Just wondering. I was thinking if you vote to close you're saying the question is not answerable/should not be answered which is in direct contradiction of answering it. Is there a counterexample?

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    $\begingroup$ Should you? Well, preferably not. But it happens. Sometimes you post an answer, and in the comments that ensue you realize the OP has no idea what they are asking about, or they don't ask what they seemed to ask, and then you vote to close. Or you could have voted to close, after an edit you answered, or it could be that the question is very borderline and you can't help but double dip. All these situations are valid reasons (more or less) to answer a question you voted to close. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 1:40
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    $\begingroup$ It happens that one posts an answer before noticing the question is a duplicate. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ I sometimes do it because answering the question is so tempting, even if it's a really bad question. But I don't think it's good behavior. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ @6005: That's what I meant by double dipping. :-) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila hahaha. That's a good expression for it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ voted to close, after an edit you answered. That is a reason to answer and retract the close vote, not answer and leave in place the vote to close (if it has not aged away). @AsafKaragila $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ I'd venture this is somewhat related to this earlier discussion about Answers that "take advantage" of "poor wording" of questions. Although I don't recommend it, sometimes it is expedient to post a trivial solution to jolt an OP into clarifying what might then turn out to be a pretty good Question. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ In my opinion, we should distinguish between answering as a comment and answering as an answer. For example, someone asks "What is $100^2 + 7!$?" I think it would be perfectly valid to post the answer to that one as a comment and go ahead with the close vote. $\endgroup$
    – Mr. Brooks
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr. Brooks some would be against answering in comments in general $\endgroup$
    – user223391
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 22:36
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    $\begingroup$ In a case such as that, the best thing to do would be to use a comment to direct that person to somewhere they can get the answer, like Wolfram Alpha. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 2:49
  • $\begingroup$ Some older related discussions: Ban or delay close votes from users who answered a question and Behavior about answering and voting for closing a question. (Both of them were listed in the sidebar among related questions.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 3:57

2 Answers 2


Almost never. Think of how it looks: when you vote to close the question, you kind of put a clock on when the question can really be answered as an answer (not as a comment). Although you can't quite predict when the window of time will close, you have some idea, such as if yours is the very first close vote. If you squeak your answer in, you could potentially get upvotes on it (though you also expose yourself to downvotes, of course).

I can think of one somewhat plausible scenario in which it would make sense to vote to close and to answer: someone else answers the question but their answer is subtly wrong. What I would do in this hypothetical, is answer the question but mark it Community Wiki. I won't get any upvote points, but hopefully I shield myself from the downvotes.

EDIT: To clarify, the hypothetical I was thinking about is that first you vote to close and then someone posts the subtly wrong answer.

  • $\begingroup$ @zyx I have clarified. In the hypothetical, you first vote to close and then you are notified that someone has posted an answer and you read the answer, and you see that it's not quite right, plus you also start to wonder if yours is going to be the only close vote. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 3:20

The principle "do not deny to others the resource that you have just used" should apply. If you answered a question, either refrain from casting close votes on the question, or delete your answer in case of casting those votes.

If the question is a duplicate of Q, actions that address the duplication but do not combine answering and close-voting include:

  • close vote, delete the answer and (possibly) repost answer under Q
  • keep the answer, post a comment with link to Q under the question, but do not close-vote
  • flag the question to request merger with Q, for example if there are multiple answers.

If the close reason is some event that occurs after the answer, any justification for keeping one's answer posted is also a reason for allowing others to answer the question. Rollbacks, edits, comments and flags are available for addressing any perceived problems with the question, without the need for a close vote (by an answer poster).

That is for the main site. For the meta site, answering and close-voting (without deleting the answer) can be particularly abusive since it expresses an opinion while attempting to deny that option to others.

Added. As far as the ethics, philosophy and social norms are concerned, there was a nice elaboration of the basic principle by user @quid in 2013 that is worth quoting here:

"I think it should be community norm that one can either answer or vote to close but not both.

The reason for this is quite simply that it feels inappropriate to me to use for oneself an option (answering the question) and at the same time to do something the main or essentially sole purpose is to take this option away for everybody (else).

...as a general principle the above should be the community-norm, in my opinion. (On main and on meta.) ...

If in some specific case somebody feels the need to deviate from this general principle, it would feel appropriate to me they provide in each such case at least a somewhat detailed justifcation for doing this. " -- ["quid", 17 August 2013]

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    $\begingroup$ It doesn't really matter whether one first votes to close and afterwards deletes one's answer or the other way round. Concerning duplicates, rather than deleting the answer and reposting it at the dupe-target, it can be better to have the questions merged. If one posts a novel answer that several people already upvoted before it's noticed that the question is a duplicate, it would be a shame to waste the votes [if one hasn't hit the rep-cap yet on the day, that also preserves the reputation, which may be relevant for privileges while one is below 20k]. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 11:27
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    $\begingroup$ If the answer is essentially the same as an answer on the duplicate target, reposting it there has little benefit if any, but leaving it at the duplicate doesn't do much harm, so I wouldn't insist on people deleting their answers on duplicate questions. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 11:27
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    $\begingroup$ The OP defacing the question is usually not a reason to close the question. It should be rolled back to its proper state, and if the OP repeats the defacement, flagged for moderator attention, so the question can be locked and/or the user suspended to prevent further defacements. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielFischer, thanks. I thought that several of the points you raise were implicit in the answer, and have edited to make the answer more specific. $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ For the most part I agree with the spirit of this answer, but not with all details. I do not see how the (valid) argument for close votes applies to delete votes. It is also not true that "[i]f the close reason is some event that occurs after the answer, any justification for keeping one's answer posted is also a reason for allowing others to answer the question." Counterexample: Asker showed in comments on Answer that they are trolling. Answerer does not wish to delete in order to keep this visible as a warning for others. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ The part about delete votes is more in relation to the meta site, where one can (and some do) try to "shut down" an OP by posting opposition in an answer, closing before others can add their opinions, and then deleting to remove the OP viewpoint entirely. I edited this point out of the answer in light of your comment so as to keep present conversation more focused on close votes. @quid $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ It is not clear that your Counterexample is a counterexample. If the question is such that the answer makes sense and should be kept on the site, it follows (for whatever reason the original answer is good) that other sensible answers might also be posted and the question should be kept open to receive them. If the Asker is abusive in comments in a way that pathologically reduces the value of the Q/A this is a failure of the user (handled by flags, comment deletions, suspensions or account deletions) and not of the question (which is what closings would be for). @quid $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ It should also be said that someone who answered a question is not always the best judge of whether an OP is making serious comments or is trolling. Even if trolling were a reason to close the question, having posted an answer is sufficient reason to leave the "is it trolling" or "should it be closed" analysis to others. If the evidence is so clear there should be enough other users around to read it and close-vote the question into the Review queues. @quid $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 18:52
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    $\begingroup$ Let us not get hung up on the trolling. The point was the reason for which answerer wants to preserve their answer (keeping a comment visible), is not a reason to allow other answers. There could also be a 'clarifying' comment on the answer that makes the question mathematically unsuitable. It could have had two interpretations a good and a poor one. Answer is based on the initial believe/assumption G is intended, OP comments and insists only P is intended. The comment make the question unsuitable (and the answer a non-answer). Yet, to preserve it initially is vital to keep this info present. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see how a comment on an answer can make the question unsuitable. A comment cannot take a valid answer to the posted question, and suddenly convert it into a non-answer. One can add to the answer an explanation of which interpretation (G) was used, or to the question to state that while the original wording was consistent with G, the intention was interpretation (P). The accepted principle "do not move the goalposts" means that the G answer remains valid, and whatever makes such an answer worth keeping is also a reason to allow more answers to G, such as corrections. @quid $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 20:39
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    $\begingroup$ It can and does happen that a question as literally asked is not reasonable, yet answerer gives the post a plausible and charitable reading to arrive at a good variant that they believe might have been the intent. Yet, if OP then insists on the literal reading, this is no longer tenable. What you say does not apply in this case. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ "and whatever makes such an answer worth keeping" As said all that makes the answer worth keeping in answerer's mind is the comment exchange with OP. There is no point in having a second instance of this clarifying exchange. Please do not continue to say 'whatever'. I stated one and only one thing that makes it worth keeping in answerer's mind in this scenario. Focus on why this reason is also reason to allow further answers. This is all that counts for our discussion. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ The OP does not control what is tenable or not as an answer. A correct answer to a charitable (but unintended) interpretation of the question does not become invalid when the OP says he meant something less reasonable. Once there is a difference in interpretations, unless the Answerer deletes the answer, clarifying in the body of question or answer the difference in interpretations is necessary and sufficient for the question to be functional and a reasonable target for further answers (such as corrections or extensions of the Answer in its interpretation). @quid $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ "all that makes the answer worth keeping in answerer's mind is the comment exchange with OP." // If the answer is intrinsically worthless even in the author's mind that is a reason to delete it. To obtain close votes ask on the meta thread, do not misuse the answer as a solicitation for those (and the misuse would be less effective than going on the meta thread). @quid $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 23:21
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    $\begingroup$ In the scenario I described there is no actual difference in interpretation. Answerer made a reasonable but ultimately unjustified assumption. One could even consider a case where answerer simply misread the question. // As indicated above the intent in keeping the answer is preserve visibly a faithful record of the situation (temporarily) while suitability of the question is decided. It is incomprehensible to me why it should be preferable or necessary to veil the history of the situation, to be allowed to vote. I do not know what gave you the idea the ans is used to solicit votes. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 23:35

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