Answers to questions that you've voted to close shouldn't generate any rep for you, regardless whether the question has been closed/reopened/reclosed/etc.

Think of it like a judge who recuses him/her-self from cases to avoid any semblance of conflict-of-interest. See this question about closing etiquette for some background. Jonathan gives a good answer to 'why' someone would answer and vote to close.

An alternative: Mark posts by closers as CW. They still get the votes but no more rep once the question is closed.

3 Answers 3


I disagree strongly. Users shouldn't have to choose between trying to help people and trying to maintain the site. Yes, reputation is mostly meaningless but it serves as motivation and it does impact the amount of effort people are willing to spend on answers.

Sometimes people aren't 100% clear on the actual scope of the site when they vote, and a corresponding Meta discussion shows them the error of their ways. And sometimes, you might think it's a duplicate, but it turns out it really isn't. But because you can vote well before any discussion happens (and indeed, most discussion doesn't happen until someone votes to close), this means that it isn't until post-voting that one might realize the vote is wrong. Basically, votes to close can often be used as a discussion starter, to get out an initial opinion to the community moderators.

Being able to vote before discussion is important, that's why it's a voting system in the first place. It lets harmful content get shut down without needing to deliberate on each incident. But it's very common for people to misperceive how a question is, and vote to close it. These kind of people shouldn't be disincented from answering a question just because of initially mistaken thought done out of good intentions. It's antithetical to our goals as a site.

And sometimes, the closer isn't wrong. The question could be extremely unclear, difficult to tell what is being asked. We close these questions, prompt the author to revise it, and later on we return to find a real question. Is it really wise to bar those 5 closers from earning reputation when they return to answer this transformed question?

  • FWIW: I all CW my answers to question I will vote to close for non-migrating reasons. But I still write them from time to time, when I think it will do a particularly large amount of good. So I don't see this suggestion as forcing a choice. Nov 9, 2010 at 18:54
  • @dmckee This assumes proximity between the vote and the answer. But that isn't always the case. Like Gnome's example, 130 votes worth of reputation (assuming some probably lost to the cap) is a lot to lose, which for newer users would be a lot of incentive not to vote to close what should be closed. And in the other direction, if someone runs into a NARQ, and thinks they know the answer to one refined version, this kind of system would discourage them from either voting while it's a bad question, or answering when it becomes that version. Lose-lose.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Nov 9, 2010 at 18:58
  • @Grace: Oh, I haven't voted for this suggestion, because there are a lot of corner cases. I just don't see it as forcing a choice. The linked example is stark, but 1) it represents a failure of duplicate identification in the first place, and 2) it is a prime candidate for merging which would presumptively be handled differently. Nov 9, 2010 at 19:04
  • Closed questions are on the road to deletion. If the post gets deleted, should you retain the rep for a (now) non-existent answer? If you want the question closed, you are keeping others from answering the question and are reducing competition for votes. If you want to answer the question, fine. If you want to close a question, fine. But why so defensive about the rep of an answer to a question you are voting for closing or possible deletion? If the question stays undeleted, the answerer who also voted to close has an unfair advantage in having (one of) the last word on the subject. Nov 9, 2010 at 21:25
  • @Grace: Newer users are not going to have the rep to close questions. If the answer is valuable, than so is the question and it should stay open, right? Nov 9, 2010 at 21:31
  • @Kelly Deletion already cuts off the reputation. I lose reputation nigh every month for deletions, closed or not. I don't particular care for it. So there isn't an issue there. But if the post doesn't get deleted, as not all closed posts end up that way, why is there additional limits for people who are interested in site upkeep? If a question was closed by someone because it was a bad question, and then it gets revised so that it gets reopened, why are 5 people ineligible to earn reputation if they now post an answer? Not always is the answer given in proximity to the closing.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Nov 9, 2010 at 22:26
  • @Kelly Or, in the more common scenario, what if a user thinks it's a duplicate, makes a single vote to close, but then the question author revises it to prove that it isn't a duplicate so that the question stays open (which most authors do). What good does it do to bar that voter from getting reputation on an answer provided to this effectively new question?
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Nov 9, 2010 at 22:34
  • @Grace, Interesting scenario. Maybe if the question is never closed, then rep can accrue - especially if it was edited after the close vote. Nov 10, 2010 at 1:00
  • @Grace, when it comes to closing questions, I'm in favor for allowing posts to stay open longer just so the type of corrective edits you mention can happen. When I've asked about ways to keep borderline questions open, I get shot down with tons of reason why quick closing is a good thing. (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/39985/…). It would seem that the mix of voting and wiki is adding to the challenge of site building/admin. Nov 10, 2010 at 1:06
  • @Kelly My main concern is that attaching this kind of clause to voting to close is primarily going to affect the good people, those who are interested in providing good answers and keeping the site running. The bad users that are obsessed with reputation, once they get wind of this mechanic, will take the easy route: not vote-to-close. These users already reserve their downvotes in order to maximize their gains. They can just shirk their responsibilities of maintenance and wait for everyone else (however long it may take), harvesting rep all the way.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Nov 10, 2010 at 13:07

The purpose of answering is to be helpful to the poster and to anyone else with the same problem or question. The purpose of closing varies, but, notably, both closing as a duplicate and migrating to another site are also being helpful. I see no conflict with both closing and answering in these cases — though if your answer could apply to the duplicate (i.e. it doesn't include details, such as variable names, from the question) you should consider posting on the other question.

If you're voting to close as off-topic (without migrating) or because the question is too vague/incomplete, why does that conflict with being helpful to the poster? Just be aware the question (and your answer) may be deleted at some point in the future.

The last point also affects some subjective and argumentative votes: you can try to answer objectively and be helpful.

  • 1
    Um. Voting to close as a duplicate is the one place I feel strongly about this. If you vote for a duplicate answer the original, and not the dupe. How else are we going to get authoritative go-to versions of the question. And if an answer to the alleged dupe doesn't properly answer the current question, why the vote? Nov 9, 2010 at 18:57
  • 1
    Having written the above, I see your link below. No blame falls on you for the combination of a good answer and a vote for duplicate later on. But I see that as a failure of the system to ID so perfect a duplicate in the first place. ::shrugs:: Nov 9, 2010 at 19:06
  • @dmckee: Sometimes, and with especially confused or new users, a direct answer with all the details of their question is extremely helpful — and you can't do that by posting on the other. I have both answered and voted to close on meta several times for this reason.
    – Gnome
    Nov 9, 2010 at 19:08
  • But I can't recall doing that on SO. I can easily imagine I would in the same circumstances, if I wanted to take the time.
    – Gnome
    Nov 9, 2010 at 20:58
  • @dmckee: Here's a recent example; we could just close as a duplicate, or we can also provide a tailored answer that helps the OP even more. (Though in this case it's more copying the relevant part directly.)
    – Gnome
    Nov 12, 2010 at 19:52

I disagree with the initial premise, that users would regularly both answer a question and vote to close it. If you are voting to close a question, it is highly hypocritical (not to mention wrong) for you to be posting an answer at all. In fact, I regularly downvote such answers, particularly if the user has high reputation, because they ought to know better. (And I think Jonathan is wrong in that other answer.)

This thread is also somewhat relevant: Give an incentive for finding duplicate questions

  • 4
    It depends on the question and the close reason. If you're voting to migrate it and you also know an answer, why shouldn't you answer? What if you find a duplicate much later?
    – Gnome
    Nov 9, 2010 at 18:17
  • 5
    Obviously you're allowed to vote however you'd like, but down-voting answers for a reason other than the answer being incorrect or not useful seems pretty petty.
    – user149432
    Nov 9, 2010 at 18:20
  • @Gnome Obviously, your 130 score answer is much more valuable than Skeet's 28 score answer. Duplicate assessment should be in the opposite direction. Or, on a more serious note, that looks like a great candidate for merging (since RFC 2396 isn't mentioned in q1984213's pool).
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Nov 9, 2010 at 18:34
  • @Grace: IIRC, I flagged it for merging a long time ago and cannot again. I'm not saying it's more valuable (it just repeats information easily found elsewhere), but people seem to like it (though Sarfraz's bumping got it more attention).
    – Gnome
    Nov 9, 2010 at 18:38

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