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There was a (now-closed) question which was horribly formatted by the OP. I put in some initial formatting to show him what to do in order to make it more readable, but did not finish everything since I did not have the time for it.

One of the users posted the following comment in the chat there:

I know you were trying to help, but unfortunately (due to a quirk of the system) editing like this actually makes the question less likely to be reopened (see here - basically each question can be placed in the "reopen" review queue once, and any edit by any user puts the question into this queue, so any edit needs to be significant enough to make the question re-open-able).

So I wanted to find out what is the policy regarding such edits: do we prefer to

  • not update at all - let the OP do it (most of the time won't happen);
  • update completely (I usually try but don't always have time, then which alternative is better);
  • update partially (like I did there)

Or are there additional considerations involved?

Thanks in advance for your help.

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    $\begingroup$ This is not really a matter of policy. Rather, as the commenter noted, when you make an edit, that edit puts the question in the reopen queue. This only happens once (that is, only the first post-closure edit puts the question up for reopening). Thus by making an incomplete edit, you are potentially using the only ticket a question has to the reopen queue in a way that guarantees that the question won't be reopened. I think we all agree that this is a less-than-ideal outcome. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    May 21 '21 at 20:49
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    $\begingroup$ Note that your edit put the question in the reopen queue, where it failed to be reopened. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    May 21 '21 at 20:50
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    $\begingroup$ My thought is only to attempt a MathJax only edit if the Question is otherwise sound. There are many posts that can only be made acceptable with the OP's active participation. So leaving partial improvements is less attractive in those cases, and I'd be rather inclined to leave a Comment with this link. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    May 21 '21 at 20:52
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    $\begingroup$ What you did seems excellent to me :) $\endgroup$
    – user33907
    May 21 '21 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson Perhaps this warrants asking to change the policy? Why don't we allow every significant edit to put the question in the reopen queue? $\endgroup$
    – gt6989b
    May 21 '21 at 21:17
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    $\begingroup$ Okay, I was trying to understand exactly what kind of edits when a question is in exactly what state will have exactly what effect on a question's fate, and have decided I don't care that much and am going to stop editing questions because it seems like a "The Good Place" situation where when you try to do good the environment is set up so that it has bad side-effects. Very disappointing. $\endgroup$ May 21 '21 at 22:45
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    $\begingroup$ @hardmath That is my general strategy, as well. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    May 21 '21 at 23:05
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    $\begingroup$ @gt6989b That invites excessive editing as a ploy to keep a question in the reopen queues indefinitely. Just be informed that this is the policy, and pick and choose carefully which closed questions you decide to edit in the future. Because of your partial edit, while the OP might yet attempt to improve the question, it will never get access to the reopen review queue. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 21 '21 at 23:15
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    $\begingroup$ @JonathanZsupportsMonicaC Formatting edits, spelling corrections, etc., are all welcome, before a question is closed... so there's nothing stopping you from trying to do good. :-) $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 21 '21 at 23:19
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    $\begingroup$ My understanding is that it's not a question of policy that allows only the first edit-after-closure to put the question in the reopen queue, rather it's built into the stack exchange software, throughout the entire network and not just on the math site. Change would have to come from above, as it were. [and I hope someone will correct me if I've got it wrong.] $\endgroup$ May 22 '21 at 0:34
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    $\begingroup$ Also, even if a question fails to be reopened from the review queue, all is not lost. There is a thread here on meta, dedicated to pleas for reopening and/or undeletion, and one can always post to that thread and make a case for restorative action. $\endgroup$ May 22 '21 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ Related: Should I avoid minor edit of a question which was put on hold? $\endgroup$ May 22 '21 at 4:59
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    $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, I posted the comment quoted in the question to inform and not criticise. I think what you did should have been helpful, and it frustrates me that the system is such that it is in fact unhelpful. All the comments above telling you when, precisely, helping like you did is in fact helpful/not helpful should not be necessary (and will not be known by most users). $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    May 22 '21 at 11:43
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729 that's exactly what i took it as, but still wanted an idea of what we should be doing in such cases in general $\endgroup$
    – gt6989b
    May 23 '21 at 12:50
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy so this is only true if you edit closed questions? Editing questions which are not closed is then safe and does not remove the access to the reopen queue on edit? $\endgroup$
    – gt6989b
    May 23 '21 at 12:51

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