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I've seen a couple of questions (admittedly by the same user) that are obvious (to me) attempts at "rep-whoring". Should this be added as a reason to close?

First question: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1368521/what-is-the-difference-between-dll-extension-and-exe-extension-files

Second question: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1363509/difference-between-vb-and-vb-net-closed

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Would be nice to know why I got downvoted. Was it a bad question? –  Matthew Jones Sep 2 '09 at 16:18
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Downvoting on meta can also just mean "I don't agree with a feature request". That's the problem with a QA / bugtracker / forum hybrid -- you never know why it got downvoted, unless someone tells you why. –  balpha Sep 2 '09 at 16:21
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First, anonymous voting. Second, on meta you will be downvoted for people not agreeing with you, for a bad question, because the wind blows, because we don't like your avatar, etc. Get over it. –  GEOCHET Sep 2 '09 at 16:22
    
In fact, you posted two example questions where you were abusive to users, despite the fact that you are wrong about the rules of SO. –  GEOCHET Sep 2 '09 at 16:26
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I need to blatantly gain rep so I'll have enough points do downvote people with avatars I don't like. –  user27414 Sep 2 '09 at 16:31
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The truth of the matter is, the author of the posts you linked to was very probably trying to garner some easy rep. And he failed, miserably. If you're concerned about the damage wrought by slightly more skilled users, then please see: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7322/… or meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1390/… –  Shogging through the snow Sep 2 '09 at 16:31
    
Well. That is awesome. The user was suspended. Any word from the mods on this? –  GEOCHET Sep 2 '09 at 18:04
    
@Rich B how was i abusive? I did not downvote anything, I simply voted to close ONE of the questions. So how was i being abusive exactly? –  Matthew Jones Sep 2 '09 at 20:36
    
@Matthew: I am referring to your comments. Since the question got deleted and the user suspended after your post, I cannot quote it. –  GEOCHET Sep 3 '09 at 0:05
    
Downvoting as I not only disagree with the suggestion, but I don't like the negativity associated with it. –  Andrew Grimm Jan 9 '10 at 0:50

9 Answers 9

up vote 17 down vote accepted

If it's a good question, there's no reason to close. If it's not, close as not-a-real-question or whatever or simply downvote.

Why the question was asked doesn't matter.

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To me, it does. Questions such as these are an abuse of the system. –  Matthew Jones Sep 2 '09 at 16:07
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Why are they an abuse, if they improve the site in general? If they don't improve the site (i.e. they don't really add to the knowledge pool) then that's the reason to close/downvote. –  Jon Skeet Sep 2 '09 at 16:11
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Matthew, there are two things in play here. The motive, and the question. We should not vote based on what we think the motive is. We should vote solely on the question itself. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 2 '09 at 16:11
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@Jon Skeet -- agreed, I have sometimes asked questions not because I wanted the answer (or rep), but because I hadn't seen a question on a topic that I thought was important. Or because I had a problem that I had solved and wanted to share both the problem and solution with others. –  tvanfosson Sep 2 '09 at 16:12
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...of course, I don't feel that I should have to decline the rep if others felt that the question was worthwhile. –  tvanfosson Sep 2 '09 at 16:13
    
And this is a perfectly logical argument, one that I agree with. It just bothers me that some (very few) users would blatantly attempt to gain rep by doing this. –  Matthew Jones Sep 2 '09 at 16:16
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@Matt: Better get used to it, everyone on SO is trying to blatantly gain rep. That is kind of the point. –  GEOCHET Sep 2 '09 at 19:30

It would seem that these attempts to allegedly gain rep failed. In all honesty, I don't mind somebody attempting to rep-gain with a legitimate question. If they try with anything else, they won't succeed.

Don't worry about motive. Just focus on the legitimacy of the questions.

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And I'm glad they did. However, I guess what I am asking is a way to readily identify those questions the community deems not as an inappropriate question, like most of the other reasons to close, but as an inappropriate manner of asking (by means of which one gains rep they probably have no right to). –  Matthew Jones Sep 2 '09 at 16:07
    
I want to stress that this was not a (tactical or other) downvote by me :-) –  balpha Sep 2 '09 at 16:08
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Don't vote by their alleged motive. Just vote on the question itself. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 2 '09 at 16:08
    
@balpha, I call shenanigans –  Nathan Koop Sep 2 '09 at 16:09
    
@Jonathan Sampson: I meant the downvote on this very answer of yours. It happend within 20 seconds of me posting my answer, so I wanted to stay clear of suspicions :) –  balpha Sep 2 '09 at 16:11
    
I didn't suspect anything, @balpha :) –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 2 '09 at 16:12

Were these questions not real questions? Were they off topic? Did they belong on another SO family site?

Why vote these questions and answers down? If it wasn't a DUPE, there is no reason to close it. The downvotes seem fraudulent if you follow the reasons for a down vote from others in the community.

Pathetic attempt at limiting someone's ability to use the site. It wasn't even misuse.

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First of all, I did not vote anything from either of these posts down. I voted to close the first one. Second, I only bring this up because this particular user did this (ask a question only to immediately answer it himself) more than once, something I think is an abuse of the system. –  Matthew Jones Sep 2 '09 at 16:14
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One of them is an exact duplicate. –  Brad Gilbert Sep 2 '09 at 16:55

A better reason to close is that they duplicate existing questions. That's always a good reason to close...

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It seems their efforts have gained them a total of 10 rep between those two questions. I think we can all sleep easier tonight.

In all seriousness, if questions are duplicates they'll be closed. If the questions are good they'll be upvoted. Frankly, asking questions is a pretty crappy way of gaining rep. It's far, far easier and quicker writing answers to gain rep.

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I disagree with closing the question because of a blatant attempt to gain rep. For example the difference between a DLL & EXE may be very helpful to some people.

[EDIT]

I believe that if the question is useful then it should be upvoted, if the answer is useful, then it too should be upvoted. They should be voted on just like you would any other question or answer.

I however don't think that this user should gain any rep from the answer, like Joel mentioned in a comment on the second question it is "good etiquette on SO to make your answer (not the question) community wiki."

So we should request this user make their answer CW, and vote according to whether we believe the question is good or not, not based on their intention to game rep.

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Why CW? Wanting to gain rep to participate more fully in the site is not a bad motive. –  tvanfosson Sep 2 '09 at 16:16
    
@tvanfosson, good call, you have convinced me, editing my answer –  Nathan Koop Sep 2 '09 at 16:53

If it adds something to the site, i don't see why it's a bad thing. Both the linked questions are incredibly simple, and very newbie, but it seems that's about it. Perhaps the exe/dll one is a little rep-whorey, since he answered it himself, but it's still adding to the knowledge on the site. Downvote it and move on (though personally i wouldn't vote at all) - i garuntee a lot of people have asked that question at some point, and lots more will again.

As for the vb.net question, i'm actually saddened that got closed - even if it was a little vague i certainly asked that question to people a long time ago, it takes a certain amount of knowledge to understand what the difference is. Show a non-programmer the wiki article for what .NET is as very little of it would be unerstood. Now the answer the guy posted to his question was terrible, and should rightly be downvoted, but the question itself was actually kind of semi-decent.

In summary, i think if they're adding something worthwhile to the site, then rep-whoring isn't necessarily bad. A reward for your contribution. Of course, if you make a habit of populating the entire front page with this stuff then i'd downvote it to hell, but i see no issue with a little knowledge being spread just because they discovered something they asked.

Any question that is horrible, will be horrible for other reasons than because it's "for rep gain".

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No matter how obvious it is, 99% of the time, we can not confirm (unless stated) the motive of the asker. Those are legit questions no matter how simple they may be.

Assumptions never go over well and just lead to problems. I say we just let the up/downvote system do its job. If there are problems, just flag. Mods are always there (or eventualy) to save the day.

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The first question was closed as a dupe and the second was closed because it was poorly worded and vague (although it's just 2 votes shy of reopening).

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Re-wrote and re-opened. OP's answer was crap, but there are others that don't completely suck. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 2 '09 at 16:26

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