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I noticed recently while reviewing that several questions with close votes also had accepted answers. What is the point of voting to close a question with an accepted answer?

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    @gnat Thanks! This was very helpful. – Mister Positive Mar 15 '17 at 0:24
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    Got me wondering as well now, how come if we close a question we don't also delete the votes? Wouldn't that make sense? It seems it would change the dynamics quite a bit. – Kilisi Mar 17 '17 at 9:55
  • @Kilisi this is because one of the options for closed questions is improvement and reopening. System (and users) would go crazy if it had to remove-then-recover votes following close-reopen cycles. Deletion of votes happens only when question is deleted (on undeletion votes recover but this happens too rarely to matter) – gnat Mar 17 '17 at 16:20
  • @gnat No need to remove then recover votes I reckon, just delete them then if reopened do it as a fresh start would make more sense to me... but I don't really feel strongly one way or the other about it. – Kilisi Mar 18 '17 at 4:23
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What is the point of voting to close ( or closing in general ) a question with an accepted answer?

Whether a question is on-topic has nothing to do with the presence of answers, whether those are upvoted or not. We close questions for various reasons (see the tour and help/on-topic). As Masked Man said I don't see why the presence of an answer changes anything about those reasons.

Ideally questions would be closed quickly and in a perfect world people wouldn't answer questions that are obviously off-topic and destined to be closed without further edits or clarification. But there are people on every site in the network that answer questions when they should know better and you find them at all reputation levels. Very often these answers are incredibly easy ("We can't tell you this" or "Ask a lawyer"), get some upvotes and then prevent the question from ever being deleted.

The most direct advantage of closing questions when they have answers is that once the question is closed and it along with any answers have a negative score, trusted users can actually vote to delete them. Deletions become effectively impossible when questions are kept open for too long as you then typically do have answers coming.

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    "in a perfect world people wouldn't answer questions that are destined to be closed." - isn't that asking people to predict the future? I guess in a perfect world we could predict everything. – Joe Strazzere Mar 14 '17 at 14:31
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    @JoeStrazzere I agree, although some questions are obviously bad and shouldn't be answered, I've answered some that I felt were okay that later got closed. So I guess in a perfect world, we would all agree what's unclear, unanswerable, off topic, etc. – Kat Mar 14 '17 at 17:51
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    @Kat - and I suspect that The Workplace is far from perfect (otherwise there would never be any questions destined for closure in the first place). The site is designed and gamified to reward people responding immediately. It allows a wide spectrum of questions, some of which may be closed and others that won't be closed. It's clearly not always possible to predict the final outcome of any question at all - made even more difficult by the possibility of editing the question to bring it on-topic even when it started out poorly. This is just the nature of The Workplace. – Joe Strazzere Mar 14 '17 at 18:18
  • @JoeStrazzere I agree that was unclear, I'd forgotten to submit an initial edit earlier but I've rephrased it now. To be clear, I'm only talking about obvious stuff. Usually a question that people are divided on can be made clearly on-topic with only minor edits. That said, when it comes to questions that lack a good scope or where the OP isn't clear on the situation/goal, I prefer to see people taking to the comments rather than posting half an answer. I've seen a great deal of improvement in that area in the past year though. The community seems much less reluctant to close, edit and reopen. – Lilienthal Mar 14 '17 at 20:03
  • The site is designed to encourage people to respond quickly and not to try and guess if the question will eventually be closed or not. There's no incentive to hold back and little incentive to cast a Close vote. Thus, most questions get answers quickly and many are accepted. That makes the closing of such a question stand out, to the extent that some ask "Why do we close questions which have accepted answers?". My answer: That's the way the system is designed. – Joe Strazzere Mar 14 '17 at 20:09
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    @JoeStrazzere Unfortunately so yes, especially when it comes to questions that are HNQ material. Questions that remain "in-house" do seem to be edited more aggressively and receive higher quality answers. Though of course HNQ questions are often easier ones as well. – Lilienthal Mar 14 '17 at 20:10
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    The system itself isn't perfect. How many close/re-open wars have there been? – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Mar 15 '17 at 12:31
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I would turn the question around and ask, "Why should the presence of an accepted answer be of any relevance in deciding to close a question?"

We close questions when the 5 members of the community decide that the question is not a good fit for the site. The fact that the OP found an answer anyway doesn't lower the bar for the question.

  • Does closing a question remove it from the search results? Does it actually remove it from the site? I get the gist ( mostly ) of closing a question early on but I didn't get the point after an answer has been accepted. – Mister Positive Mar 14 '17 at 12:17
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    Again I will have to turn the question around: why do we want to see "unfit" questions in search results? An accepted answer means nothing really ... a poor answer to a poor question could also get accepted. We don't want such questions to clutter the site. Closed question doesn't get deleted, it needs further delete votes from 3 users. I am also not sure closed questions are removed from search results, perhaps the search algorithm lowers their priority, but this is just a guess. – Masked Man Mar 14 '17 at 12:46
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    In addition note that closure is not final, with 5 reopen votes, it could be reopened again. We have even had a number of close/reopen tennis matches here. – Masked Man Mar 14 '17 at 12:47

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