Why bother closing questions as off topic when they're still useful to someone in some way?

Is there any benefit or reason of closing questions which, while not on-topic per the FAQ of a site, can be seen as helpful to at least someone out there?

Someone still gets an answer to their question and isn't that good?


It is important to the community that questions are kept on-topic at all times. If they weren't, then we would slowly devolve into an all-purpose QA site, like Yahoo!® Answers. However, Y!A is not as good as the Stack Overflow Trilogy precisely because it is not as focused as us. By staying on topic, we ensure that the quality of questions are high and thus we attract industry experts.

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  • then we should delete that question not only closed – Jitendra Jul 11 '10 at 5:48
  • @Jitendra: If you have any particular question in mind, please link it here. If it is offtopic and has been closed for two days or more, it will likely be deleted in short order. – mmyers Jul 11 '10 at 5:52
  • @mmyers - for a example, this question stackoverflow.com/questions/3206246/… why people are giving close vote to this question – Jitendra Jul 11 '10 at 5:57
  • @Jitendra, visible closed questions avoid things from being reposted over and over again by new users -- at least for those who try to search for an answer before posting a question. (Apart from that, closing comes before deletion.) – Arjan Jul 11 '10 at 6:58

Because of broken windows.


Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.

When you see litter, please pick it up.

You may want to support this Area 51 proposal: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/1500/wordpress-answers

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  • this question is closed "stackoverflow.com/questions/3206246/…" and this is reason. "Questions on Stack Overflow are expected to generally relate to programming or software development in some way, within the scope defined in the FAQ." But web development is also a part of software development. A software which runs on browser, isn't it? – Jitendra Jul 11 '10 at 8:08

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