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A fairly typical case:

  • A question is not clear enough in the first attempt.
  • There is a lot of discussion in the comments. People ask for clarifications, the user answers questions, people suggest modifications to the question, people make guesses regarding what the question is really about, there are answers that are non-answers or answer the wrong question, the question is edited several times...
  • The question gets downvoted and finally closed.
  • However, it seems that there is a genuine question that would be on-topic, if it was properly formulated.

Now what should the user do in these cases?

  1. Post a new question (and add a link to the original, closed question).
  2. Edit the question and ask the moderators to reopen the question (or let people to vote to reopen).

It seems that our moderators prefer the approach 2. But to me it isn't obvious that this is the best approach. Once the question gets reopened, it looks messy and off-putting; there may be dozens of confused comments, the edit history is long, and finding out what is still relevant isn't going to be easy.

I would think that the approach 1 would be better. We would get a "clean start". An empty thread, with no comments and answers. In particular, those who didn't follow the previous discussion in the old thread would be much more likely to try to answer it.

Any other opinions? In particular, what are the benefits of the approach 2?

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    $\begingroup$ Your argument convinces me that 1. is better than 2. $\endgroup$ – Robin Kothari Sep 24 '10 at 0:36
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Yes. I was the one who said that the OP could reopen, but you may be right that it's cleaner to make a fresh start. Hopefully this doesn't repeat itself, otherwise we'd have K closed questions and 1 open question for large K :)

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