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There have been a few instances now where I've read a question which clearly doesn't meet the quality standards this community strives for, but, nonetheless, I am still interested in a solution. Sometimes the wording is terrible. Sometimes the question doesn't come with context. And sometimes it's painfully clear the OP didn't attempt the problem. However, my interest is not for the OPs sake but rather for mine.

Being interested, I naturally invest my own time in working on the problem. This is the most recent example. Occasionally I come up with a solution, but when I return the question is missing or on hold. And I feel frustrated. When I can't come up with a solution, I wait fervently to see if someone else does. But then the question is gone when I come back later.

I perfectly understand the need to be able to filter bad questions and delete them to foster a productive community. But I also feel like that as soon as someone asks a question on this website, the question entirely leaves the OP's hands and becomes a part of this community. People around the world invest their time and a hole host of beautiful solutions come forth. But the swift judgement of a handful of people can put the question on hold. And if the OP doesn't change the text within five days, it is closed. The OP's apathy can cast the question into limbo, and I find this saddening.

What I propose is an 'adoption system' where established users can jump in when a question is put on hold and clean-up the question to meet our quality standards and perhaps switch the 'ownership' of the question.

I propose this because the alternatives aren't any good. I could walk through and ask my own question essentially repeating the last but now providing my own work and context. But I think this is repetitive and clusters up the site. The more awkward situation I wish to avoid is to be stuck with a solution in hand on my side but nowhere and no one to answer. I think it would be ridiculous to ask a question just for the sake of answering it myself. But I did invest time to help someone and enrich the community just to shrug it off and push my scratch work into a cluttered filing cabinet where I will have a much harder time coming back to to reference my own work later on.

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  • $\begingroup$ You shouldn't answer that question anyway, because it is a duplicate. (I might be confusing it with similar, not quite exactly the same, questions, though.) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jun 25 '14 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ I found a duplicate, but this is not the only time I have had this frustration. $\endgroup$ – Robert Wolfe Jun 25 '14 at 21:09
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If you found a very bad question that you'd like to answer, instead of forcing your edit on someone else, you can (and perhaps should) post your own version of the question.

Add in that you have seen this question posted badly, and you post it for sake of having it properly written with an answer, and add your answer to that question. If you feel bad about double reputation, post your answer as CW.

In either case you can leave it for a bit, maybe other people will contribute good answers too, and if you really feel like it, you can accept one of them.

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I would propose to create another "container" site to move there such questions, just like Meta is.

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    $\begingroup$ This would just fragment the site, and separate MSE into good-quality-MSE and bad-quality-MSE. I don't agree with this idea. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jun 25 '14 at 23:09
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    $\begingroup$ But what to do with a question that is not accepted by some moderators, which other users might still want to have? $\endgroup$ – emcor Jun 25 '14 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ See Asaf's answer - if it's of great interest to you, ask a high-quality version of it and answer it yourself. And it's not the moderators putting these questions on hold - closing a question is a privilege gained at 3000 reputation. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jun 25 '14 at 23:25
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    $\begingroup$ But I have seen answers which were closed not for their quality but just "taste", for example this was a fairly ok question but somehow just put on hold: math.stackexchange.com/questions/842935/… $\endgroup$ – emcor Jun 25 '14 at 23:30
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    $\begingroup$ That wasn't put on hold because of taste - it's a bare problem statement with zero context or details, which is why I was the fifth close-voter for it. I routinely vote to close questions that are in my field of interest for the same reason. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jun 25 '14 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ Most math questions have absolutely no context, just looking to prove or show some theoretical construct that isnt used anywhere. I have no problem with that, I think its good training, but I dont see why one would have to put this combinatorial problem into any more "nice context". So there are at least 2 users who would like that question actually. $\endgroup$ – emcor Jun 25 '14 at 23:34
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    $\begingroup$ There's not definite consensus about whether these questions are appropriate for the site. The slightly prevailing opinion at this time would appear to be that these are low-quality and should be put on-hold until they are improved. You are free to disagree with this, and once you reach $N$ reputation you can vote to reopen. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jun 25 '14 at 23:37
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    $\begingroup$ @emcor: That's not true. The fact that sometimes people don't provide context, or might not be aware of the context, doesn't mean it's not there. If you ask me to prove that given a sequence of rational numbers with such and such properties, then it has a limit, I could use theorems from topology, I could use theorems from descriptive set theory, and I could do things by hand. Will a theorem using Lusin schemes be helpful to a freshman trying to solve a precalculus question? You tell me. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jun 25 '14 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila You are saying, that the theorems all build on each other. But that still doesnt mean that they have "realworld context", which is what I wanted to say. It is usually just a logical description or complicated equation which is solved without practical meaning except to train thinking. $\endgroup$ – emcor Jun 25 '14 at 23:57
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    $\begingroup$ What does practicality have to do with the question, though? I don't think anyone is voting to close questions because they don't have real-world context. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jun 26 '14 at 0:02
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    $\begingroup$ Context, in this context, is what sort of knowledge the OP has, and what they might be expecting. Here is a fresh example where the problem can be solved citing a theorem in a single line (see the first comment), or can be solved by working the definitions manually. That's context for you. I inferred from the attempt given by the OP that the approach citing the theorem is not the best one, so I picked another. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jun 26 '14 at 0:02

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