Closing Etiquette: Why Do Some Answer and Close?
... and vice versa. I don't have anything more to say, just remove that paradox.
This happened earlier today so I'm inclined to think I'm one of the people you were talking about. (The "Programming language for the rest of your life?" thread?) I voted to close, but also posted an answer.
I posted a generically correct answer because it's pretty obvious that the question was gonna get closed in T minus 5 seconds anyway. While I don't normally think people should post on those questions, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make such a simple correct answer.
Personally, I usually pre-empt the community wiki flag (like Marc) if I think the question will get wiki'd, but I've done it so many times in the past I wanted to treat myself to a couple extra rep points. :) C++ has been slow lately! :(
It is a little irritating in some cases (depending on what they actually post), but I'm not sure it needs "fixing" as such; I've seen the two combined responsibly. My own pet peeve is when a 3k+ user posts a reply like:
This has already been discussed in this (SOFU) question.
rather than using a close vote. And even for a 50+ user it should be a comment IMO. Or maybe a "close as duplicate" vote should take less rep, since you are forced to qualify it with a related question... 1k or 500, for example.
I disagree wholeheartedly.
If I find a question I can answer (praise the lord), I'll answer it. I'll probably do a little googling and extra reading to make sure my answer is correct, then I'll post it. By that time, I might find that three other people have voted to close as exact duplicate. At that point, I check the link and agree with them, so I vote to close as well.
Should I delete my answer? No. It is still a valid answer to the question and will possibly be merged into the other question if a merge takes places.
Or I come across a question that is blatantly offensive "I'm so Fng frustrated with trying to get XYZ to Fng compile. You're all bastards." So I edit out the profanity and character attacks, add comment that explains why, add a downvote, and attempt to answer the question as best I can. Then the OP rolls back my edit. At that point, I'd flag a moderator and vote to close for blatantly offensive.
Spam would be the same situation as the first problem. I might not realize it is spam when I am answering.
Basically, most people will likely try to answer a question if possible and then vote to close as a last resort.
If you see any abusive behaviour, you should flag it. But I think than banning answering/closing won't stop any actual abuse, and it would disallow completely valid courses of action.
I've voted to close and answered before, and the primary reason is that I want to give the user some help, even though the question is doomed.
Often I'll leave a comment instead, but sometimes the answer won't fit, and other times I feel the best spot is in the answer space, since that's going to be slightly more visible to a newbie to the site.
The only reason, so far, that has been given for NOT doing this is that one might gain rep, and then deny others the chance to do so as well.
Unfortunately it's a strawman argument - once the question is closed it's on the path for deletion, and once deleted it will no longer count towards your rep, which will change when your rep is recalculated. Some account for that fact by wiki-ing their answer so they don't have as much a rep loss later, but it doesn't matter whether it's thrown away immediately, or lost later during a rep recalc.
So there's no reason not the help the poster out, while also saying, "Sorry, this isn't the right site for this question..." It's not a paradox. It's not terribly rep-whorish. And there's no need to put in place a technical fix for something that is already handled very well by the existing mechanisms.
I will treat this as two cases: