19 '13 at 12:39
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    $\begingroup$ By the way, (1) the OP already reposted a question, to circumvent closure of the first version; (ii) the OP should get no credit for the improvement of the question, which was done by Jack Schmidt; (iii) boilerplate questions of the kind "What references are necessary for me to understand [something important]" do not necessarily deserve lots of upvotes. $\endgroup$ – ˈjuː.zɚ79365 Jun 19 '13 at 12:45
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    $\begingroup$ @ˈjuː.zɚ79365 I was unaware about the OPs previous actions. However, I do not believe that the actions of the OP should be held against the question. In what I have said about, I do not mention the OP being good - just the question. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jun 19 '13 at 12:56
  • $\begingroup$ @J.M.: With everything being done by the goyim, I don't think there's anything kosher on this website! :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jun 19 '13 at 13:05
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, the real problem is that down-voters are anonymous and never get notified of updates to questions they down-votes, so there really is no practical way to save a question. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Andrews Jun 19 '13 at 13:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf, I am careful not to eat bacon while posting to m.se $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jun 19 '13 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ Example of "always assume the worst": Orthodox Jew travels in plastic bag in an aeroplane because he isn't allowed to fly over a cemetery. (He was, if I recall correctly, taking "fly over" as an extension of "visit".) $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jun 19 '13 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding the OP's behaviour: looking at the comment thread in the repost of the question, I got the impression that the OP thought this was the correct thing to do when they were told to edit their original question; i.e. I don't think they realized that this meant they should literally edit the closed question, as opposed to reposting a better phrased question. They are new to the site, so this seems quite possible to me. I don't really understand why the post was closed in the first place; the references to algorithms of Blesche and Eick made it fairly clear there was something there. $\endgroup$ – Matt E Jun 20 '13 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ @MattE: a small way that you (and other users) can help with the problem of new users not understanding what "editing" means is that, when posting a comment suggesting the OP to edit the post, type [edit] instead of edit. Let me show you the difference: edit versus edit. If the OP clicks on the link, he or she should be brought to the page that allows him or her to edit the post. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jun 20 '13 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ @WillieWong: Dear Willie, Brilliant! (I had no idea this was possible.) Cheers, and thanks, $\endgroup$ – Matt E Jun 20 '13 at 14:53

My opinions on this:

  1. In general, deleting and re-posting anything, be it questions or answers, in order to get rid of the negative score is a big no-no.

  2. There's a reason that the system is designed so that one can change one's vote after the post has been edited. I am sad that not more people pay attention to this feature.

  3. In the specific cases (such as the one under consideration), you will want to check on Meta first anyway (see point 1.). But we know that pleading on Meta works (as is illustrated by the present case), just like how it works to re-open closed questions. This moots the question immediately.

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    $\begingroup$ I disagree that this "moots the question immediately". Pleading on Meta works to some extent. The question is sitting on +1 at the moment. It had three up-votes when I started this Meta thread. So it is still worse-off. Of course, things may change over time - I think it is too soon to tell if "pleading on Meta" works or not. (Also, I wasn't pleading! I was "making people aware". And I was, and am, genuinely interested in what the community has to say about re-posting questions under exceptional circumstances.) $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jun 19 '13 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729, as it seems, the question's score now stands at +14/-6, and I've a funny feeling the downvoters don't give a rat's arse about meta, so no use fretting over the -6. Anyway, in this case, I'm still of the thought that reposting for circumvention is to be frowned upon, and any exceptional plea for leniency on such a reposting must still be brought to meta. $\endgroup$ – J. M. ain't a mathematician Jun 20 '13 at 1:18
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    $\begingroup$ @J.M. I think I agree, although I feel obliged to withhold my complete agreement as this is far from a perfect solution. Ideally, when a post is edited then downvoters would be pingéd, vis-à-vis Lord_Farin's comment, above. Also, the "pleading on meta" method encourages spam... $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jun 20 '13 at 10:47
  • $\begingroup$ @user1729: I never said this is a perfect solution. I merely point out that it is (IMHO) a better solution than deleting a question and asking it anew. (We agree that in general it is not a good idea to delete questions just to shed down-votes. So naturally one would want to ask first on meta before one does so. That would produce no fewer "spam" posts than the "pleading on meta" method.) $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jun 20 '13 at 12:13
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    $\begingroup$ I am also not convinced that the type of people who don't check meta will be more likely to review their downvotes because of an automatic system message. (I however support that MSO feature-request since the only downside I can imagine is that it crowds my inbox a tiny bit more (my downvote rate is much lower than the rate at which people post questions on meta!)) $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jun 20 '13 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ @WillieWong I presumed that you did not believe that this method was perfect. In my comment I merely wanted to make it known that I believed that it is not perfect, and was not attempting to compare my own opinion with that of others. Also, I agree with your second comment. I have a question about your brackets in the first comment...which I will post in two ticks... $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jun 20 '13 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ I am unsure what you mean when you say "So naturally one would want to ask first on meta before one does so. That would produce no fewer 'spam' posts than the 'pleading on meta' method." What is the "That" which you are referring to? My point about the spam is that any informal system which is set up could get out of hand. Pleading on Meta should be an exceptional activity, done for posts which are of general interest and might be useful for future readers... $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jun 20 '13 at 12:33
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    $\begingroup$ ...but I have visions of such a process quickly deteriorating, with people plugging their homeword questions and are basically just after rep points (bearing in mind you get 5 times as much rep (in absolute value...) for an up vote than for a down-vote). Someone with a -1 post is going to come to Meta to complain, and someone is going to upvote them. On the other hand, it may happen that lots of people will downvote and so their plugging will backfire. Interesting... $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jun 20 '13 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ @user1729: my point is that any case where I can imagine "deleting and then reposting" would be an exceptional case. And exceptional cases will need community review: we can't just give them a carte blanche under some vague guideline as you wrote down. So now we have this informal system on meta to vet whether a question should be allowed to be deleted and reposted... well, whiners gonna whine, and what's to stop your scenario from happening in this case? :-) $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jun 20 '13 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ @WillieWong: My scenario was meant to be about this case! If people start coming to Meta to claim their post is "exceptional", then this will happen more and more frequently and, well, the scenario will happen. Perhaps posts should only be considered if they are proposed by an high-rep user different from the OP? $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jun 20 '13 at 12:55
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729: Experience has suggested to me that for things like this, it is perhaps easier in the long run to not have any "written rules". Having "written rules" for these kinds of things will: (a) make people angry when other people breaks them (b) make people want to test the limit of the rules (c) encourage rule-lawyering (d) limit our ability to address problems in a timely fashion. Furthermore, "rule drafting" in general on this Meta has been largely unsuccessful :-(. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jun 20 '13 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ That said, I think most readers of Meta would already have the sort of filter you ask for built-in: I'm sure a request made by your account will result in a somewhat different reception than one made by an account of User X with 35 rep and two questions voted -8 on main... $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jun 20 '13 at 14:48

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