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Let questions stay open for a minimum amount of time before being closed?

This is has happened to me a few times, and it's getting annoying. I post a question, sometimes for discussion, and within hours it gets closed before I have the chance to read the answers or comments or make things clearer if some people think it's a duplicate. I want to go "No.. No. it's close to some other question but it's not a real duplicate.. let me clarify". It seems there are some people are just too click happy to downvote or close questions.

Some of us do not 'live' in SO and we don't check in every 10 minutes the whole day. So give me a chance to answer questions or make things clearer before executing the victim.

Proposal: Force a question to stay open for some period of time before it gets closed.
(I had issues with the re-open option). The other issue is that once a question is closed, those people who left comments or answers are gone.

  • 1
    Can you link to the questions that have been closed too quickly? Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 6:29
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    Even in closed questions you can add a comment and hope for reopening.
    – malach
    Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 6:41
  • @Barry: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/62174/… Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 6:50
  • @Ralph Rickenbach: People are discouraged to read closed questions. Basically causing traffic to go elsewhere. I also don't want to be in a position for hoping for something when there's an option to make this not happen. Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 6:52
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    @Tony. People are discouraged to read closed questions so that the question that should have the latest answer is updated. I really don't see the problem. The systems works, and there are various mechanisms in place to ensure the correct question gets the attention it needs. I don't believe questions are getting closed to fast. In fact I think they are taking too long to be closed. Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 8:14
  • Questions that are a day old are not that visible any more and therefore do not get closed any more. It would be necessary to have close votes immediately and just postpone the actual closing ("will be closed in 23:15 hours"). During that time reopening and additional close votes could turn this into a real mess. As for people leaving comments and answers being gone, no problem: send them a comment with their name like this: @Tony. They will come back.
    – malach
    Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 8:29
  • @Ralph That only works if they actually wrote a comment or made a revision.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 12:16
  • How long are we supposed to have bad questions out there? Why do we want the front page cluttered with useless questions that have no external indication (like [closed]) that they're unsuitable here? Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 15:25
  • @Grace - if they wrote an answer and I comment on the answer, it works even without the @ thing.
    – malach
    Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 15:54
  • @Diago: we shouldn't be in a race to close questions and just be interested in the brand new questions. I don't care if my question is in the front page. I just want questions to be answered regardless where they are located. Closing them too quickly is effectively killing them for no good reason. If you're not interested in them, just don't pay attention to them. They are very important to teh poster. Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 16:16
  • @David, flag them to be removed from front page 9will be my next proposal) instead of closing them. Closing is too harsh an action. Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 16:18
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    @Tony I completely disagree because it goes completely against what the sites are all about. Closing works, and it has been one of the reasons the sites have been so successful. The sites are community driven, and ensuring that the sites are a canonical reference is the key to closing duplicates. This site is not about the user, it's about quality questions and answers. If your here for any other reason then your in the wrong place. Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 16:36
  • @Tony: Why not just close them? What makes closing too harsh an action to apply to a question that shouldn't be there in the first place? Why add an entirely new "move to limbo" option? Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 19:17

2 Answers 2


The question was closed quite quickly because this topic, maybe not word for word, has been discussed on meta over and over again.

If you have an issue with getting a down vote or your question being closed as a duplicate, not a real question etc etc then the only thing I can suggest is take time to ask your question.

  1. Check and check again that someone else hasn't already asked that question (or a similar question that answers your question)
  2. If you find a similar question but it doesn't answer your question then link to it. This shows that you have actually looked and may prevent it from being closed as a duplicate.
  3. Make sure your question makes sense, gets to the point and is formatted properly. sounds silly but it it more likely to get an answer.

Lets put this in to perspective, you get a down vote and you lose 2 rep. Get one up vote on an answer and you get 10 rep. Ask a good question and you'll 5 rep.

It's not going to be difficult to get the 2 rep back. I really don't see why people get the hump about down votes and/or closed questions. It seems people bitch and moan about it but you don't get rewarded at work if you do a bad job.

UPDATED: @Tony - StackOverflow is designed to be run by the community so the community can decide whether a question is valid or not. In the same vein, they can decide whether it should be re-opened.

You can still comment on closed questions so it's not as if you can't ask or comment as to why it was closed.

I can't see how placing a time limit on a question before it can be closed is going to change anything - it will still get closed. As I said before, if you ask the "right" question then it won't get closed. Ask a duplicate question, it's going to get closed.

The idea is to keep the relevant questions open and get rid of the rest. If I search for something I don't want to look through 10-20 (maybe more) duplicate questions - I just want the answer but more importantly I want the correct answer as decided by the community.

That's why StackOverFlow works so well - you get good questions with good answers and you get them quickly.

  • The issue is about closed questions losing traffic and attention from users . It's NOT about points. I care less about rep points. Never did. BTW, my question here wasn't about why a certain question was closed. The quoted question was just an example. The above question is specifically about giving questions some time before closing. It seems it can get closed within minutes if enough people close it quickly. Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 7:42



Questions that should be closed should be closed as quickly as possible, lest people waste effort answering them.

The other issue is that once a question is closed, those people who left comments or answers are gone.

  • You can @-address those people in the comments.
  • You can edit to bring the question back to the front page (be aware that doing so repeatedly is considered abuse and will bring unwanted attention from the moderators).
  • You can cast the first vote to re-open
  • 10k users can see your closed question in the 10k tools, and if you have cast a re-open vote they may see it in the list of pending re-opens. At least some of the 10k users do check those lists and look for questions that need attention.

How do you think questions go through multiple rounds of opening and closing and accumulate comment threads dozens of comment long?

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