There have been several instances where I have made a fairly elaborate response to a question, only to have it be closed a few seconds before I have posted my solution. This is incredibly annoying, and I was wondering if StackOverflow might consider changing the interface so that one cannot start editing/posting a new answer once the question has been closed, but answers crafted while the question was still open will be allowed to be submitted. What do others think about this approach to closing questions?

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    no, thank you. this kind of thing has happened in the past (usually by bugs that get fixed). instead of "solving" the "problem" with this "feature", consider not answering questions that look like they'll be closed. – quack quixote Apr 30 '10 at 1:23
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    Or when closed as a duplicate, copy your answer to the master question instead. – Arjan Apr 30 '10 at 5:59
  • You can still add an answer if you're in the middle: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/38228/… – random Apr 30 '10 at 9:32
  • @random, good link. However, it's happened to me as well (a long time ago), that I could not post an answer as it was meanwhile closed. Maybe the various close reasons have different rules for that? – Arjan Apr 30 '10 at 10:43

Questions usually get closed for a good reason. And if so, you shouldn't answer them in the first place.

If a question is closed when it shouldn't, it will be opened again, most probably, so just copy your elaborate answer to some file, waiting for that to happen, and answer again.

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    Yeah. The whole community janitoring process would get clogged by this. Plus, it would become possible to keep questions open by having sock puppet accounts "edit" an answer. – Pekka Apr 30 '10 at 10:19
  • @Gnoupi, questions that are closed are almost never reopened... and many of the questions that I have been in the process of answering when they get closed do not appear to have been closed for a good reason (otherwise I would not have attempted to answer). – Michael Aaron Safyan Apr 30 '10 at 15:44
  • @Michael - if a question is closed for a wrong reason and doesn't seem to be reopened (for example because it's not on first page anymore), flag it for moderator, if you are sure that it has no reason to be closed. At least that's how we would do on SU. – Gnoupi Apr 30 '10 at 17:37

That is an excellent idea, there's nothing worse than spending time on an answer, to find it was all a waste. It shouldn't be too hard to implement that.

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This used to happen, actually, until people realized that they could post to closed questions simply by changing the HTML on the page to submit a reply to a closed question. Instead of adding security to prevent this but still allow users to complete their responses to a question that's closed, the ability to post to a closed question was removed completely.

Now when posting a reply, there is a periodic check (I think it's every minute, but I'm not sure) to see if any new answers are posted, and to see if the question has been closed in the meantime. As such, you'll only lose a minute's worth of creating an answer. Sure, it's annoying, but losing a minute isn't that big of a deal.

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    you'll only lose a minute's worth of creating an answer -- if the question gets closed right away. If someone starts answering right away and the question gets closed after x minutes, then that would be (x+1) minutes of editing that are lost. – Arjan Apr 30 '10 at 5:57

It has happened to me a few times, and is highly annoying. The notion that only questions that should get deleted get deleted is wrong. Sometimes, people will delete their questions on a whim.

I wouldn't touch the asker's ability to delete their question, though. It should rather be ensured that the answer doesn't get lost (i.e. that <10k answerers have the chance to salvage the text through copy+paste).

If the answerer was posting a brilliant answer, it stands to reason they can open a question of their own, and answer it.

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    closed, not deleted, in this case though. – Gnoupi Apr 30 '10 at 8:38
  • @Gnoupi I agree with you in regards to closed questions (which is the case here, I overlooked that). But people sometimes delete their (good) questions, for whatever reason. Doing research on such a question, and then losing the results because the asker chose to delete it, is annoying and you should at least be able to keep what you've written. – Pekka Apr 30 '10 at 8:47
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    @Pekka - I agree, but this is another problem. A great answer will be lost anyway if the question is deleted later. It's not the same question. Here, the question is more about questions closed during writing. – Gnoupi Apr 30 '10 at 9:31
  • @Gnoupi I see. In that case, I vote to leave things as they are. A closing you can usually see coming. – Pekka Apr 30 '10 at 10:03
  • @Pekka, not necessarily... I might begin answering a question when there are no moves to close it, only to have it be closed a few seconds before posting my answer. – Michael Aaron Safyan Apr 30 '10 at 15:46
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    @Michael the case @Gnoupi is making is that with a bit of SO experience, it's mostly - not always, but mostly - possible to tell if a question is going to be closed, and I can confirm that. If somebody preparing an answer would prevent closing, it would break the whole process of community moderation if I'm not mistaken, something that's too high a price even if there were a big benefit. – Pekka Apr 30 '10 at 16:20

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