Is it possible to save a draft version of a question, and if so how?

The only options I'm aware of on SE are to either post the question (and perform consecutive edits) or discard (and lose the draft version). I think it would be useful to be able to save a draft (possibly for several different questions). This might be helpful for OPs to spend time to ask good questions, and would hopefully increase the quality of the questions that are actually posted.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ If I leave a partly written post, I have taken to pasting it into notepad on my laptop (often later editing off-line), and then pasting back into CV when I am ready. It's perhaps not the best solution for the casual question-asker though. $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ +1 should apply to answers as well. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Commented May 24, 2018 at 19:40

2 Answers 2


It is not possible yet to save drafts on multiple questions or answers, but it is possible to do that with one question and with one answer, since 2010-10-01. More details on this Meta SE thread.

Basically, each user gets one draft for questions and one for answers, and the answer draft is cleared if the user posts a new answer (the same for questions). Drafts expire in one week.

It is also possible to discard drafts if someone wishes to do so.


Interesting question!

Anyone has a third option of saving a draft to their own files, for a text editor or word processor. I don't know of a third option within Stack Exchange.

But I don't understand exactly what's being suggested here and how this would help.

Who would be able to see a draft? Clearly the OP, but anybody else?

If there's a way of saving a draft that remains personal to the poster (and possibly a few key others, say moderators) until finally posted, then that seems a fair idea. Most of us are often in the position of the little girl who supposedly said "How do I know what I think until I see what I say?". It may take several revisions before we have expressed ourselves as clearly as we can. It's just a question of whether such a facility can be added (but I would guess wildly that something like that has already been considered and rejected).

However, a CV question is not like a research paper or report. If a question is long, my impression is that few people would read it. (In contrast, a long detailed answer is often especially interesting and useful.) I am tempted to say, contradicting myself, that if a CV question really requires multiple drafts, it's likely to be too complicated to have a good chance of a good answer. However, there are many complicating factors, such as people not writing in their own first language.

At present posting a question in effect should amount to a poster saying "I think I have here a fair question in good condition". Experienced users often disagree, as daily experience shows. A large fraction of questions are too general, too vague, too tied to specific data, too trivial, too badly presented, to attract much attention, let alone to be of much long-term use to anyone beyond the OP. So, what else is new? Helping the OP improve the question and deciding what is of value (including ignoring hopeless questions) is a large part of what the site is about.

But I wouldn't personally be tempted to spend much time on something labelled a draft. If the poster is saying "I know that this is in poor condition and needs to be improved", my attitude would be "Give us your best shot and then we will have a look". The tail of "I don't understand but the smart people on CV should be able to help" could be lengthened to include "I know this is not well written, but the smart people on CV should be able to rewrite it and then be able to help".

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Re your impressions of long questions, that was asked here on meta. $\endgroup$
    – Andy W
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 13:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good cross-reference. That thread supports my prejudice: that very short questions are more likely to be too cryptic or too general to answer, very long questions are less read and the best length is in between. But, naturally, there is enormous scatter too in response to other influences and sources of variability. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ The motivation to save drafts is not the length of questions, but rather the fact that asking good questions requires effort, which might not always be carried out in one single session. Usually, when I've completed the writing-up of a piece, I tend to leave it for a while and rework it afterwards; this helps (me) improve clarity and conciseness. Also, there are often existing questions on CV that are linked to the question being asked. So, it might be needed to include reference to existing questions and mention why they don't address the question being asked. $\endgroup$
    – QuantIbex
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 6:31
  • $\begingroup$ (cont'd) This might also require multiple sessions on CV. The ability to save question drafts on the CV site would be a tool to help ask good questions whilst lack of it provides an incentive to post question immediately. The obvious option of saving drafts locally in text files is a burden for the casual question-asker. $\endgroup$
    – QuantIbex
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 6:31
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the extra comments. But would this be public or private to the poster? $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 7:17
  • $\begingroup$ Drafts would be private to the poster. They would be accessible in the questions tab of the user's page, possibly with an expiry date to avoid accumulation of drafted questions. $\endgroup$
    – QuantIbex
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ I see. I imagine your proposal would need to be forwarded to the powers that are above us. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 9:24

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