When a question is closed as "unclear what you're asking", it gets attached the following message:

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

According to this statistics, during the last 90 days following this advice was successful precisely zero times -- i.e. no question on MathOverflow which was closed as "unclear what you're asking" has been edited and then reopened.

A total of 141 questions were closed as "unclear what you're asking" during this time, of which 41 were edited without being reopened and 5 were reopened without having been edited.

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ It's unclear if you're asking any question. :) $\endgroup$ – Lucia May 10 '16 at 22:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Lucia: I thought it's clear that I'm asking no question :) $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl May 10 '16 at 22:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Do the moderators or the 10k+ users get a notification when a closed question is edited? Maybe the problem is simply that when the question is edited and clarified it is already buried "below the fold" and no one looks at it to vote for reopening. $\endgroup$ – Federico Poloni May 11 '16 at 10:06
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    $\begingroup$ Edits to closed questions bump them to the top of the active question list as usual. $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek May 11 '16 at 12:37
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    $\begingroup$ In addition, when a closed question is edited, it is added to the reopen votes review queue where 3k+ users can decide whether or not to vote to reopen. A question (usually) remains in this queue until it is either reopened or 3 users have chosen "leave closed". $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl May 11 '16 at 13:17
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ There is a vote to close as "unclear". Is this vote ironically cast, or is it for real? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila May 12 '16 at 9:31
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila: yes. $\endgroup$ – Andrej Bauer May 13 '16 at 13:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Andrej: Your comment is not constructive! ;-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila May 13 '16 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila: yes. $\endgroup$ – Andrej Bauer May 14 '16 at 9:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Andrej: I'm sorry, we were looking for the answer "Well, it's not not constructive, but that doesn't mean it's constructive either.", but thanks for playing! :-P $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila May 14 '16 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Stefan Kohl: Which conclusion do you draw out of the data you present? $\endgroup$ – Helene Sigloch May 20 '16 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Helene Sigloch: I just found it worth pointing out that so few questions closed as "unclear what you're asking" are reopened after a clarifying edit. -- I'm not sure whether there is anything one should do about this, and if yes, what. $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl May 20 '16 at 23:23
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    $\begingroup$ Often this seems to mean: "this question does not show the sophistication expected of a research-level mathematician". If so, it's no surprise that edits for clarity are unsuccessful. $\endgroup$ – Matt F. Aug 27 '16 at 22:11

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