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I asked myself this when looking at the following question. I would like to focus on the writing style, not the fact that this is a "shopping recomendation" question and hence not appropriate:

I WANT ALTERNATE COMPONENT FOR THE LM2663

As can be seen, the original version was/is poorly written; All caps, starts with "I WANT", no structure through spacing/paragraphs.

Let us for a second assume that it is not in violation of the rules, and is a sensible question - it is just written (very) poorly.

A kind soul wants to fix this, rewriting the question without caps, and adding some spacing to make it readable. I was unsure if I should accept this edit, or more general, edits of this kind. If the question is re-written by someone else, people might start putting effort into writing good responses. Thus, the original poster gets answers to their question, but did not put any effort into the question in the first place, perhaps not realizing how vital this is.

How should I/we deal with this? Are there any guidelines?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Somewhat related to electronics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3893/… .. though your focus here seems to be more on whether to approve the edit. \$\endgroup\$ – MarkU Jun 15 '17 at 7:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Personally I only accept edits which turn a question into something I'd like to see on the site. An unclear or off-topic question is hardly improved by proper formatting or fixed spelling mistakes. \$\endgroup\$ – Dmitry Grigoryev Jun 19 '17 at 11:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ On sites like SO swarms of copy editors come to harvest their 2 rep for useless edits and robot approvers mindlessly approve in review queues. Sooner or later we will get this here too. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Jun 19 '17 at 12:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Inappropriate questions shouldn't be edited. The problem with your question is that you chose as an example a question that is clearly not allowed, regardless of the presentation, and then ask everyone to ignore that overwhelming issue. This just gets into emotional arguments, without eliciting a response to the more meaningful question about about a how a good question, that is poorly or even carelessly posed by the original asker, should be handled. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Jun 21 '17 at 3:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisStratton The reason I chose that question is because this specific case made me think of the bigger question. I can add more examples as I spot them once I'm done with my exams and have more time to spend on stackexchange. \$\endgroup\$ – Joren Vaes Jun 21 '17 at 7:47
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You were right to consider the larger issues than just this one post.

No, I would not want a third party to fix such a mess. The OP's gross disrespect for internet customs, the rules, and the volunteers here is relevant information. By fixing something this obviously sloppy, you are depriving others of knowing the OP was thumbing his nose at them.

As you say, it is also bad to reward posters like that with the desired result. Why should they do any better next time if they got what they wanted this way? Even worse, it show others that it works too.

Anything this blatant should be closed and downvoted to oblivion, which is what happened eventually anyway, despite the cover-up edit. I didn't see this question originally, but just voted to delete it.

The system has a bad question detector, and bans a user from asking more questions after too many bad ones. The exact algorithm isn't disclosed, but this mechanism is less useful if others fix messes for a user that posts bad questions since fewer downvotes will accumulate.

Aside

I notice that both you and someone commenting on the original question were offended by a question starting with "I want". Personally, I don't see a problem with that. Asking here is almost by definition because you want something you don't have. That question was rude and a disaster for plenty of reasons, but that wasn't one of them.

Most questions come down to I want xxx, tried yyy, got zzz. Why is that? or How do I fix it?. There is nothing wrong with being direct, as long you are also clear and provide the relevant information.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It was not the "I want" in itself, but the fact that it was written in a way that the OP seemed to demand/feel like we had to provide him with a solution. I only added it because others pointed it out and I wanted (see, did it myself) to be complete. Thanks for your response, too bad the edid did get through in the end. \$\endgroup\$ – Joren Vaes Jun 15 '17 at 11:44
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I'm pretty new around here, so forgive me if I'm speaking out of place. I have acted as a moderator on other forums (totally different topics) and I had to teach myself to look and see where someone was posting from in these kinds of situations. Not the off topic questions, but what seem to be sloppily worded questions. Forums that operate internationally may attract people that do not speak English as a native language and they may have a hard time getting their question across clearly. That does not necessarily indicate a lack of effort or intelligence.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I totally agree and it is my opinion that sometimes, people are to quick to judge that people haven't put in the needed effort. Being in a univeristy program with many students who don't just not speak english natively, but have never used english before coming to the university (unlike western people who usually at least have a basic proficciancy). It really pains me to see how they are hindered by people dismissing them because it takes effort to understand what they are saying, even though what they are saying is valid and important, often even novel. \$\endgroup\$ – Joren Vaes Jun 21 '17 at 7:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ That said, I think that some questions just demonstrate that people see to think EE Stackexchange is some kind of free homework solving or consulting firm, with people getting annoyed by the fact that they aren't helped even though people repeatedly asked for schematics, more details or background information, etc. It is those problems I wish to adress here - not just people that don't speak english with near-native proficiency. \$\endgroup\$ – Joren Vaes Jun 21 '17 at 7:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't answer the question. The question that is linked to was a mess. Whether you're good with English or not, there is no excuse for using all caps, writing a wall of text, and not following very basic rules like capitalizing the first letter of sentences and the word "I". Also, while some struggle with English due to no fault of theirs, it's not our fault either. In the end, this is a English speaking site. If you can't write English well enough to not be annoying, don't post here. The volunteers reading questions have a right to a minimum quality level. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Jun 21 '17 at 10:54

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