# Should I bother editing “solve this” type questions?

Often times I'll see a question pop up in New Questions similar to

Solve x^12 + ... <random math> + 5 = 0 for x.

A poor question that falls under Lacking Context, in addition to poor formatting. In these cases is it even worth it to edit the question? Often it's a trivial edit such as adding $'s around the mathjax or changing "slove" to "solve". However, the post seems doomed to closure regardless. I've read this answer which mentions editing can make the post more searchable and/or help educate a new user about the site. I don't think this applies here, because, while the formatting is a problem, it's not the main problem with the post. The main problem is the lack of context/effort shown. I've also read this question, but it's about editing questions on hold, where I'm talking about new questions with relatively low activity. Note: This is the particular question, which led me to ask this. I ended up editing it anyways, by simply adding$'s around the math. I'd also like to note that often if I don't make the trivial edit, someone else will.

• I'd say it's up to you. It doesn't do any harm, and it does help improve the site quality (especially, IMHO, retagging if the tags are completely wrong). It can also have the positive result of letting the asker see what a well-formatted question looks like, and lead to improved asking style. On the other hand, many of these questions end up closed or deleted, so it doesn't have a lasting effect. Frequently, it's a waste of time. So I'd suggest that you don't burn yourself out on it; but if you find it fulfilling, good for you. – T. Bongers Aug 12 '17 at 19:29
• At the same time, however, if an question has a title: Integration: ASAP!!!! and continues in the body of the question to list a bare integration problem, along with a plea for HELP NOW!!! PLEASE!!! I hesitate to edit, because there is much revealed about the question and its asker, in its original form, that would be lost with an edit to sanitize it for the asker. – amWhy Aug 12 '17 at 21:20
• In the question you link to, I think your edit was very reasonable. – amWhy Aug 12 '17 at 21:34
• @amWhy even given that the question was put on hold? – Dando18 Aug 12 '17 at 21:48
• @Dando18 yup... When (if) an asker's question (like the one I suggest above) is closed, it should be the asker's responsibility to improve the post. When others just need to edit, it puts such a poor post into the review queue. To hold off prettyfying the post leaves the asker a choice: improve the post, and with the asker's improvement, the post is considered for reopening; or not do anything. The asker needs to be responsible for the question s/he asks. – amWhy Aug 12 '17 at 21:57
• Actually, @Dando18, with respect to the question you edited, which led your to post here, Your edits were strictly formatting a statement using mathjax. I see nothing wrong with that. – amWhy Aug 12 '17 at 22:04
• Another important consideration for on-hold posts is that the first post-closure edit kicks them into the reopen review queue. If the only changes are typographical, it's unlikely to be reopened then. Subsequent edits do not automatically lead to the review. – T. Bongers Aug 12 '17 at 22:17
• If a question is unreadable because of formatting. I will typically edit it to see what the question really is. If the underlying question is not a complete trash, I will commit the edit and/or ask for additional clarification in comment. Otherwise, I'll downvote and/or cast an extra close vote. – achille hui Aug 14 '17 at 16:44
• If you're asking "should I bother" it suggests that you don't think your effort on that particular question will be appreciated by the person asking the question. Maybe you should instead ask yourself "is there something more interesting on my plate?" Maybe new questions under a specific tag, or maybe something not even on this website. – Robert Soupe Aug 14 '17 at 18:44