The issue comes up in the case of The meaning of the American idiom "pot calling the kettle black" which has just been placed on hold as being off-topic because the body of the question focuses on a series of survey-type questions.
Three things are noteworthy about this question. First, it is the only question on EL&U that specifically asks (in the title, anyway) about the meaning of the idiomatic phrase "the pot calling the kettle black." The closest thing to a similar question that I could find is "Pot calling the kettle black" ... but what if the kettle isn't black (figuratively speaking)?—but in that case the question is specifically about how to describe a situation where a (black) pot is calling a (not black) kettle black.
Second, the now-on-hold question was asked on September 15, 2013, which means that it has been a question in good standing (and has been attracting answers) on EL&U for more than 14 months.
Third, all five of the nondeleted answers to the question address only the question "What is the meaning of the American idiom 'pot calling the kettle black'?" That is, the answers address what appears to be a legitimate question about meaning posed in the title of the question, and ignore the (arguably off-topic) quasi-survey questions in the body of the question.
My questions are (1) Is it legitimate for an editor in this case to delete the entire series of survey-style questions in the body of the OP's question, and replace it with a restatement of the question posed in the title? (2) Or should we wait and see whether the OP will undertake some sort of major edit of the body of the question in hopes of restoring it to good standing—and if the OP fails to do so, should we consider this question dead and start over with a question that asks very nearly the same thing in the title but also (in the body of the question) avoids any attempt to poll readers, and perhaps shows some level of initial research into the answer?
On a more general level, I would like to know how much editing is too much in situations like this one, and also how much interest there is in preserving worthwhile answers to poorly framed questions like the OP's by rewriting the body of a question, as opposed to simply bagging the flawed question and starting over.
UPDATE (January 6, 2015):
Here is what I as thinking of putting in place of the OP's original question text, while preserving the wording that the OP used in the original question title:
We commonly hear the idiom "That's like the pot calling the kettle black" when, for example, a politician in one party criticizes a politician in an opposing party for some dubious action or behavior or comment. But how are we to understand this idiom?
Is the crucial implicit idea here that the pot is just as black as the kettle is? If so, what is the nature of the "blackness" that both of them possess? And what's wrong with a black pot calling a black kettle black, anyway? Also, does the idiom have a racial element? And when did the idiom arise in English?
In my view, the answers posted beneath the now-close question address the questions asked in my revision, and ignore the laundry list of questionnaire-like queries asked in the body of the original question. Consequently, it seems possible to preserve the various answers already given, instead of starting over with a new question that asks about the same things that the old answers answer.
But is that worth doing? I think Jon Hanna's view that everyone might be better off to walk away from the closed question and start over with a new one ought to be taken seriously. The issue, to me, is whether we want to make an effort to preserve the old answers or not.
At this point I'm not at all sure how users of this site feel in general about performing major surgery on a bad question to preserve interesting answers versus starting afresh. I also still don't know whether the old answers will eventually vaporize if the old question remains closed, or live on in some visible limbo where closed questions and answers wander the twilit landscape eternally.