A recent question caught my eye because it asked a perfectly valid question, but only one of the eight paragraphs in the question was actually directly related. The others contained subjective opinion about the state of online play in this particular game.

A commenter helpfully mentioned that the subjective info was not relevant and ought to be removed. The original poster replied in the vein of "Yes, but I want to hear what people think about this, and the subjective content by itself would be closed".

What is the best course of action at this point? The original poster has had the issue pointed out, and doesn't seem interested in conforming to the guidelines. I definitely don't want to close, because there's a valid question in there.

Would it be reasonable to edit out the extraneous information? I'm not afraid to use editing to improve a question, but I am extremely hesitant to remove such a large percentage of the original text. I feel editing should be used to smooth out rough corners, not alter the majority of the post.

The other options I see are to downvote and/or add another comment (for community solidarity, I guess?) or flag for moderator attention. However, flagging feels like just passing the buck. If I know what course of action to take and I have the ability to do so, I'd rather do it myself than pass it off for someone else to clean up.

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To be honest, I think that in cases like these it is better to pass it off to the moderators if you're not entirely sure what to do, since they do hold some kind of authority. Of course this is still worthy of a discussion, but there is no need to be afraid of flagging. –  user56 Nov 4 '10 at 14:14
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Note that prior to the edits done by myself, Arda Xi, and most importantly badp, the question was at -2. It is now at +1, and maybe rising, because it was transformed from a cloud of noise with something tucked within into a question that got a correct answer. Not the most direct title, but it's the seed from which we contain better knowledge on our site. And that is much more valuable than leaving content which we didn't want in the first place. –  Grace Note Nov 4 '10 at 15:59
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Well, Arda mentioned it already: don't be afraid of flagging. I have removed the heavily discussive portions, but I did not remove all of the author's opinion. There were parts which flavour the author's words, but do not incite discussion in themselves because they're still surrounding a question. But I felt that the presence of those two portions I did remove were sufficiently excessive and tangential to the question.

The comments from yourself and DJClayworth illustrate the reality of the situation.

There are plenty of places for you to express your opinions on online gaming. This is the place where you can ask questions. – DJClayworth

@Mike Ultimately, this is a Q and A site, not a forum for opinions. While your discussion topics are interesting, this isn't the place for them. Here, they only serve to dilute the question itself. – sjohnston

Basically, it's a matter of noise clearance. If it detracts from the question, it should probably be edited. Whether it's giant subjectivity or just a big tangent from the real question, removing it is more useful than leaving it in. As far as etiquette in doing this, asking the user to politely edit it themselves is always a nice thing to do first. But make it clear that it really isn't the intent of the site to be a discussion forum, so if they don't do the edit then someone else will.

People come here for answers to questions, and it doesn't help them find the questions with their answers if it's buried in a whole bunch of junk. If it involves heavy editing to remove that junk, just make sure you don't lose the real question in the process.

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