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A couple of days ago, I was wondering about an apparent redundancy in the closing words of General Hux's speech in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What I should have done was sit on the question for a couple of days and figure out how to ask it, but I posted it right away as "Was General Hux's Speech Ad-libbed?" What I meant to ask (20/20 hindsight) was more along the lines of how rigorously he rehearsed his speech, but as it stands right now it's a pretty lame question, totally deserving of the downvotes it received.

So what should I do? Is there a way to admit, "OK, I asked a bad question, please don't downvote it any more than it already is"? Should I edit the question? Or should I just let it fade into the background?

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  • Assuming you typed that block quote by hand verbatim while listening to the movie, the only reason it's a bad question is lack of research (which for some reason isn't a close reason on SFF) where you could have just looked up and compared it to the script (which I'm assuming wasn't transcribed and is an actual shooting script - now that would be a valid question). – Mazura Dec 12 '16 at 2:20
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    Just don’t ever. Do. It. Again. – Paul D. Waite Dec 12 '16 at 11:07
  • @Mazura About the GR close reason: Should we burninate General Reference? – Möoz Dec 12 '16 at 21:35
  • @Mooz - If I went around DVing because I think something is GR, I'd have to DV almost everything. I'm used to ELU's close reason: "Please include the research you've done, or consider if your question suits our English Language Learners site better. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic." It's more polite than saying LMGTFY. You can ask 'GR' questions, IMO, so long as you include at least two (ideally, front page) contradicting sources. – Mazura Dec 13 '16 at 0:35
  • People pointing out the error are providing information for those of us who didn't know it was an error; so I consider it valuable. – Mikey Dec 15 '16 at 1:03
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If you think you can edit it into a good question, do that1. Always do that. Otherwise:

Learn from your mistakes and let it be

There's really nothing else you can do:

  • Asking people not to downvote is likely to have negligible effect; if anything it may encourage downvotes, because this is the Internet and sometimes people are horrible
  • You can't delete the question, because it has an upvoted answer. Unless you can convince Valorum to delete his answer (or convince a moderator to delete the question, which seems even less likely), there's nothing else to be done about it

Eventually, people will stop caring about this question; it's already demonstrably true that older questions get less attention, and we can see that looking at the timeline for your question: it got 4 downvotes yesterday, but only 1 today; it may get a couple more votes today, because of the meta effect, but I suspect by the end of the week you'll stop hearing much from it. It also doesn't hurt that questions with a -5 score (which your question doesn't have, but isn't far from) are hidden from the front page.

Everybody makes mistakes. What matters is that you learn from them.


1 Just be careful not to radically change the context of the question, or modify it in such a way that existing answers are invalid. Both of those are frowned upon by the community

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  • Great minds think alike? :-) – Rand al'Thor Dec 10 '16 at 17:19
  • @Jason what do you think of the question now? – Bob Dec 10 '16 at 18:08
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  • You could edit it and hope that people notice and reverse their votes. (Don't get your hopes up too high though - a lot of people who vote on a question never come back to it after that. The more likely possibility would be to get enough upvotes to counter the downvotes it's already had.)

  • Alternatively, you could just leave it. We've all asked bad questions at one point or another. Your question-asking history is good enough that you're not going to get question-blocked just because of this. Nobody will hold it against you.

There are also a few things you shouldn't do.

  • Don't edit in a note to say "please don't downvote this any further". Such notices tend to act as downvote magnets in practice.
  • Don't delete the question. You can't, because it has an upvoted answer.
  • Don't edit it so as to completely change its meaning and invalidate the existing answer. If you want to ask something entirely different, post a new question instead.
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  • I rewrote the question—how does it look now? – Bob Dec 10 '16 at 18:09

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