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I was just writing a nice and long post to a question on meta. Just as I was finishing up, I saw the dreaded No more answers will be accepted banner appear. It was closed. So all that time was wasted drafting the answer due to the closure.

So I would suggest a notification when in the answer pane of new close votes when they happen. That way you can figure out if you're getting close. If you're a 250 rep user, show how many votes there are. If you're not, just show that the post is close to being closed, and to hurry up (perhaps at 4 close votes).

As it stands right now, it is a disincentive to write a good answer to a controversial or possibly duplicated post (which to newer members is hard to know).

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For the record, if the question gets reopened, then your draft is actually retained (provided you didn't produce a new draft elsewhere). We had an incident on Gaming where we discovered exactly that. Doesn't affect how helpful it is to know about impending closures (and that example was closed by a single user, anyway), but it's some form of relief. –  Grace Note Feb 28 '11 at 20:18
    
Also, I may sound bitter, but I really don't mean to be. I'm fine, and I know how this site works by now, so I should have known better. But something like a countdown or at least some kind of advanced warning would have been nice so that I could either have posted or stopped responding... Just ranting with a feature suggestion I guess... –  ircmaxell Feb 28 '11 at 20:20
    
I agree completely –  KennyCason Feb 28 '11 at 20:23
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"show how many votes there are. If you're not, just show that the post is close to being closed, and to hurry up" -- I'm pretty sure sure the post closing means it shouldn't be answered, not "hurry up" –  Michael Mrozek Feb 28 '11 at 20:25
    
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2 Answers

It is better not to answer a question that has any valid close votes. If it is not clear that the first 1 or 2 close votes are wrong, just move on and find a better question to answer.

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True, though <3k users cannot see the pending close votes. (Auto-comments for possible duplicates aside.) And even the first votes might be cast while typing. –  Arjan Apr 19 '11 at 14:36
    
@Arjan, maybe <3k users should be able to see the number of close votes –  Ian Ringrose Apr 19 '11 at 16:27
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As it stands right now, it is a disincentive to write a good answer to a controversial or possibly duplicated post (which to newer members is hard to know)

There should always be a disincentive to answer a duplicate post. Even if you have the best possible answer to a question, if the question's an exact duplicate of another, your answer should be going to the original question. I don't see the virtue in telling people to "hurry up" and post their answer so that they can farm some rep from a question that shouldn't be answered.

As for controversial posts, those posts are usually indicated by a balance of up/down votes, not close votes. If it's off topic, it shouldn't be answered and the disincentive makes sense.

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