I was the editor of the question, and I edited it after it had received four close votes for various reasons. It was an attempt to save it from closure. I tried to address the closure issues without changing the nature of the question.
After rereading the question many times and considering all the comments, with their diverse interpretations, and my own original confusion, the sources of the closure issues gelled. The question, taken as a whole, also gelled and was actually clear. However, the question wording and organization made it easy to miss the actual issue. It was obvious from the comments, close votes, and my own initial read that it had already happened with many readers.
I left the original question alone so as not to alter the original wording in any way, and supplemented it with a more organized summary of what was presented in the question. Many of the close votes and comments interpreted various elements of the question as off-topic or tangential. So I started the addition with a sub-title to indicate that the purpose of the addition was to provide the same information focused in a clearly on-topic way on the English issue.
Clare's question here characterizes the original post as clear and my edit as a repackaging. I don't know if Clare was among the early readers of the question (pre-edit), or viewed it only after the edit. If an early reader, and the interpretation of the question hasn't changed, then perhaps Clare was not among those with diverse interpretations. If the first view was post-edit, then perhaps my summary provided some context that made the original wording clear.
In any event, if my summary is seen as a repackaging, then it was successful in not changing the meaning of the question. That was exactly what I was trying to do.
Clare's question here describes the summary as exploding the original question and creating context that not all answerers are going to agree with. I don't believe the summary does that. It doesn't create anything that wasn't already in the question. The original problem was that readers were interpreting pieces of the question outside the entirety of the question's context, and that's what my edit sought to solve.
So answerers are still free to diverge in any direction they want, but hopefully there will be less of it based simply on misinterpretation. And I should point out that if the question went to closure, that point would be moot because there could be no more answerers.
However, the edit did double the length of the question, the unfortunate price of leaving the original words intact. Also, my repackaging means that half of the words are not literally the words of the OP. Sasha hasn't returned yet, and his/her opinion should really be what drives this. He/she could choose to chop off my edit or rework the question so no restatement is necessary. Or, the question could have been a fleeting one and Sasha won't return.
But Clare's question here does raise a legitimate question of, in general, how much editing is too much, and on this question, whether my edit materially changed the OP's intent and whether it helped or hurt the question.
I can offer two indicators:
- The close voting stopped. None of the close voters have returned to retract their votes, but the current four votes accumulated pretty quickly and that action stopped after the edit. So hopefully, the edit solved the closure issues.
- My recollection is that prior to the edit, the question was at a net voting of approximately zero (+/- 1). Since the edit, it has gone to a net of +6. I don't know how much, if any, of that is due to the edit, but just sayin'.
So I would also welcome input and guidance on the issue.