0

I came across this justifiably closed question: https://workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/4285/how-can-we-bridge-the-gap-between-executive-management-and-the-employee

It was a rant, one that solicited discussion and could possibly lead to much debate and argument.

I edited it to focus on solving a problem related to the corporate culture. In my opinion, the question is waaay different than it was originally, but I also think it's one that could benefit not only future visitors who are employees, but also it could benefit future visitors in executive management who wish to create a workplace environment where people will want to come to work everyday.

Closure is of course intended to be a temporary state, one which gives the community an opportunity to help fix the post, and I believe I have fixed this post to where it's suitable for this site and for Stack Exchange.

I went ahead and voted to reopen. If you think more edits are needed, please let me know; otherwise, if you can flag or vote to reopen, I encourage you to do so.

  • 3
    That's..not...remotely the same question. I encourage edits, but I don't really think total replacements should be done as "edits" like this. – Rarity Oct 3 '12 at 3:32
  • 2
    @Rarity - It might be worth discussing that and digging a little deeper. While an hour ago I would have leaned more towards agreeing with you, if a post can be salvaged, still make the op happy, get to the heart of a real problem, and not waste space or require deletion, then it may actually be a policy we might want to consider taking a deeper look at. After all, editing is at the core of the SE platform.... Let me know if you want me to start a meta question on this topic. – jmort253 Oct 3 '12 at 3:35
  • 2
    Unfortunately, I think rants will require major edits in order to actually be salvageable, and it's probably better than turning away the op completely or leaving him to his own devices.... I'd really be interested to see if he likes these edits. If so, I think this could be a great question for this site. – jmort253 Oct 3 '12 at 3:37
  • Personally I think it's still a very big question, one that's not very constructively answerable. At best it seems to elicit suggestions since the problem is so huge. It's closer to "how can I be more awesome" than "how can I solve (practical, self-contained situation)". I'd still vote-to-close as it is now, though I wouldn't close it outright as a moderator. – Rarity Oct 3 '12 at 3:42
  • I see your point @Rarity. Without actually experiencing the problem myself, it's tough to include enough detail to make it "real". Maybe Greg can take the ball and run with it and tell us more about what it's like to work at his company. We'll see. :) – jmort253 Oct 3 '12 at 3:45
  • 1
    @jmort253: thank you very much for the help here and please realize this has nothing to do with anyone being "more awesome". This has to do with a corporate culture that exists and actually is hurting business and the economy. I have heard the Microsoft has addressed this issue by ensuring managers are paid less but I am unable to verify or find the details of it. Yes, I am very happy with the edits and I think it has been salvaged well. – Greg McNulty Oct 3 '12 at 5:42
  • 1
    @Rarity: please do not draw conclusions about the question or that it has anything to do with "how can I be more awesome". I don't even see how you can say that when you profile location is "Fabulosity" - google.com/… – Greg McNulty Oct 3 '12 at 5:45
  • 3
    @GregMcNulty - I don't think Rarity meant offense. He was just saying that the question still might be a little too broad for our site or still unanswerable, and he was using "how can I be more awesome" as an example of a question that can't really be answered definitively. We look for questions that will a) help future visitors, and b) not digress into argument or debates. If you can, try to make some edits to your question to make it sound like you're trying to solve a problem at work. It's getting closer! Good luck! :) – jmort253 Oct 3 '12 at 6:14
  • "How do I be more awesome" is just a hyperbole of a classic problem question; people like it, lots of people have recommendations, but no one has solutions. You can't definitely answer it, or really even remotely guess how you can help anyone in particular or general, can help solve the problem. It'd be great if you could, but if you can't, it's just opinions and suggestions, not answers. – Rarity Oct 3 '12 at 16:50
  • 1
    @Rarity: ok, I didn't realize no one has a solution to this problem, that is very discouraging....perhaps we can be the first to find a solution, I am all about problem solving but it appears this is not the place. – Greg McNulty Oct 3 '12 at 17:19
  • @GregMcNulty solutions to this problem in one company? Probably. A magic solution that applies to all companies? Incredibly doubtful – Rarity Oct 3 '12 at 18:45
6

My issue with changing the core question (other than invalidating answers, which doesn't apply here) is that the OP can't respond to requests for clarifications. And how could they, it's a different question than what they wanted to ask originally. This is a problem with all "artificial" questions, and one of the many reasons we expect all questions to be about actual problems you're facing.

Your version is better, but still a bit broad, and I think much of our inability to make it more specific and answerable is because it's not an actual problem any of us faces or has faced in the past, and we've reached a point where we are trying to force a good question out of a... not so good one. That rarely turns out well, I think if a question can only be salvaged by changing it completely, it's better to just let it go. If the changed version is a common enough problem, it will be re-asked at some point in the future, by someone actually having to deal with the core issue.

However it should be noted that your edits weren't a (complete) waste of time:

  1. Both answers are to your version of the question and not the original one. The question was closed again, but the two answers that made it through during the short time it was open may have helped the asker.
  2. The mod closure was converted to a community closure. Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with a moderator closing the question few minutes after it was posted, I've closed over 2.4K questions on Programmers (a little over three Workplaces), and on a lot of them (half?) mine was the only close vote. Programmers regulars have probably seen me more than once closing questions seconds after they were posted, I remember closing a question 32 seconds after it was asked (yes, it was that bad). But a community closure certainly looks better than a mod only closure.
  3. We got this Meta discussion out of it, that will help further define our attitude towards heroic edits.

As far as getting the question re-opened, well, it happened. Five people thought the question was worth their re-open vote after your edit, and then five other people thought it wasn't. Personally, I sit right on the fence, on the one hand I agree that your version is still too broad and soliciting opinions rather than answers, on the other I'd love to read a good answer to it. Confusing, isn't it? Well, as I've already said, if it's a common enough problem, more concrete version(s) of the question will appear, only thing we have to do is wait for them.

I wouldn't want this discussion and the current state of the question to discourage anyone from editing, but I think that we must make it crystal clear that although editing is almost always a step in the right direction, it's not a guarantee that a question will be re-opened. Be bold and edit, but do understand that the more heroic the edit, the more chances it has to be a waste of time, especially if you're changing the core question. It's a high risk high reward scenario, if you will, and I don't think we'll ever manage to come up with a solid set of guidelines for heroic edits, it will always be a per case thing.

Lastly, your edit shouldn't be rolled back, both answers are to your version of the question, and rolling back to the original version would invalidate them. The question might be on a path to deletion, but until then it would be preferable for it and its answers to be consistent.

  • Thanks Yannis for this detailed explanation. My takeaway is to continue to be bold with edits on answerless, closed questions, and don't be afraid to fail. Problem solved! :) – jmort253 Oct 4 '12 at 7:25
  • @jmort253 Or, since the question touches a bit on management, you could just cheat and re-ask/migrate it on PM, where all our annoying opinions on it will be humbled by the glow of your diamond ;P – yannis Oct 4 '12 at 7:26
5

Here are my thoughts.

  1. Your edit completely changed the heart of the question to where it is no longer recognizable. The true heart of the question is Why are executives valued more than engineers? and you fundamentally changed the question to How can we bridge the gap between management and employees to prevent and us vs. them attitude? They are completely different and I feel that this edit should be rolled back.

  2. Even with your edit, it is a good question on its own, however the problem of Us Vs. Them is complex and multi-faceted and could be caused by 100 different items. In that respect I feel it is overly broad. Then asking for ways to improve this will result in many opinions being posted about what can be done to improve attitude, which in itself is too generalized a goal anyway.

I strongly feel that this should not have been edited the way it was or reopened.

  • I agree; this is why I cast the (now 10th) close vote. – jcmeloni Oct 3 '12 at 13:48
  • 4
    @jcmeloni and maple, I'm not sure I understand how keeping a question the same and keeping it closed is better than changing it into something that's answerable. So far, people seem to agree the edit was unwarranted, and I'm definitely open to ideas, but I'd appreciate a reason, if you don't mind. Why are we so intent on not using the editing capabilities that make SE great? – jmort253 Oct 3 '12 at 15:03
  • 2
    Sometimes people who write rants don't know what their question is until you help them uncover it. If Greg is happy with the edits, why are we so concerned with it being changed? – jmort253 Oct 3 '12 at 15:05
  • @jmort253 Regardless of the OP's blessing, if there are already answers on the question then you run the risk of potentially invalidating existing answers. – maple_shaft Oct 3 '12 at 16:10
  • 1
    @maple_shaft: Agreed, but there weren't any answers. Rarity had closed it within about 14 seconds of its being posted. – pdr Oct 3 '12 at 17:12
  • @jmort253 I'm a huge fan of changing it into something answerable. It still isn't. It's overly broad, as I commented on the question itself (that's what I was agreeing with -- it's not currently answerable). – jcmeloni Oct 3 '12 at 18:01
  • 1
    I'm with you there @jcmeloni. If it's unanswerable still, I understand. We'll keep it closed. My issue is with the idea that changing a closed, 0-answer question is somehow harmful to the spirit of Q&A or to the site in general. As pdr points out, this question was single-handedly mod-closed before any answers were posted. The only place this post was headed was the delete bin. Therefore, I think someone should explain why editing and changing a post on a collaboratively edited Q&A site, with no answers, that had no value, is harmful. So far, no one has been able to explain why... – jmort253 Oct 4 '12 at 2:56
  • cc- @pdr, maple - [cont'd] So, if I'm thinking about this wrong or misunderstand the guidelines of edit before close, I'm okay with that. Help me understand. But if there isn't a real, justified reason, perhaps we should re-evaluate this policy and come up with some better editing guidelines for different scenarios. In some cases, completely changing the question is wrong; I get that, but should that be true in every case, like when the question is headed for the chopping block anyway? This is what needs to be answered. Hope this helps! :) – jmort253 Oct 4 '12 at 2:59
  • 1
    @jmort253 My issue with changing the core question (other than invalidating answers, which doesn't apply here) is that the OP can't respond to requests for clarifications. And how could they, it's a different question than what they wanted to ask originally. This is a problem with all "artificial" questions, and one of the many reasons we expect all questions to be about actual problems you're facing. – yannis Oct 4 '12 at 6:31
  • 1
    (cont...) Your version is better, but still a bit broad, and I think much of our inability to make it more specific and answerable is because it's not an actual problem any of us faces or has faced in the past, and we've reached a point were we are trying to force a good question out of a... not so good one. That rarely turns out well, I think if a question can only be salvaged by changing it completely, it's better to let it go. If the changed version is a common enough problem, it will be re-asked at some point in the future, by someone actually having to deal with the core issue. – yannis Oct 4 '12 at 6:34
  • 1
    Thanks @YannisRizos. This is helpful! But can we agree that, should this situation come up again, that it's still okay to try to save the question with the understanding that if it doesn't work out, we rollback the edits and move on? I feel really discouraged right now when it comes to editing here because IMHO it's hard to determine where the line is. What I'm suggesting is that we (1) still encourage more editing over less editing, (2) judge these on a case by case basis, (3) rollback and move on in cases like this, where my edits clearly didn't work. :) But if they DID work, we celebrate! – jmort253 Oct 4 '12 at 6:36
  • 1
    @jmort253 I've expanded my comments in an answer. Short version: I don't think we'll ever get a solid set of guidelines for heroic edits, it will always be a case by case thing, imho. – yannis Oct 4 '12 at 7:23
  • 1
    @jmort253 "changing a closed, 0-answer question is somehow harmful to the spirit of Q&A or to the site in general" I don't have any issue with that, as long as the edits are in line w/ what the OP is trying to say -- I did it a lot in the early days of this site. – jcmeloni Oct 4 '12 at 11:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .