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I saw some good questions appearing on Stack Overflow, but they were rather broad or opinion based like (which is the good function to use or which is the good programming languages for a project),

These questions started getting so many comments as "voting to close because primarily opinion based" and suddenly saw some users answering the question like "reserving the spot as the question is to be closed".

Is it allowed to answer like above and hold the spot quickly before the question stops accepting the answer?

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Please flag such answers as "Not an Answer". It also helps to down-vote them (if you have enough reputation). Obviously, only flag/down-vote the answer while it's in the "this is a placeholder" state. If you flag the edited answer then the moderator might not check (or see) the revision history and decline your flag.

Also, if you leave a comment it will cut short the 5 minute "grace period" where edits don't show as separate revisions. This is important as it a) gives the moderator history to look at when handling your "NAA" flag and b) shows up this behaviour to all other users who check the revision history as well.

Doing all of these will make it clear that such behaviour is not acceptable.

There's nothing wrong with posting an answer on a question other people believe should be closed —they might be wrong— but there is lots wrong in doing the way you describe.

  • "Please flag such answers" > generally they do answer the question through a quick comment-like answer. At the time the flag is evaluated, the post has been edited already. (And I even think the flag gets marked helpful since it was edited, so it never gets actually handled) – Patrick Hofman Oct 31 '16 at 12:00
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    @PatrickHofman - the answer that states "this is a placeholder" is not an answer. The answer that it's edited into might be one, but that's not what I'm addressing here. – ChrisF Oct 31 '16 at 12:01
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    Okay, I thought is wasn't in there literally. If so, it is flaggable. If that is the case, I do want to note it is important to comment. It saves that revision in the revision history when it gets edited. – Patrick Hofman Oct 31 '16 at 12:03
  • "prevent the poster making an edit within the 5 minute "grace period"" - Is this new? I don't recall ever seeing this rule. Does it actually prevent edits? Or does it simply remove the grace period for no history? – Mysticial Oct 31 '16 at 13:05
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    Since a while the edit grace period restarts after a comment. – Patrick Hofman Oct 31 '16 at 13:06
  • Oh nevermind, it's been around for a while. And it doesn't actually prevent edits. Otherwise I would've noticed it. – Mysticial Oct 31 '16 at 13:10
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Technically it is allowed since the question isn't closed yet (and even if it gets closed, it still excepts an answer the following minutes or hours after it was closed). Of course, it does have to answer the question, but often a short comment-style answer will do just enough to attract some votes already.

The question is: do we want such answers? The answer to that question is clearly no. Posting a placeholder answer to work out the answer later is a common way to get some quick reputation. However, there is nothing that actually stops them.

If the answer gets some votes, the question won't be deleted, even when it is quickly closed. The user posting that mediocre answer can keep their reputation, so 'all is good' for them. That is the core issue here: there is nothing withholding users to post bad answers to bad questions. That definitely needs fixing.

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