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I always thought that closing a question was a way to fight spam, homework and well-known questions. However in the last few months I see a lot of questions in moderation queue voted to be closed, while the questions are completely valid, upvoted and probably deserving some more discussion - it is not like the accepted answer is the only and ultimate one without any doubts. To give an example, I just got a notification today that this question was closed today as "not constructive". I don't know what's wrong with people casting such close votes, but I always thought of stackoverflow as a place for discussion, not as a place for a single valid answer.

So, I think that "close" votes for reasons other than "off-topic" or "duplicate" should be restricted somehow. I don't have a solid opinion on what kind of restriction this could be. May be disallowing to cast close votes in "not constructive", "too localized" or "not a real question" categories on questions rated above some threshold could help. May be the threshold should be put on answers. May be threshold may be put on the voter's karma. But definitely "close as not constructive" on questions similar to one referneced above is well, not constructive.

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Old list questions get closed as "Not constructive" to help new users understand that these aren't considered good questions to ask anymore. –  ɥʇǝS Apr 29 '13 at 21:41
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but I always thought of stackoverflow as a place for discussion, not as a place for a single valid answer. It may have been this way in the very beginning, but I'm afraid it hasn't been the community consensus any more for a while now. I'm not sure I'm happy with the direction that all this closing and deleting has taken, but it is standing policy –  Pëkka Apr 29 '13 at 21:43
    
@Seth, new users will continue to ask the same question (to be closed as "duplicate"), they will not investigate if the question was asked before. –  abbot Apr 29 '13 at 21:43
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@abbot There's literally hundreds of Meta discussions in the form of "why can't I ask this question while question xyz is allowed to exist?" –  Pëkka Apr 29 '13 at 21:44
    
@Pekka웃, I still don't understand how closing an old question solves the problem. These new questions still appear and still get closed, right? This is an indicator that closing old question probably is not the way to solve this problem. –  abbot Apr 29 '13 at 21:48
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@abbot closing the old questions solves the problem of people asking "why can't I ask this question while question xyz is allowed to exist?" and having a point. –  Pëkka Apr 29 '13 at 21:48
    
@Pekka웃, and what the point is? "Old question would not be allowed under current policy?" –  abbot Apr 29 '13 at 21:49
    
That's exactly the point, yeah. –  Pëkka Apr 29 '13 at 21:50
    
@Pekka웃, without those old questions this site would not exist. So may be they should be allowed? Really, when I review the "close votes" section I find that I vote "keep open" very often these days. This is a worrying indicator to me. –  abbot Apr 29 '13 at 21:51
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It was never a place for discussion. That's what Stack Overflow was fixing in the first place –  random Apr 29 '13 at 21:52
    
@random, so, does this mean that the best thing would be to auto-close all questions with an accepted answer, where the answer was accepted more than say a week ago? You know, just to discourage asking similar questions again. –  abbot Apr 29 '13 at 21:55
    
Well, the discussion about on-topicness and closing and deleting off-topic stuff has been had, and it's been really really painful. I'm not saying I like the direction the policy has taken, but if the community wants it this way, then old questions absolutely need to be treated the same way. It wouldn't make sense otherwise. –  Pëkka Apr 29 '13 at 21:55
    
Worth a look Reputation and Historical Archives –  Some Helpful Commenter Apr 29 '13 at 21:59

1 Answer 1

but I always thought of stackoverflow as a place for discussion, not as a place for a single valid answer.

You've always thought wrong


I love closing old up-voted non-constructive questions. It's a way of correcting the mistakes of the past.

They're problematic because new users will come, and post similarly formed questions, and wonder why their questions get down-voted and closed. It's only fair that the old ones get closed too.

just because we allowed that kind of discussion in the past doesn't mean that we should allow it now.


Mind you, there's nothing wrong with old questions remaining open, The only problem questions are the ones that would be closed if they were posted today; they're bad examples.

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So, does this mean that the best thing would be to auto-close all questions with an accepted answer, where the answer was accepted more than say a week ago? You know, just to discourage asking similar questions again. –  abbot Apr 29 '13 at 21:55
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@abbot there's nothing wrong with old questions. The problem is the questions that use to be allowed but aren't anymore. Old questions about concrete problems are still just fine –  Sam I am Apr 29 '13 at 21:56
    
The problem here is that closing a question disallows any new answers to an old "allowed" topic, right? May be a new flag like "no new questions like this are allowed under current policy" will do the trick? –  abbot Apr 29 '13 at 21:59
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@abbot that's exactly what closing the question accomplishes. You're thinking too hard about semantics. –  Aaron Bertrand Apr 29 '13 at 22:03
    
@AaronBertrand, its not about semantics. Closing question forbids further answers. To me closed question always looks like it is something wrong with the question itself. And I don't understand how can it be that a question that was asked, answered and voted literally years ago somehow becomes wrong now. –  abbot Apr 29 '13 at 22:12
    
@abbot It's because we've changed our mind about what's wrong or not, and yes, there is something wrong with the question you've linked –  Sam I am Apr 29 '13 at 22:13
    
Because the site has evolved, plain and simple. If you don't think your argument is really about semantics, I don't know what to tell you. –  Aaron Bertrand Apr 29 '13 at 22:13
    
@SamIam, put it another way: upvotes on old questions and answers clearly means that a question is useful for visitors of this site. I thought that the main idea was to be useful to site visitors. –  abbot Apr 29 '13 at 22:21

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