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.

  • 4
    Probably a duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/q/1103
    – bad_coder
    Oct 5 '21 at 18:04
  • 26
    "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
    Oct 5 '21 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
    Oct 5 '21 at 18:06
  • 3
    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
    Oct 5 '21 at 18:08
  • 14
    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
    Oct 5 '21 at 18:09
  • 9
    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
    Oct 5 '21 at 18:12
  • 5
    can you provide an example question or two so we aren't speculating?
    – Warcupine
    Oct 5 '21 at 18:14
  • 13
    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
    Oct 5 '21 at 18:15
  • 1
  • 5
    Does this answer your question? Each close vote should punish the caster by taking away some of his reputation
    – gnat
    Oct 5 '21 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
    Oct 5 '21 at 18:33
  • 4
    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
    Oct 5 '21 at 18:43
  • 1
    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. Oct 6 '21 at 6:46


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)

  • 3
    "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) Oct 5 '21 at 22:11

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