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In April 2011, closing a question for some reasons (then off-topic and not a real question) caused the Community user to downvote the question.

Officially, this feature was removed in August 2013. Yet I still observe that closing a question as off-topic, too broad or unclear instantly decreases a question's score by 1, and reopening increases the score by 1. I can't swear that this is systematic but I've definitely seen it happen many times.

Here's a recent example. The timeline shows that the question received two downvotes. But while it was closed as unclear, its score was -3, and since it was reopened its score is back at -2.

I'm tagging this because the site behavior contradicts the official documentation. I don't mean this as an opinion either way on whether automatic downvotes should or should not happen: just get the story straight, please.

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Had a quick experiment on a per site meta - reopening a post cleared before the change reversed the -1 from community but reclosing it with any of the close options did not change the vote score subsequently. Could be something sporadic though? – Rory Dec 20 '13 at 11:10
Through truth be told, I haven't seen this is Ask Ubuntu. – Braiam Jan 7 '14 at 23:19

1 Answer 1

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Closing a question no longer directly triggers an automatic down-vote on the question. However, closing a question can indirectly trigger a down-vote in one special circumstance: if there was an active Very Low Quality flag at the time the question was closed.

Although it's not particularly well-known, Very Low Quality flags have carried with them an automatic downvote for about two years now. This extra downvote - attributed to Community - is cast when the flag is marked helpful...

...And closing a question with an active VLQ flag marks the flag "helpful". Hence, the down-vote you've observed coinciding with the question being closed.

When a post is re-opened, all Community downvotes are removed. As Rory notes, re-closing such a question won't re-apply the VLQ downvote (unless, of course, another VLQ flag is active at that time).

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Hmmm. Sounds like two more reasons to get rid of VLQ on questions: it's obscure, and it's debatable — is this question VLQ since the asker didn't put any effort into it, or is it not LVQ since it's perfectly answerable hence shouldn't be closed? – Gilles Jan 7 '14 at 23:29
Eh; I kinda like this particular side-effect. For whatever reason, over half the folks flagging questions as VLQ don't downvote - as far as I'm concerned, this is a way of extracting signal from folks too misguided to click the right button. Regarding your example, it was VLQ because it was very poorly written; you edited it to improve that, at which point it wasn't anymore. – Shog9 Jan 7 '14 at 23:35

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