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"What is the relationship between land grants & titles?" has two answers, but was closed as "too broad". I respect the closure and am not asking for a re-open, but for a discussion of our cultural norms. Should we close questions that have answers? One could argue that even if the question is too broad, if someone has been able to answer the question, and the answer has been upvoted, that we should keep the question open. Particularly when the OP is a new user, although that might be a separate discussion?

@LangLangC points out an implication I'd missed:

closed Q has an (imo terrible) A. That can now not be 'corrected' with competing As anymore. Site dynamics predict that the terrible A will get way more UVs than DVs, distorting the SEmodel for quality. I'd thought about vote-ban on closed Qs & their As (not implemented) or rigorous deletions (also problematic).

Should we have a cultural norm to avoid close votes on questions with (quality - at least one upvote) answers?

This should not result in a hard/fast rule; I'm suggesting a cultural norm - a recognition that if we see an answer that isn't heinous, we think twice before hitting the "close" button. (hat tip to @T.E.D for clarity in the question).

@called2voyage offers

I've seen questions get an "answer" that's actually a detailed explanation of why the question is poor. The question gets closed but the answer still gets upvotes. This is fine with me, and I see no reason to avoid close votes in that case.

I think in many cases this is correct. Often this takes the form of an implicit or explicit frame challenge, and I think it helps when the problem is an XY question. But in the general case, I believe the current consensus is to devote the effort to revising the question - and that is probably even more important with a new user.

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    That's been bugging me lately the other way around: closed Q has an (imo terrible) A. That can now not be 'corrected' with competing As anymore. Site dynamics predict that the terrible A will get way more UVs than DVs, distorting the SEmodel for quality. I'd thought about vote-ban on closed Qs & their As (not implemented) or rigorous deletions (also problematic). In your example it looks as if closure wasn't fast enough for the current model & standards? But for me it's mainly the "fixed nr of As has undesirable effects"… – LаngLаngС Jul 11 at 13:53
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    I don't know if this has happened at History, but on other sites I've seen questions get an "answer" that's actually a detailed explanation of why the question is poor. The question gets closed but the answer still gets upvotes. This is fine with me, and I see no reason to avoid close votes in that case. – called2voyage Jul 11 at 14:24
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    @called2voyage That would be a 'good' A then – actually more a comment than real A. Closure is to prevent ('bad') As, based on 'bad' Qs. If Q is closed and bad, (us not enough reopening anyway) & we let an actual A that's subpar stand it reads as if A is voted as good, when really it just doesn't have competition (better than nothing?) These are very different cases, and there are more, to come up with a simple rule to go by. Punish effort and even good As in one way, or letting quality slide? Bad content – whether in Q or A – needs to be improved, but how? Just leaving open for "has A"? No. – LаngLаngС Jul 11 at 15:19
  • @LangLangC I'm not sure what you're saying, but what I was saying is to still close in the case I presented. – called2voyage Jul 11 at 15:35
  • @called2voyage Understood. I say "it's complicated". The community behaviour seems to be to 'avoid VtC when there is an A' and Mark asks whether that's good or not. And past behaviour as well as formulating that into a rule has unintended consequences, as would the general opposite case have. I'd like to see a nice, simple, general rule for this adopted, but I see thorns on both side of the way, and no simple rule myself. – LаngLаngС Jul 11 at 15:42
  • Mark, re: your last paragraph, not all poor questions can be revised by other users and sometimes the OP does not edit them. It is in those cases that I think answers that challenge the question are most effective uses of time instead of long comment threads on what the question needs to do different. The question getting closed after receiving this answer then signals to the OP that they will not get any answers until they revise the question or write a different question, thus pressing them to actually do that if they stick around and actually care to eventually solve their problem. – called2voyage Jul 11 at 16:26
  • @LangLangC - Probably ought to ask a separate meta Q about this. Options I see are : 1) Edit the poor answer 2) Vote to delete the poor answer 3) Flag it to have it locked (which prevents both votes and edits) – T.E.D. Jul 11 at 19:01
  • Saying whether a question is good or bad makes sense. Saying that you think that others should be barred from answering a question you think is bad makes no sense. – Stumbler Jul 14 at 8:41
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I don't think I'd be in favor of a hard-and-fast rule that way, as I'd really hate to see horrible questions on the way to hold/close status get "saved" by the creation of an answer (which will often just be a longform explanation of why the question is so horribly flawed, but occasionally even a horrible answer playing along with horrible premises in the question).

That being said, I am definitely not a fan of seeing old questions with multiple positively-scored answers closed years later. I've seen that happen here a couple of times, and it really shouldn't. We have the capability of marking questions as being of (site) historical significance. If you think an old question isn't up to modern standards here, I'd much prefer to see it flagged (in obvious cases) or a meta question opened about what to do with it.

For the example question, this isn't an old question, and I suspect the "broad" voters would argue it falls perfectly under my first paragraph above. If that's how they feel, the only good argument I can see for keeping it open is that perhaps it isn't obvious to the layman that the question would be too broad, so there's some value to the site to having explanations of why it not really answerable.

  • I agree 100% with all of this. This is how I moderate at Space Exploration. – called2voyage Jul 11 at 20:10
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As one of those who voted to close the question, it seems appropriate to offer my two cents' worth.

In general, I don't like to see questions with answers closed, so I usually vote to leave open. On a couple of occasions, I've answered questions which were then closed even though my answers were sourced and upvoted. This has also happened to quite a few other sourced and upvoted answers.

In this case, I voted to close because (1) the question is both too broad and unclear, (2) neither the question nor the two answers contained a single source or link which might help those interested to investigate further, and (3) the OP seems disinterested in his/her own question; there's been no response to comments (OK, so maybe he/she has problems getting to the internet...).

In short, if someone had provided a well-sourced answer with links for those interested in doing further research (i.e. provided clear 'value' despite the shortcomings of the question), I would probably not have voted to close.

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