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I've been noticing a weird trend on Stack Overflow lately.

Questions getting closed for rules that aren't broken in the question in question, questions getting closed but the closer making zero comment to the user why it was closed, questions getting closed and being declared as a duplicate of another question that will have zero to do with it, and more. Could we get that looked into?

I suspect that some people are rep farming somehow by closing questions (maybe closing all questions that are competing with theirs at the moment they post, as just a guess? Not sure.)

If I'm right, since closing is specifically the removal of someone else's work (or multiple peoples' if someone else has commented or provided an answer), closing shouldn't be initially free, and that cost should only be removed once that close request has been reviewed and approved by someone else.

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    Probably a duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/q/1103
    – bad_coder
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:04
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    "maybe closing all questions that are competing with theirs at the moment they post" - Making up possible reasons without any evidence is not going to advance your discussion anywhere. Users do not gain reputation by closing and that is not a valid argument to any request.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:04
  • Questions aren't closed unless others also approve of that by casting their own close votes. The exception is gold tag badge holders with duplicates.
    – Warcupine
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:06
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    Closing doesn't remove content, it just prevents additional answers on the question. Also, "...questions that are competing with theirs at the moment...", doesn't make sense. There are way too many questions being posted on Stack Overflow for that to work. It also makes weird assumptions about who is able to answer which questions.
    – BSMP
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:08
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    Closing is already reviewed by at least 3 people. And if you can dupe hammer you earned that trust by providing valuable answers in a tag. You're asking for check-and-balances that are already implemented.
    – rene
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:09
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    Most often the problem with closures is not the closing party but the OP being unable to formulate a question that has some resemblance of a question with lasting value for visitors to come.
    – rene
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:12
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    can you provide an example question or two so we aren't speculating?
    – Warcupine
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:14
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    Let's stop pretending that anyone actually benefits by gaining reputation from closing. We are wasting time talking about a hypothetical premise that is simply not true. You are far better off discussing the merits of closure or investigating the real causes of suspicious closures than inventing a straw man to attack that will get you nowhere.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:15
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    stackoverflow.com/search?tab=newest&q=closed%3a1
    – BSMP
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:19
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    Does this answer your question? Each close vote should punish the caster by taking away some of his reputation
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:31
  • @gnat Yes, it technically could, although it doesn't address the hypothetical of bad actors, it does address the main question.
    – lilHar
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:33
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    hypothetical of bad actors is addressed in another prior question: Do users get points or something for off voting a question? Because that's all I see here
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:43
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    You are correct that a lot of good well-researched questions are unfairly closed. However, speculating about motives is in most cases outright wrong (in the sense that the guessed motive is incorrect - the motive is something else). Don't speculate about motives. Even if you could ask someone about their motive, they may not tell you the actual motive, but instead what they think is acceptable to you. Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 6:46
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    Motives are relevant- even if not in the case of individuals then in the aggregate. Group activity virtually ALWAYS gravitates toward what is in peoples' self-interest. Absolutely the fact that closing questions blocks people from answering, which makes it harder for others to gain rep, thus preserving the status quo for high rep people, is relevant. Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 14:11
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    Ask WHY closing is a good thing? People say it improves the site, but does it? For every closed question that was genuinely bad I see one that I would've liked to see answered - or answered myself. All closing does is prevent an answer. But bad questions don't necessarily lead to bad answers, and bad answers will be downvoted. So again, what is the benefit of closing? Now what are the cons? Good questions get closed wrongly, and an opportunity for someone to answer it and gain rep is eliminated. Seems like more con than pro to me, but I guess it depends on your POV. Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 14:14

1 Answer 1

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No.

Closing should not cost rep nor should re-opening gain rep.

We are curating content here. All posts should contribute to the (canonical) knowledge base an SE site wants to be.

If a question is deemed to have an issue, anyone with the privilege to bring these questions in front of other experts for review should do so without having to worry about their reputation cost or other consequences. When you add a hurdle for the initial vote or flag to be cast, less of those will happen and with that, we spiral down just above the quality level of the late Yahoo! Answers.

When a question is closed but can be salvaged, either editing, voting to re-open, consulting members in chat, or posting on Meta are fine methods to rescue a pearl. We don't want to risk more sand in the already delicate mechanics of these valuable sites.

since closing is specifically the removal of someone else's work (or multiple peoples' if someone else has commented or provided an answer),

Let me add that closing doesn't remove a question from the site. It only prevents it from getting (more) answers. All comments and answers are visible for everyone. Only closed questions with no upvoted answers can/will be deleted. (give or take, the options are a bit more broad then that but in the context of the question asked it is close enough)

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    "Only closed questions with no upvoted answers can/will be deleted." Isn't true, 20k users can break that rule (so can moderators, but... they're moderators) Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 22:11
  • "Let me add that closing doesn't remove a question from the site. It only prevents it from getting (more) answers." Exactly - so how does this improve the site? In the worst case you get a closed question and a BAD answer that's accepted. In other cases you get a bad question with a good answer, but no one else has the opportunity to answer and improve it. Or in most cases you get a bad question wiht no answers. Either way, since the question is still on the site, shows up in searches, etc., closing it - except in egregious cases - really doesn't improve the site. Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 14:44
  • @PeterMoore Bad answers need to be downvoted so the question can roomba. A bad question with a good answer might need an edit of the question so it serves its goal in helping finding the good answer. Bad questions without answers will roomba as well. So, if the goal still of an SE site is to be a canonical source of unique questions and their answers I think it improves the site if non-answerable or non-findable questions get closed and eventually deleted if no-one cares to edit them into shape. You're free to have a different goal for content on an SE site.
    – rene
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 19:51
  • @rene thanks, I wasn't familiar with the Roomba (I mean, I know the vacuum, just not in this context :)). I feel like I find closed questions all the time through Google and elsewhere; it's possible they just all had >0 vote answers and I never noticed. I do agree that the site is better if bad questions with no (or bad) answers are deleted. Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 20:14

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