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There is a permanent discussion about "acceptable" questions. This discussion is only on the content of the questions, e.g which topics are allowed and which are not. However, there are also questions, which are okay from the topical point of view, but otherwise very poorly formulated. In some cases, editing can help to make questions look better. Formatting and typos can be fixed. In some cases, the style is really poor, such as in the first version of the following question:

https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/18830/i-have-visit-visa-for-france-schengen-visa-i-also-consider-to-go-to-holland

Okay, this is a duplicate question, but otherwise the topic is okay. But the formulation is really lousy: plenty of typos, not proper capitalisation etc. In this case editing is not enough, the question has to be rewritten from scratch. I wonder if it is our job to do this? Shouldn't the original poster provide at least a minimal effort? I understand that not everybody is a native English speaker. Neither am I. Taking care of the style is a matter of politeness.

Hence, I would like to know if there are guidelines of how to handle these questions?

3

Flag it for moderator attention.

There's a specific case for this, which appears when you flag it:

This question has severe formatting or content problems. This question is unlikely to be salvageable through editing, and might need to be removed.

That's if it's beyond resolving. However, this doesn't help the end poster, so I'd still suggest closing them, and asking for clarification. IF they never return, and they're still 'unreadable', then we could delete them if we're ever cleaning up.

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This is where the wiki nature of StackExchange comes handy. Yes, it would be desirable if the original poster would make the effort to write properly but in some cases this may not be possible because they are not native English speakers. In that case, if you can make sense of the question, feel free to edit it to make it more sensible. (Of course, there are times when the intention is ambiguous, in that case just ask for a clarification and leave it closed.)

Moral of the story is if you think a question doesn't meet the standards of the site, don't be afraid of closing it. The standards of StackExchange are what set it apart from a forum. Provide all the help you can in form of why it was closed, how it can be clarified to be reopened, etc instead.

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  • "Yes, it would be desirable if the original poster would make the effort to write properly but in some cases this may not be possible because they are not native English speakers" Well, if you are enquiring about a Schengen visa and on three or more occasions you are not able to write the word Schengen properly, this is very poor style. It has nothing to do with non-native speakers alike.
    – user3470
    Jul 13 '13 at 16:53
  • "This is where the wiki nature of StackExchange comes handy." So you think that we should rewrite answers from scratch? The wiki thing is nice but one should not exaggerate. That's the point I wanted to make
    – user3470
    Jul 13 '13 at 16:55

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