When I'm reviewing suggested edits, I occasionally encounter suggestions for questions that are on hold. These suggestions tend to tidy the question up a bit, fixing a bit of grammar and formatting. I understand these editors are trying to help, but it seems like wasted effort when the author has not stepped in to fix the primary problem that led to the question being put on hold.

I've accepted many such edits on the principle that a) it's pretty harmless, b) it encourages helpful participation, and c) the author might come back and fix the main problem, making the edit helpful in the future. But on the other hand, this sort of edit may be too trivial to be worth encouraging. And the effort would be more helpful if it were directed towards tidying questions that are not being closed.

How do you handle these cases?

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    Furthermore, I think an such an edit can prematurely place a question into the re-open queue: meta.stackexchange.com/a/196078/225179 & meta.stackoverflow.com/a/256572/1864816. – Scortchi Sep 6 at 13:38
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    @Scortchi Thanks for pointing that out, I wasn't aware of that and it changes the calculus a bit. – mkt Sep 6 at 13:43
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    Yes - if I understand right such edits can deprive the OP of their chance to automatically put their question into the re-open queue by editing it. – Scortchi Sep 6 at 13:46
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    @Scortchi Those points would seem to settle things clearly in favour of rejecting such edits. – mkt Sep 6 at 15:51
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I reject such edits.

As @Scortchi notes, an initial edit of a closed question bumps it into the reopen queue. However, if the edit does not address the reason for closure, that thread should be rejected for reopening. At that point, the OP has lost their first, easiest opportunity for having their question reopened. (It is still possible for the thread to be reopened, and even for it to enter the reopen queue, but it's not automatic.) On the other hand, it is possible that, simply by virtue of being in the reopen queue, it will be reopened inappropriately, despite the fact that the problem has not been addressed. Either way, such edits seem to increase the chance of a poor outcome.

On the other hand, closed threads are often purged (deleted) automatically. Editing them can interrupt this process. Even if it doesn't, I don't see much value in having tidier threads deleted instead of messier ones—in either case they're gone and no one will notice their grammar and spelling.

In sum, there are several possible downsides and little upside from such edits.

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    I understand your reasoning. However I'd like to draw attention to one potential upside from this kind of edits. Namely, these are often the first steps that low-reputation users take in participating in the site, e.g., users who get the +100 network bonus and can therefore immediately edit. Rejecting their edits risks permanently souring them on CV. The Music.SE community managed to do exactly that to me, giving pretty much your rationale (though for tag edits). Just something to maybe keep in mind. – Stephan Kolassa Sep 7 at 12:57
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    @StephanKolassa, that looks like pretty shoddy treatment over there. I don't agree w/ their reasoning. I would have approved those edits. I often approve of small edits by newer users here. My main exceptions are closed threads (as above) & trivial edits to old, inactive threads. Often I will choose the [improve edit] option for imperfect suggestions, rather than reject. They could have done that at Music: Practice & Theory; I doubt their time was so valuable they needed to flatly reject edits that were improvements just b/c they didn't improve the excerpts enough. – gung Sep 7 at 13:32

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