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I have answered this question with 1.8k views, 16 upvotes (on Biology SE that's quite good) and counting. My answer is well-received (21 upvotes, accepted). Now people are voting for question closure based on off-topicness. Of course it's totally up to them to vote whatever they want, but still I am wondering -

  1. Shouldn't questions be protected that receive so much positive attention? Don't the masses have something to say as well? I mean wouldn't ~20 upvotes weigh more than five folks who think it's off-topic? Of course these numbers may be regarded as ridiculously low among Overflow folks and the likes, but to me they are huge nonetheless :)

  2. Am I right that protecting a question will not help me? that is just for spammy answers and comments, rigt?

  3. Lastly, can I flag a question like this and ask for moderator protection?

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    Votes don't really matter. Btw, 16 votes is not a lot. Take a look at this: stackoverflow.com/questions/1711/… – Mysticial Jan 20 '15 at 10:21
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    @Mysticial - look at my question - I am apologizing for the absolute votes. This is comparable to journal absolute impact factor versus within-discipline relative impact factor :) Biology SE is not big, hence the numbers dwindle. Relatively, however, i.e. to me - it does matter. It's all relative – AliceD Jan 20 '15 at 10:23
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    Popular != on topic. Popular != suitable. – Oded Jan 20 '15 at 10:23
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    So, you are OK with leaving off-topic, unsuitable content on the site? So long as it is popular? Do you realize that's a broken window? – Oded Jan 20 '15 at 10:26
  • @Oded - of course within limits. The question is put off-topic as homework. You're probably right and I should not bother – AliceD Jan 20 '15 at 10:27
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    this question is currently being rotated in hot-questions list. This typically leads to anomalous upvoting, see eg Prevent questions on Hot List from being upvoted by casual visitors (only rep is from association bonus). For a more general view on this, refer SE blog article: The Trouble With Popularity – gnat Jan 20 '15 at 10:27
  • @gnat - aha. That makes a lot of sense. Thank you. I understand and will let matters take their course. You are right. – AliceD Jan 20 '15 at 10:29
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    ...as for flagging for mod attention, see recent feature request: Let mods (and 10k?) know when questions go “hot” – gnat Jan 20 '15 at 10:30
  • @gnat - point taken. Thanks for helping here – AliceD Jan 20 '15 at 10:33
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    another, closely related question: At smaller sites, penalize hot questions having 3-4 close votes. "Indiscriminately advertising questions that are on their way to closure... hurts site community morale and dilutes the Stack Exchange brand..." – gnat Jan 20 '15 at 12:23
  • @Oded and gnat. Please understand. I am not OK with leaving off-topic questions and I take closing seriously myself. I am, however, also not OK with questions being closed on questionable grounds such as 'off topic because it is homework", when the question is clearly a curiosity based question. I think 'homework' is being (ab)used too often to close valuable questions. In general I think newbies are treated too harshly and in case of a much upvoted question I feel frustrated now and then. I understand and respect your policies, but closing is often a subjective matter. – AliceD Jan 20 '15 at 12:28
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    Pure popularity doesn't save a question, in this case though I really don't see why the question has to be closed. There is still no real consensus on the homework close reason. – Mad Scientist Jan 20 '15 at 13:22
  • @MadScientist- thanks. I guess that is my point. Closing a question on questionable grounds is one thing, but one with upvotes and accepted answer is another. – AliceD Jan 20 '15 at 13:26
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    my only point is that referring to flash in the pan voting/views on a hot question like one you asked about is very wrong way to justify it being useful or on-topic. If you want a solid, helpful discussion on it, you better drop this score / views stuff and refer solely to question text - and you better do this on Biology meta, because different sites have different norms on what kind homework questions are acceptable and what aren't – gnat Jan 20 '15 at 14:00
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    If you have a problem with "off-topic -- homework," the place to deal with it is on Biology Meta, not by questioning the closure of a specific question. Ask a Meta Biology question, and see what happens. – Shokhet Jan 20 '15 at 15:37
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Shouldn't questions be protected that receive so much positive attention?

No, they shouldn't. That's a slippery slope. You start with one, popular off-topic question. Then comes another one - not so popular, so it gets closed.

Cue complaints - "Why was that other one allowed? This one is just like it!".

Rules are there for a reason - if they are not enforced, equally, they cause problems.

Am I right that protecting a question will not help me? that is just for spammy answers and comments, rigt?

Yes, you are correct. And yes, mostly to protect against spam content (or other non-useful content).

Lastly, can I flag a question like this and ask for moderator protection?

You can, but more likely than not, a moderator would close/delete the post if it is off-topic.

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