This question seems to suggest that it's common knowledge that it's not to be encouraged. However, if there is a simple (and usually really short) answer, should I not vote to close it and answer instead?

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If the answer is simple enough, I usually make it a comment instead and then vote to close. –  Bart Feb 17 '12 at 8:01
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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Is it OK to answer a question that you also vote to close?

Sure.

Situations where this can be okay include

  • The question is hazy, and you think it should be closed in its current form, but you think you know exactly what the OP means

  • The question is borderline off-topic (like certain kinds of software recommendations), but it was asked in good faith, you can give a good answer anyway, and it's too big for a comment

  • The question is clearly flamebait, but you want to give a good, measured answer nevertheless

when doing this, always consider whether it's worth making your answer Community Wiki - seeing as the question's closing will deprive your fellow community members from adding their competing answers.

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In the first case, shouldn't you rather comment and give the user time to rephrase the question, instead of closing it right away? –  MvG Jul 20 '12 at 14:52
    
@MvG the user can rephrase the question while it is closed, and then ask for it to be reopened. With 4000+ new questions a day, waiting for an edit (that usually won't happen) is not an option –  Pëkka Jul 20 '12 at 19:13
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You answer because you want to help the person asking the question, you close because the question is not a good fit to the site. The two are separate decisions based on separate value sets: it's perfectly reasonable to do both.

But be aware that the points you might get for answering the question are in jeopardy, because the question might be closed and deleted based on your other action! I for one have done this at least once, answer a question and vote to close and add a comment explaining why I'm voting to close.

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Except you aren't really supposed to answer questions if they aren't a good fit for the site. You know, there's a reason why closing a question prevents new answers from being posted. They are not separate decisions. If you VTC and answer I will downvote your answer 99% of the time on the basic principle that you're being a hypocrite. The other 1% would be more acceptable cases of this, like Pekka says; although in those cases you probably shouldn't have voted to close in the first place. Answering and voting to close should be mutually exclusive. –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 19 '12 at 20:56
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When voting to close (really migrate) as off-topic, belongs on another site, I think it's perfectly acceptable to also answer if you can. The answer will be appropriate even if moved. Under other circumstances I would probably comment, if anything, to help the user out. I'd rather not encourage users to ask bad questions, or repeat ones for that matter, by providing an answer. If the OP seems genuine in asking their question, they're more likely to get a helpful comment, but that's just me.

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