I recently flagged a question for being off-topic based on its original version. (Q: setting up virtual host on windows apache) There was a clear reference to Windows 7 as a desktop OS and as the question stood it was not on-topic. 1 rep user, usual case of not reading the FAQ.
The flagging was rejected with the following reasoning by a mod, and my comment about the inappropriate subject matter was deleted:
declined - This was very easilly edited into an on-topic question by removing references to Windows 7
There were two questions that I came away from this exchange with:
- Should we be prioritizing helping new users to learn what is appropriate for the site, or turning off-topic questions into answerable ones?
I'm well aware of the recent meta topic on over-aggressiveness and how some of it stems from the never-ending tide of bad questions. The goal in this case was education.
- When questions are "turned around", shouldn't we leave a footnote in the comments to address the original problem?
This isn't "wahh my comment was deleted" so much as "wahh this was completely astroturfed over". In this case there was nothing left for the user to learn from other than the edit. Respectfully, I don't really think most of the people on the 'net will catch that hint.
There's an obvious compromise: turning a bad question into an on-topic one and leaving feedback that the original version was unworkable. But since that isn't what happened here, I thought it best to solicit feedback to make the optimal approach a shared one.