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A while back, somebody asked a question that actually contained three related, but fairly distinct subquestions. This question was subsequently closed a few days later on account of being too unfocused, but before I discovered that, I'd already typed up a detailed answer addressing all three of the questions raised, with supporting references. As the question had already been closed, I was unable to post my answer/s.

Would it be reasonable for me to edit that question to remove one or more of the subquestions (and post it/those separately), so that the thread could potentially be reopened, enabling me to answer all the questions raised? Or would that be going too far, in the sense of fundamentally altering the nature of the question?

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    I'm afraid, as with a lot of things, this is something that really needs to be treated on a case by case basis. If the questions are entirely unrelated apart from the same work, edit them out and advise the OP to ask them as separate questions. If they're more related than that it gets trickier and it could even be that the question is wrongly closed and not needing more focus.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Dec 22, 2020 at 14:31
  • If it's closed and OP hasn't done anything to reopen it, it's probably fair to say that it's fair game to at least remove the sub-questions and bring it on topic.
    – Valorum
    Dec 22, 2020 at 18:21
  • If a question should be closed then you should vote to close it rather than try to post an answer before it gets closed. If a question should not be closed then you should vote to reopen it.
    – Alex
    Dec 23, 2020 at 1:17
  • @TheLethalCarrot - I was going to edit in a link to the specific question (it was about Spider-Man's daughter/children), but I've been unable to find it in the archives. I'm guessing it was deleted some time after it was closed. I still recall the gist of all three of the subquestions though, so I may ask and answer one or more of them myself at some point. Dec 24, 2020 at 14:46
  • @Valorum - Thanks. I'll keep that in mind if another situation like this crops up again. Dec 24, 2020 at 14:48
  • @LogicDictates If a question is closed and has a score of 0 or less it will be automatically deleted by the system.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Dec 24, 2020 at 14:49
  • @Alex - I wasn't as aware of the 'needs more focus' reason for closing questions back then as I am now. Also, even knowing what I know now, the subquestions were related, so while I think the closure of the thread was fair, it was a close call in my opinion. Dec 24, 2020 at 14:52
  • @TheLethalCarrot - Okay, that must be what happened then. Dec 24, 2020 at 14:53
  • @LogicDictates Full rules here.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Dec 24, 2020 at 14:54
  • @TheLethalCarrot - Thanks. Dec 24, 2020 at 14:56

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A Solution

Since the whole point of Stack Exchange, in general, is to provide answers to questions; and since you've got answers to the questions all ready to go; and since the original question is now closed & deleted; I think the obvious solution is for you to immediately open one or more new questions & answer them yourself.

As for editing the original query, most SE forums follow a fairly ruthless policy of editing. You could have edited the question for focus (by deleting the "extra but related" questions) and notified the OP what you've done & why. This would allow them to ask their other queries and get credit for them. You could then answer those questions. If the OP doesn't respond within a reasonable time, then I think you'd be within rights to ask the other questions yourself, link them to the OP's original question and answer them yourself.

I hold that if the queries in question were interesting & useful enough for you to write up reasonable & referenced responses, then those questions are still good enough for you ask & answer on your own.

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