I sometimes find questions that are not suited for the site (usually because they are list questions), but I find interesting. Often times I upvote the question, and then cast a close vote. Does anyone else do this? Does anyone else think this is a bad practice?

  • 1
    I've done this a few times and usually the OP leaves me a comment telling me I suck for doing so. Nevertheless, I think sometimes it's appropriate and it's certainly not against the site's guidelines; I agree with BESW that it ought to be a rare occurrence. But, yes, there are times when it's appropriate. Jul 10, 2013 at 3:17

5 Answers 5


Though it should probably be a rare occurrence, I don't see a major problem with this, because it's what we do anyway: we vote for what we like. If this practice is a problem, we have a BIGGER problem.

In more objective SE sites, upvoting means "you feel [it] is especially useful." This is the wording in our help, too, but only because it's a copy-paste. In more subjective SEs like ours, "useful" isn't a very... useful... term; questions about Star Trek aren't seeking solutions to a problem or in other ways looking for answers that are demonstrably "useful" to anyone except the original poster, so we can't use that criterion to gauge if it's appropriate to vote up or down.

So what does an upvote mean? PearsonArtPhoto says it means "you think it's a great question for this site," and that'd be swell... but we don't use upvotes to mean that, and if we should then we need to do a pretty strong education campaign about what makes questions great. (And I can't really think what downvoting would mean then: "This is an awful question for the site"? That's vote-to-close.)

No, we use votes as an indication of popularity: "I like this post" is much closer to what voting behavior means on scifi.se. We vote for the franchises we like, and the posts with lots of pictures, and we often don't even vote then (here's a post from a popular franchise with contemporary media saturation that got 13 14 votes out of over 1k views). If that's the accepted practice then I see no reason that just because the answer should be migrated we should make an exception to popularity-based voting for it. Heck, given the sickly state of our voting community, if somebody wants to vote on something at all I think it should be encouraged.

(And we shouldn't confuse up/downvotes with accepting an answer or voting to close; accepting an answer is the original poster's way of saying that one answer was more useful than the others to the original poster. If it were like voting, either upvoting would be one-per-thread or we could accept multiple answers. They're three different kinds of input about three distinct pieces of information.)

  • "No, we use votes as an indication of popularity:" Is this really true? I use the up/down votes as the hover-titles describe them. If it's a good question showing research and effort and it's clearly stated, it gets an upvote. If it's unclear, not useful or generally a bad question, it gets a downvote. I don't upvote every Star Wars question just because I like Star Wars.
    – phantom42
    Jun 25, 2013 at 18:26
  • @phantom42 I'm generalizing, of course, but I call the trends like I see them. We don't click through to posts we don't think we're interested in, so naturally we don't vote based on actual merit. But beyond that, the criteria don't apply to scifi.se: we don't expect posters to read the source material, so what's "well-researched"? Most questions aren't asking for solutions to a problem, so what's "useful"? These are terrifyingly subjective in our SE, and that's why I don't see a problem with another subjective use of voting: it's a drop in the pool.
    – BESW
    Jun 25, 2013 at 18:28

I must disagree with @Pearson's answer.

  • Closing means that you think that the question violates the site's "willing/able to answer this in SE format" rules, some/many established by community.

  • Voting means you like the question.

Therefore, if you are a genuinely honest person with integrity, and do NOT like and disagree a specific closing rules, it is perfectly reasonable to:

  1. Follow the "law" and VTC despite disling the law.

  2. Upvote to express your personal approval.

This is what I do with any "Does there exist" or "Any" questions that are otherwise good interesting questions - yes, they are VTCable according to moderator-imposed rules, no, I deeply disagree with those rules despite agreeing to abide by them; and therefore will upvote questions of that type if they are interesting and contribute good content to the Internet which is the main mission of Stack Exchange.

A real life analogy would be a cop arresting someone for violating an unjust law, and giving them a calling card of the best lawyer in town or money for their defense fund.

  • They're community-imposed, not moderator-imposed. Mods enforce the rules that the community developed and agreed upon.
    – user1027
    Jun 26, 2013 at 14:30
  • @Keen - the list rules are moderator imposed. Jun 26, 2013 at 15:14
  • You're saying that all 9 downvotes on this (deleted) answer were mods? That all 16 upvotes on this answer were mods? The community didn't make these posts and vote on them?
    – user1027
    Jun 26, 2013 at 15:57
  • @Keen - I'm talking about significantly more recent edge cases, where the only determination that the question will result in endless list of answers was because a mod said so. Jun 26, 2013 at 15:59
  • So make a meta post and argue your case!
    – user1027
    Jun 26, 2013 at 16:02

I say "yes".

I posted thoughts on this on another SE site a short while ago, but they're probably worth repeating in this context, so here we go.

Way I see it, a vote to close is not necessarily always saying "this is a bad question". There are plenty of other reasons to vote to close, and I'm going to home in on one to illustrate this - close as duplicate.

Close as duplicate is not saying "this is a bad question". It's not saying "this is a good question" either; what it's actually saying is "the answer to your question is over here". So close as duplicate is not a slap-down for a question - it's actually the exact opposite; it's a valid way of answering a question.

So given that close reason, is it appropriate to vote up and also vote to close? Hell, yeah. Somebody might ask a damn good question, very well written, but which despite that is answered by a duplicate. They deserve rep for asking a good question. But they also deserve a vote to close for being a duplicate, but a vote to close in that context is not slapping-down the question. It's answering it by saying: "the answer is over here".


Generally speaking, this is bad practice. Upvoting says that you think it's a great question for this site, while voting to close says that it isn't on topic.

  • 1
    I agree with BESW on this one : the description you make is right for the objective SE sites, not really SFF.
    – Kalissar
    Jun 26, 2013 at 11:25

The main purposes of question voting are to promote questions that others may find helpful, largely based on how helpful you found it, and to reward people that ask good questions for the site.

If a question is closed, it can't be answered and therefore won't help people. Bigger still, you shouldn't be rewarding people for asking bad questions. Reputation is largely a gauge of how much the community trusts you and shows that you understand how the site works. Asking off-topic questions clearly does not demonstrate that you know how the site works though and hints that you do not understand it that well.

The exception to this would be not-so-obvious duplicates though, where having some variety in wording helps more people find answers that they're looking for. If a duplicate isn't that easily found, shows research effort, and is still a helpful question, then I would probably upvote and vote to close, but not for questions closed for other reasons.

  • 1
    Thing is, it's entirely possible for someone to ask a really nifty, interesting question (which I may like), but it's in an inappropriate format for SFF.SE (for example, a list question). A user might want to say, Hey, I like your question, but it's not a fit for the site. Jul 10, 2013 at 3:22

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