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If I decide to close vote a question as off topic for a specific site, I almost always give it a down vote along. My reasoning is that identified off topic questions aren't useful for that site at all.

There are rare reasons where I'm close voting questions without downvoting, which are usually:

  • The question can be migrated validly to another site in the SE network.
  • The question asks for 3rd party resource or opinion, but with valid research efforts shown
  • The question is referring a hard to find duplicate in the SE network (if it's more affine to another SE site, my 1st reason would drop in)

Are there more reasons to leave out the downvote when deciding to give a close vote for a question (besides of being out of daily downvotes before close votes of course)?


Should we consider an automatic downvote applied with a close vote reason chosen?
Similar like flagging spam questions are automatically applied with a downvote.

If it's not the reviewers intend to downvote along, it's easy to retract after applying the close voting action.


Regarding @rene's concerns: My experience mainly comes from Stack Overflow where the off topic reasons are well established meanwhile like here and here.

  • There is automatic downvote associated with certain off topic closure, I never grasped how exactly it works, but such thing already exists. I'll try to find more. – Shadow Nov 19 '17 at 13:17
  • @Sha The only association I know is spam so far. – user0042 Nov 19 '17 at 13:19
  • Close votes are primarily to keep questions on focus/on topic/unique. Down votes are about the quality of the question. I don't think those two axis should be mixed. – rene Nov 19 '17 at 13:22
  • Well, there was automatic downvote which was removed few years ago. However, there's still one special case which is described here: "However, closing a question can indirectly trigger a down-vote in one special circumstance: if there was an active Very Low Quality flag at the time the question was closed". – Shadow Nov 19 '17 at 13:22
  • @rene That's a good point. However for me personally it often goes along. – user0042 Nov 19 '17 at 13:23
  • The auto downvote on spam is applied by community, not the user. – Catija Nov 19 '17 at 13:26
  • @Catija pretty sure that's what OP is after too, and that was in place for years until it was removed. (So it probably won't be back.) – Shadow Nov 19 '17 at 13:28
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    Some dupes don't worth downvote though since they can function as a better signpost. – Meta Andrew T. Nov 19 '17 at 13:44
  • @AndrewT. Yup, that's another reason not to downvote. – user0042 Nov 19 '17 at 13:52
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    @AndrewT. well, question is clearly about off topic questions, not duplicates, which are always on topic, otherwise they'll just be closed as off topic, not duplicate. :) – Shadow Nov 19 '17 at 13:55
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    Possible duplicate of Downvotes versus close votes on questions – Malachi Jul 9 '18 at 19:56
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I kind of feel this proposal fails to take into account some of the changes of what a closevote means, and certain realities IMO.

A close vote dosen't immediately close a question these days - its put on hold, which I suppose is a kinder, gentler version of the same thing.

In many cases - the point of closing a question isn't to punish, or to get a question out of our misery. A good chunk of close reasons suggest that a question can be rescoped, fixed up or otherwise salvaged. Even if its off topic, its ideally a chance to educate a new user that its off topic.

Now, if we have automatic downvotes for a closed question, we have 5 downvotes which the persons who voted might not know about - and would need to go back, post edit to vote on. The people who voted to reopen might not be the same, and the downvoters might not feel the question is worth an upvote (since you can't change a -1 to a 0, only a +1). Considering the time delay, no one's going to go back and check either I suspect.

In some cases, a question is to terrible that it deserves a downvote. Manually giving it lets you remember. Other times, one might throw a closevote, comment and hope.

Automation is dandy- When it make a process simpler or more efficient. I don't see downvotes being automatic for standard closevotes helping anyone in any way.

  • Fair reasoning. – user0042 Nov 19 '17 at 14:43

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