If an edit to a closed question falls far short of giving it a better chance of being reopened, please reject it as “no improvement whatsoever”.
And to editors: please don't make such trivial edits. For example, if a question is an off-topic programming question with badly formatted code, don't bother formatting the code. If you like to do this, there are thousands of badly formatted programming questions on Stack Overflow waiting for your attention. And there are plenty of open questions and their answers here that could use some improvements to formatting (especially of mathematical fragments), spelling, etc. Please use your editing energy productively!
On the theme of clutter through closed questions, the intent of closure is to be a transitory state, not a permanent one. A closed question isn't helpful; either the question should be improved and reopened, or it should be deleted. There are automated rules to delete unanswered, closed, low-scoring questions after a while. If you see a question that doesn't match these criteria, but nonetheless stands no chance of being reopened, and you have at least 2000 reputation, please vote to delete!
Here are guidelines on what to do when encountering a closed question:
- If you think it should be reopened, vote to reopen. Do edit it first if you can think of any improvement that would make the question clearer. You may want to leave a comment to explain why you're voting to reopen, or upvote an existing one; this helps other people decide whether they want to add their reopen vote.
- If you think the question should be closed in its present state, but could be reopened if the author improved it, please leave a comment to guide the author.
- If you think the question should be closed in its present state, but the question has useful answers, consider editing the question to make it a clear, on-topic question which matches the answers. In such cases, preserving the answers trumps preserving the original intent of the question. After editing, vote to reopen. If you can't vote to reopen but you're confident that the question should now be reopened, flag the question with a short explanation of why you think the question should be reopened (“bob's answer is the clearest presentation of homeomorphic endofunctors mapping submanifolds of a Hilbert space I've ever seen, and I edited the question to match”).
- If you think the question should be closed in its present state, that it has answers that are definitely worth preserving, but you don't know how to edit the question to match, consider asking for help in chat or on meta.
- If you think the question should remain closed forever and the answers, if any, are off-topic, redundant or not exceptionally interesting, then vote to delete if you have enough reputation to do so; if you don't, leave the question alone.