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I recently saw, on this question, that someone - rather than asking for the OP to provide more details via a comment, as I usually see - edited the question and wrote a "template" containing placeholders where the details would be needed.

Is this appropriate? One concern of mine is that such template content is potentially confusing to people newly arriving at the question, and that the intent of the template is only made clear by digging into the edit history.

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This is definitely not appropriate. I have reverted to the most recent valid revision.

We prompt for more detail by asking for the missing pieces in a comment (which is exactly what comments are for). Then optionally vote to close as unclear so that a lot of answers won't be invalidated by the new information.

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