For example, this one. Clearly it doesn't fit well into our website, and the best think is to ask the user to split them to separate questions.

What if the poster isn't responding? Other members will be posting answer as we wait, while the question is still not changed. Should we take the liberty to edit the post to include only one question? Should we post the rest as separate questions? Or should we close it temporarily (to prevent answers), and promise to reopen it when it conforms to our standard? Or just wait?

4 Answers 4


I wouldn't edit the post if you are changing too much of the semantic purpose of asking it (removing entire sub-questions would seem to qualify). The question cannot be reasonably answered in the Stack Exchange format because the vetting and voting of answers would be woefully ambiguous.

I would leave a thoughtful comment to explain that the individual questions should be posted separately so folks can answer them properly. Then close the post as not a real question.

not a real question

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form.

  • So the point is always that one: close it now, reopen later (maybe)?
    – Alenanno
    Sep 21, 2011 at 16:17
  • @Alenanno: Generally, yes. The guidance is to "close now, fix later" when the question is not clear; otherwise, there is a good chance users will spend time answering the question incorrectly. GIGO. Sep 21, 2011 at 16:50
  • Thanks for clarification. :)
    – Alenanno
    Sep 21, 2011 at 16:52

Since the asked is not responding (when I'm writing this, 3 hours already have passed), I think we should close it temporarily and then reopen it when it fits the standards.

We could edit it ourselves, but the problem is: we don't know what the OP really wanted to ask.

We might risk changing the question and bringing it out of the point it was trying to cover.

  • 1
    Three hours is probably not sufficient since we have a world audience and sleep time is typically 8 hours and work time is typically 8 hours. I think we should jump in and fix it if we give enough time for the OP to ask before bed, sleep, go to work, come home, and turn on the computer as a minimal worst case (-: Sep 21, 2011 at 14:59
  • @hippietrail You would be right if you didn't consider that the OP is from a place where now it's about 6 PM... But ok, we can wait. :D
    – Alenanno
    Sep 21, 2011 at 15:03
  • Maybe but I don't assume anything. I don't even know what time is is where I'm from. I do know it's a bit after 5pm where I'm at though (-: Sep 21, 2011 at 15:07
  • 2
    Questions closed can be reopened when the questioner has edited. So close sooner and then wait.
    – Mitch
    Sep 21, 2011 at 16:16
  • @Mitch I agree with you eheh
    – Alenanno
    Sep 21, 2011 at 16:17

When this question came up on meta.Judaism, Shog9 suggested in a comment simply editing out all but the first question and leaving a comment suggesting that the author post another question, including a link to the revision history for reference to the deleted text. That's what I've been doing there, and I think it's worked pretty well. Authors tend to do the right thing in response.


I like Isaac Moses's answer but would suggest extending it:

Of course some judgement must be applied as there are good leading questions, followup questions, side questions, and bonus questions.

But for questions that don't seem to be good examples of any of those even striking out the extra questions might be good since we'll still be able to see them and argue if any should be reinstated etc before fully deleting them.

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