Going through search results, answers have the same title as their questions, but lack the '[closed]' status indicator if the thread has been closed.

screenshot showing such an occurrence

This is an example from a search here on Meta. The title in the middle obviously belongs to an off-topic question here on Meta, since it relates to one community only (namely Stack Overflow).
Since there is no indication that this thread was closed, I proceeded to flag it, only to find out it actually had been closed.

This is certainly not a big problem, but it would make the search results clearer, and the process of going through them quicker, and point out if the information potentially gleaned from a snippet is actual or not.

Such a label could easily be ignored if it's not relevant for the user searching, but the additional information might prove useful for users in certain circumstances.

  • 3
    In what way would you judge the quality of the answer by the status of the parent question?
    – Luuklag
    Sep 17 at 15:02
  • 1
    @Luuklag It's not so much about that, it simply indicates that the question the answer belongs to has been closed, which usually doesn't say anything about the quality of the answers. If that doesn't matter to someone searching, they can ignore it just as easily as they could ignore the closed status of a question. It is simply more informative.
    – Joachim
    Sep 17 at 18:35
  • 1
    when I search for answers, I don't care much about the questions they belong to. Seeing such statuses to me would only be confusing.
    – Luuklag
    Sep 17 at 18:48
  • @Luuklag But wouldn't that simply be because you're not used to it? Direct additional information seems like something one can easily ignore if necessary, but saves one time when it is valuable.
    – Joachim
    Sep 17 at 18:50
  • 2
    It seems to me that tagging an answer closed it would receive less traffic and ultimately fewer votes. Which only harms the community. The question status does not change the helpfulness of an answer.
    – Ramhound
    Sep 17 at 23:49
  • How about [duplicate] questions? Will those answers also be labeled as [duplicate], even if they haven't been posted elsewhere? Sep 18 at 13:14
  • We don’t have threads here. The Stack Exchange sites are not forums (fora?). They are think tanks. Sep 18 at 16:23
  • 1
    @This_is_NOT_a_forum I know, you didn't have to change your username for that :D Threads are not exclusively linked to fora, AFAIK. And I believe people generally get the intended meaning.
    – Joachim
    Sep 18 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


The answer in the middle is obviously off-topic

Not really. Answer can't be off topic. A question can be off topic. Answer might be NAA, or low quality, in which case it should be downvoted and/or deleted.

If the answer still exists, and even has positive score, it usually means the answer itself is OK.

So the parent question being open or closed isn't really relevant for the answer, it stands on its own.

  • 1
    If an answer is upvoted on an off-topic question it doesn't mean it was on-topic. If I ask on MSE for someone to help me install a script to modify the layout, and someone replies explaining the procedure, the post will still be off-topic. Off-topic questions, there may be borderlines cases, should not be answered, plain and simple. Sep 18 at 7:17
  • @Mari of course, never claimed answers make the question on topic. Blatant off topic questions like in your example get deleted, not just closed, so it's not relevant. But let's take site-specific questions. Those can get answers which are helpful, then later be closed. As for your last sentence, can't see how it's relevant to this question, it's not asking to delete or not allow answers on off topic questions (well, it's impossible to answer closed question anyway) just to indicate the question is closed when showing search results from answers. Sep 18 at 7:24
  • 1
    The question identified by the OP, based on its title alone, would be off-topic on SO in any case. I based my reflections on your statement: Answer can't be off topic Maybe I misunderstood your intention. Sep 18 at 7:37
  • @Mari yes sorry, my intention was only about semantics. Sep 18 at 7:55
  • Yeah, sorry, that was bad semantics on my part, because it referred to the title of the question. Fixed.
    – Joachim
    Sep 18 at 10:24
  • Also, this doesn't really answer my 'question' in any way, it just comments on an admittedly badly phrased remark (note also that I completely agree with you, even with your last point—but, as pointed out, my suggestion would simply offer some additional transparency). But maybe commenting on these suggestions is completely fine on Meta? I forget.
    – Joachim
    Sep 18 at 15:44

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