It happened many times that I wanted to answer a question on SO. I did some research, edited a text, corrected typing errors using Microsoft Word (my English is not particularly good) and created and tested a code example. But when a wanted to post it, I could not, because the question had been closed or deleted meanwhile.

This is very frustrating!

Note: While working on the code example in Visual Studio or on the text in Microsoft Word one might overlook the banner indicating the closed situation.


My suggestion is that if the answer field was visible at the time that you opened a question, you should always be able to send your answer.

The OP can still see the answer and decide to undelete his question or users can decide to reopen the question if they find the answer valuable. In any case it would diminish the frustration.

  • I think this used to (still does?) happen, though that was before the live-refresh features started sneaking in
    – Ben Brocka
    Jun 15, 2012 at 14:25
  • @BenBrocka: It still does, wait for my answer. Jun 15, 2012 at 14:25
  • You can actually still do this on the mobile version of SO, for some reason. It really confused a few mods when I did it. Jun 15, 2012 at 14:26
  • @RichardJ.RossIII Are you suggesting that mobile SO and full web version behave differently? :)
    – Aleks G
    Jun 15, 2012 at 14:27
  • @AleksG: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/128854/… Jun 15, 2012 at 14:27
  • @ManishEarthwantsmorewaffles Unbelievable :)
    – Aleks G
    Jun 15, 2012 at 14:28
  • @ManishEarthwantsmorewaffles should we close the question first ;P?
    – Ben Brocka
    Jun 15, 2012 at 14:31
  • @BenBrocka: Be my guest. I was expecting that one :P Jun 15, 2012 at 14:31
  • Just for clarity, I am speaking of the full web version. Jun 15, 2012 at 14:35
  • 1
    Hi. I have a good answer for your question. Please give me a few minutes to add it.
    – user1228
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:00
  • 1
    Good things take time. Jan 11, 2014 at 22:18
  • 4
    Does this answer your question? Incorrectly able to answer a closed question - you have 4 hours grace period if it's not deleted, status-bydesign.
    – Rob
    Nov 20, 2022 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


Psst. This functionality is already there for closed questions. But please don't use it, alright?

Anyway, you ought to be able to not answer such questions and vote-to-close, right?

You have 13k on SO. If the system works{*}, you really should be able to gauge question quality by now, and be able to accurately guess what shall be closed(or deleted). Questions that shall be closed should be treated just like questions which are closed--i.e, they shouldn't be answered.

So, instead of trying to answer these, cast a close vote and walk away.

Note that if you feel a post was incorrectly closed/deleted, cast a reopen/undelete vote and/or flag it.

*It doesn't. :(

  • If an OP deletes his question this can still happen very unexpectedly. Whether a question should be closed or not is a subjective matter. If others voted to close a question because they didn't understand it, it is not a reason for me not to answer it, if I think that I did understand the question. But the question is not closing or not closing. If I expected that the question would be closed (or even voted to do so), of cause I would not spend time in trying to answer it. What would the harm be to answer a closed question? Apparently this is possible on the mobile version. Jun 15, 2012 at 14:53
  • 1
    I agree with @Olivier that there is a big difference between answering a question that we should know will be closed, and answering a question that was a good question but that the OP has since deleted (presumably because he figured out the answer in the interim). In the latter case, I sympathize with Olivier, and would prefer his energy to not be in vain.
    – Kirk Woll
    Jun 15, 2012 at 19:32
  • @kirk see "ast line. You can always flag for undelete. Actually, self deletions are a problem that ought to be fixed separately. I have a feature request coming up on that (offline for the weekend, though, so it'll take time) Jun 16, 2012 at 0:15
  • 3
    Sometimes, what sways a question from being closed to being reopened is that a worthwhile answer that snuck in just before the close proves that a worthwhile answer is possible. Sometimes, there are questions where it's pretty obvious a kneejerk-close will happen, but where there is something worthwhile to say - the only question being whether others will think it worthwhile.
    – user136873
    Dec 8, 2013 at 0:20

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