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In seeing some of the potential solutions and problems related to this answer and question I noticed something. Why are closed questions allowed to obtain more reputation for a user?

So my recommendation(even though it's a pain to implement probably) is this(note, this includes all close votes except for migrations)

  1. When a question gets closed, only the question gets retroactively marked as community wiki. By retroactive, I mean all upvotes on the question before closing are undone. Also note, downvotes are kept. This means a closed question with downvotes will always have a net negative reputation.

  2. When a question is reopened, it gets retroactively assigned to the user instead of the community user. This just undoes point #1.

Details:

Point one solves these problems:

  • User asks a popular, but "bikeshed" subjective question. Even if the question is closed an hour later, they may accumulate 15 upvotes. With this system, those 15 upvotes won't matter.
  • Downvotes are kept to the user while being closed. This deals with low-quality questions that people should get a negative reputation affect for. However, after being closed downvotes should be assigned to the community user to prevent the downward spiral affect, especially since pitty upvotes won't be able to save them.
  • People can still upvote as a method of suggesting that a question should be reopened. The upvote just won't count for the author of the question until reopened.

I see no actual point in closed questions being capable of acquiring reputation, except for maybe duplicates(but only barely).

So, here is my feature-request. :)

Also, to solve the duplicate-answer problem you could apply the same thing toward the answers of closed questions. This isn't a big problem with any close reasons other than Not A Real Question, where many low quality answers fall but with users who try to answer them anyway with the small amount of information given. I think those users should not be discredited for their attempts.

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1 Answer 1

Ideally, closed questions are eventually deleted, except for duplicates. When this occurs, the votes accrued are lost when participants reputation is recalculated.

Further, users that can't vote to open or close can continue to show their support for the question, or against the question, by voting on it. It's something we allow so that people still feel as though they can have input in the whole process.

Generally, changing something to cw is a one way street, and changing that would probably lead to confusion, but removing reputation that has already been accrued would appear pretty hostile to users, not to mention making it so down votes still count.

Given that the reputation will be lost upon deletion, I simply don't see any reason to alter the current behavior of the system. Closing is the trial, deletion is the sentencing. The user(s) shouldn't be punished until the sentence is carried out.

Note that in some cases a closed question serves a useful purpose, such as duplicates filling out keywords for search engines. I firmly believe that if the question is useful enough to keep around in a closed state, then the person who submitted it should be eligible for any and all reputation they accrue from submitting it.


How do we tell when a question has been definitively answered, such that we can put it in a bottle and say, "There will never, ever be anything new to be said on this topic."?

You identify several things which you believe are problems, so I'll approach them one by one:

Why are closed questions allowed to obtain more reputation for a user?

Closed questions are eventually deleted, except in the case of some duplicates. When a question is deleted, the reputation gained is lost on the next reputation recalc. Therefore closed question, ultimately, don't result in permanent reputation gain.

This is not a problem.

In other words, your feature request won't be implemented because it doesn't fix anything - the issue you are proposing as a problem is actually already dealt with through the deletion process.

Just in case this isn't clear, I'll also address your remaining issues:

  • User asks a popular, but "bikeshed" subjective question. Even if the question is closed an hour later, they may accumulate 15 upvotes. With this system, those 15 upvotes won't matter.

Again, it will eventually be deleted, and the reputation gained will be lost. This is not a problem.

  • Downvotes are kept to the user while being closed. This deals with low-quality questions that people should get a negative reputation affect for. However, after being closed downvotes should be assigned to the community user to prevent the downward spiral affect, especially since pitty upvotes won't be able to save them.

If reputation gain is not allowed, reputation loss should not be allowed. We shouldn't be creating an unbalanced system. Further, when the question is deleted, the downvotes would be lost anyway, so there's no real point in making it hurt the user.

  • People can still upvote as a method of suggesting that a question should be reopened. The upvote just won't count for the author of the question until reopened.

This is not a problem. Once the question is deleted the reputation isn't an issue.

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2  
I thought closing just prevents new answers, not necessarily as a step to deletion. If a question is definitively answered, why not prevent close it? –  Gabe Mar 19 '11 at 4:52
    
@Gabe - An answered question can still accrue other answers. A question that is not constructive that could be argumentative, even with an accepted answer, could still accrue more argumentative answers. Hence, closing is designed to prevent those types of answers from being added, detracting from the value of the site. –  jmort253 Mar 19 '11 at 8:12
    
@jmort253: Once a question has a definitive answer, why should it be allowed to accrue more answers? If there's something to add, the one definitive answer should be edited. –  Gabe Mar 19 '11 at 12:14
    
@Gabe if a question doesn't belong on the site, it doesn't belong, regardless of whether it's answered or not. If we start allowing questions to remain on the site when they clearly don't belong, then people will start to post more such questions, because they're getting answers and the questions aren't getting closed and deleted. When that occurs, the signal to noise ratio drops, and then we lose experts because it's too much trouble sifting through the bad to find the good. Closing and deletion are the main method we maintain our laser sharp niche focus, and keep the S/N ratio high. –  Adam Davis Mar 19 '11 at 13:34
    
I didn't say anything about questions not belonging. There are plenty of questions that belong on the site but only need a single answer. For example, once the question "Which .NET 4.0 LINQ operators are optimized for IList?" has been definitively answered, further answers won't add anything. Additional information should be added to existing answers instead. I would see no problem closing that question. –  Gabe Mar 19 '11 at 14:30
    
Or am I wrong here, and "Protect" or "Lock" are a better fit for questions that belong but should not accrue more answers? Don't forget, closed questions aren't just deleted, they can also be migrated or merged (or both). –  Gabe Mar 19 '11 at 14:32
    
@Gabe I've edited my question. Questions should only be closed if they do not belong on the site, and if that's the case they will be deleted. I don't understand your assertion that there exist questions which should only ever have one answer, or a small set of answers. I think you may need to split that discussion out into a separate question/discussion and give examples of questions that belong, but shouldn't ever have new answers. Without good examples, though, it's not likely to gain much traction. –  Adam Davis Mar 19 '11 at 16:10
    
@Gabe It's important to note that some do not agree with me - check out meta.stackexchange.com/questions/51097/… for instance, where some believe, as you do, that some questions shouldn't be added to, but shouldn't be deleted. I think this is an issue that moderators can handle, though - it doesn't require us to remove voting from closed questions, or rep gain from such questions. –  Adam Davis Mar 19 '11 at 17:04

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