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I noticed while closing a question that a person had voted to close and written an answer. It is not the first time I see it, nor the first stack.

This is of course not only inconsistent but also incredibly rude. When you close a question, your answer will remain but no one else can write answers. You are essentially saying that only you are allowed to answer this question, no one else.

When you answer a question that should be closed, you prevent it from being deleted by its user, and makes it harder to be removed by the system/moderators.

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    I appreciate that you haven't named names. – wizzwizz4 Mod Feb 28 at 17:27
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    Agreed. But see also <meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4283> and especially its duplicates. – user3840170 Feb 28 at 20:37
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    Hypothetically, one might answer in good faith, but then be persuaded by subsequent discussion that the question was in fact unsuitable for the sight. Should one delete one's answer before voting to close? – another-dave Mar 1 at 0:42
  • @another-dave One could always convert the answer into a community wiki. – user3840170 Mar 1 at 14:09
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    @user3840170 Why would you do that? Don't abuse community wikis to bend other policies. – pipe Mar 2 at 11:07
  • Not being able to learn reputation from one’s own answer will remove the incentive to deny others the same opportunity. Denying reputation points is the only feature of community wikis that actually matters in practice. – user3840170 Mar 8 at 17:06
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Although it hasn't happened on this site, there have been times when I answered a question and only later after some thought decided to vote to close it. What's more common is that I write an answer and later find out that the question is a duplicate, in which case I vote to close it as a duplicate. I think it is not an issue to close questions that you've answered, but it's probably not a good idea to answer a question that you know you'll close. The only exception where I believe it's always acceptable to answer is if you vote to close for migration, in which case others will be able to answer.

My personal policy is to use comments if you can write a very simple answer but know the question will be closed. It's friendly to the asker to give them some quick pointers. For example:

I'm sorry, but how to program your model of logic analyzer is off-topic here, even if you're using it to repair your C64. I'd recommend you look at [logic analyzer company FAQ].

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I believe this mixes two separate issues:

  • Closing a question and
  • Answering a question

Separate but they are tied in a non trivial relation, as both are commanded by two imperatives:

  • Questions that do not fit the site (*1) should be closed.
  • Questions one knows an answer for should be answered.

The result is that both actions are equally appropriate and can apply to the same question. We need to keep the site sane and at the same time we should thrive to help everyone to get gather the knowledge he's seeking.

Writing an answer also not be substituted by a comment. Comments are by definition not meant for answers, as they do neither persist nor offer all tools needed.

Due the way SE operates additional implications are created - like not accepting answers after a question is closed. Which may need to be addressed. But pulling this on a personal level seems not proper:

This is of course not only inconsistent but also incredibly rude. When you close a question, your answer will remain but no one else can write answers. You are essentially saying that only you are allowed to answer this question, no one else.

RC.SE isn't personal. Neither Answering a question (*2), nor voting for closure is rude - and as well not the combination. It can't be as it's not personal in any way (*3)

Voting to close a question is not an act directed against anyone. Neither in general, nor specific. It's about the question being not suitable for the site. Similar is answering a question not about anyone, but sharing knowledge regarding the item in question.

A "conspiration" combining both to harm someone - someone unnamed and not even involved at that time - seems rather far fetched. Especially since closing a question is not a single handed act of a single person (*4). It needs five members (IIRC) to agree on closing to get a question closed.


Now, on the personal side, I'm as well one who happened to answer and vote for close on the same question. Simply due the fact as sown above: I do consider that question unfit, while at the same time able to provide information to the OP. So I'm as well tied in the middle of this. My way is to go along and try to follow both guidelines.

In fact, it happened more than once that I voted for closure and wrote some helpful information, just to have it rejected because the question has been closed in the meantime. Sometimes quite elaborate. But that's as it is. No need to complain.


*1 - There are other reasons, like poor quality, but they are a different area

*2 - Given, answers can be less than super polite, but that's a content feature, not a process item.

*3 - Nor should it ever be. Like or dislike of people, topics or ideas presented does not have any room on RC.SE. It is (and must be) strictly about the topics discussed.

*4 - Moderators except. That's also why they usually abstain from open/close votes, as that would overrule any community decision.

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    If the question doesn't fit the site then nor does the answer. You're writing an answer and then voting that your own answer doesn't belong on the site. Like those politicians who filibustered their own bills. – user253751 Mar 11 at 12:17
  • @user253751 Erm, you're again transferring relation between non related items. An answer belongs to a question, not to the site. and for an answer to be unfit, it must in itself violate the rules. Likewise your logic about filibustering is faulty, as I'm voting to close the question which is not mine. separate items,non transferable relation. – Raffzahn Mar 12 at 0:15
  • If the question is "how do I make toast?" and the answer is "put bread in the toaster and pull the lever", neither the question nor the answer belongs on the site, even though the answer belongs on the question. – user253751 Mar 13 at 17:59
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Assuming the question is coherent and answerable, just because a question is a bad question per the site's established structure, it doesn't mean it's not worthy of a response if a viewer happens to know the correct answer to the question at hand. To not answer a question you know the answer to, even if it isn't valid, is unhelpful to everybody.

The top responses in the meta linked in the comments are enlightening.

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    I disagree, without wishing to cast aspersions against anyone's conduct. If you believe a question isnt suitable for this site, it would seem more appropriate to comment on it than to answer it. Equally, if you think it appropriate to answer a question it seems to follow that the question is on topic. – Mark Williams Mar 3 at 19:07
  • I disagree with your last sentence - The only criteria I use to decide whether to answer a question is whether I know the answer. – knol Mar 6 at 11:45

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