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Currently, questions closed with an OT designation are subjected to an automatic downvote from Community. The problem is that this applies to beta sites as well, and many beta sites take a while to formulate what exactly is on-topic and what is not. So, my question is, should we remove the automatic downvote for OT questions for beta sites?

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How about NARQ? If I'm not horribly mistaken the automatic downvote is cast on NARQ questions as well, do you think it should be removed for them? – Yannis Mar 26 '12 at 16:14
@YannisRizos - I had left that out intentionally... NARQ are usually much easier to identify, and the standard for NARQ is pretty similar across all sites. – eykanal Mar 26 '12 at 16:18

Why would you be closing a question as off topic if you haven't yet formulated what's on-topic and what's not? I don't participate in many betas, and on the one I'm mostly active in (Code Review) topicality is obvious, but I think it would be preferable to not close the question as off topic if it's not clearly off topic. Looking through the closed questions on Academia, I found these:

Aren't they clearly off topic? Isn't there a relevant Meta discussion declaring them as such? If there are doubts, wouldn't it make much more sense to leave open or close for their other problems (all three read as NC to me)?

I think it would make much more sense to revoke the automatic downvote when a question is re-opened, on all sites, not just betas.

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I strongly disagree. As the site determines what is or is not on-topic, it will close those that are deemed OT. However, it's not the user's fault that the topic was chosen as OT after-the-fact; why penalize them for it? – eykanal Mar 26 '12 at 16:32
@eykanal That's a valid point, if a question stays around for a while, it does feel a bit harsh. I prefer closing early, reviewing & improving and (if all goes well) re-opening, and if the automatic downvote is revoked there's no actual penalty (and I wouldn't go as far as calling a downvote a penalty, but that's another discussion). But as I said I don't lurk around betas much... – Yannis Mar 26 '12 at 16:39
@Yannis, it is a definite possibility for questions to be closed as OT in early beta - by the time the site is in beta members are discussing the finer detail of topicality, what is OT can be pretty obvious. – slugster Mar 26 '12 at 22:00

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