This question was asked a couple minutes ago, as well as this and this here.

They are all obvious candidates for closure (proof by the fact that they were...), but I feel compelled on some of them to at least give them an answer because they put time into asking the question in the first place.

Is this good form? Or should they not be answered at all?

  • 2
    I had brought up this sort of discussion on MetaSO before. I am generally against it, since it kind of sends mixed signals, i.e. they ask an off-topic question, but still get an answer before it's closed, so what's to stop them from asking another off-topic question.
    – gnovice
    Sep 9, 2011 at 18:52

2 Answers 2


Answering a question that is definitely going to be closed is sending the wrong message.

Consider what that teaches the person asking:

I can ask a completely off-topic question and get a great answer!

  • 1
    Would you suggest keeping the answer in the comments then? The question would eventually be deleted, then. Or should I ignore the question completely? Sep 13, 2011 at 2:22
  • 1
    comments can be an OK compromise Sep 13, 2011 at 3:58
  • Jeff's proposing the latter, just ignore them. Add a comment that explains how the question could be improved if it could be, or why you voted to close.
    – user1027
    Sep 13, 2011 at 3:59
  • @keen not answering is best, but when it comes to questions that will almost certainly be closed, answers as comments are far less objectionable Sep 13, 2011 at 4:05
  • @JeffAtwood Okie doke.
    – user1027
    Sep 13, 2011 at 4:13

A closed question, generally with the exception of duplicates, indicates a question that is not desired. It is a step towards deletion. The general scenario is that you don't want to reward a behavior you do not desire. To that end, if someone is getting answers to their question here, that's rewarding - they're getting what they needed from this site. It's not really striking home the point that this isn't where that information should be obtained. As such, they may just return and ask new questions, if they'll keep getting answers.

This is more in the case of answering in spite of knowing that it is going to get closed. Especially if you're answering a question that you yourself are voting to close at the same time - then it's just callous. A conflict of interest, one might say.

In general, if you think the question should be closed, you should not be answering it. If you think it should not be closed, but that it might, then your attention should probably be on fixing it (revising or comment support as necessary) so that it either doesn't get closed or gets reopened.

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