Discussion has been limited regarding the acceptable extent and nature of revisions for questions, by contributors other than the author, especially over any considerations that might be specific to ELL, as compared to SE generally.
Presently, much of ELL is dominated by questions having a narrow context and given in poor presentation. Answers to such questions often receive very few or no upvotes, and commonly are terse and meandering. Many questions are given by new users, who may assume that SE is essentially a discussion forum.
The structure of SE is broadly designed for eventually generating, through group effort, useful, accessible, and discoverable questions and answers. Yet questions submitted to ELL may not be held reasonably to the same standards as those submitted to many other SE communities. To preserve balanced function within ELL, another effect must compensate for the differences in quality of questions originally submitted. Policies and behavior for contributors, therefore, also may not be held reasonably to the same standards as other SE communities.
A policy that supports and encourages community-based editing of questions, toward some specific object, seems deeply warranted. Nevertheless, actual policies and behavior would not sustain this demand.
I often have taken the time to create what I intended as a high-quality answer that has broad usefulness, while still being as helpful to the author as might be any other answer.
However, for any answer to have broad usefulness, it must be found and used by a breadth of community members, requiring that it be connected with a question that generally satisfies several key conditions, including a search-friendly title, sufficient breadth, and clear presentation.
In ELL, questions generally have many of the following qualities:
- Titles that express details of the case, rather than identifying the relevant general principle.
- Nonstandard grammar and usages (as expected for language learners), which often extend into parts of example text not directly related to the issue for the question.
- Lack of full variety of useful formatting, in many cases so substantial that example text is not distinguishable from the rest of the question except by content.
- Confusing ordering of overall parts, for example, opening with example text rather than a question.
- Inclusion of substantial anecdotal content, beyond that which offers any context relevant to resolving the language issue.
On several occasions, I sought to improve questions by submitting revisions, but most attempts have been frustrated by rejection. From the above listing, the only items for which proposed improvements generally have been accepted are (1) and (3), and even in such cases, only the most minimal changes are usually allowed, with multiple submissions often being required.
Resistance to (2) is especially surprising, though it has been previously discussed, because one presumes that those learning English benefit most from exposure to standard grammar, and might be vulnerable to confusion from examples that contain poor grammar that is never corrected, even if the reason is that such errors are not core to the question. While maintaining a welcoming feeling for authors of questions is a virtuous objective, such is not generally the overriding concern on SE broadly, and any explicit difference in policy between ELL and other communities should derive expressly from natural differences in composition and content among the communities.
I would politely request discussion and review over policies for editing questions by contributors. Requested is not unlimited latitude, but only relaxation of current constraints. I, personally, would wish to be motivated to make thoughtful and robust contributions to ELL, by creating high-quality answers, and then revising questions such that associated questions and answers may receive support from the greatest possible breadth of contributors and may confer benefit to the greatest possible breadth of learners.