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What benefit does this add?

User1: Here's my (bad) question. {User1 posts the question against better judgement}

Moderator: That's a bad question. {Moderator closes the question for X reason}

Next_n_users: Hey, that question is closed, let's kick it while it's down and downvote it!

If it is closed, why allow upvotes or downvotes?

  • see here and here – juan Feb 3 '12 at 15:32
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    Those links don't answer the question. – Isaac Feb 3 '12 at 15:35
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    Which is probably why he posted them as a comment, not an answer. – John the Green Feb 3 '12 at 16:47
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    Really? Downvoting this question - what kind of community are you people trying to foster? – Isaac Feb 3 '12 at 21:16
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    +1 I never really cared why this was possible before, give me enough down votes and I can't think of a way to improve the question, ill delete it myself. But it is nice to know the answer given below. ie: there is worth in reading a closed question and still voting on it to help the site maintain itself. – James Feb 3 '12 at 22:36
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    Isaac, voting on meta usually means something different than voting on the main site: see here for a description. – Dave DuPlantis Feb 3 '12 at 23:37
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    @DaveDuPlantis Thanks, for a constructive comment (+1). Although I don't really see how someone can disagree with a "why" question. I was looking for the reasoning (and discussion!) behind allowing voting on closed questions. I'm curious to hear what the downvoters disagree with in the question XD – Isaac Feb 4 '12 at 14:19
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    I'm... also curious about that, too. My guess would that people are assuming an expected viewpoint of "You shouldn't be able to vote on closed questions" (and may perhaps be taking the tone of your example as giving guff to the community). That's what I'd logically think. – Grace Note Feb 6 '12 at 14:16
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Closing is intended to be a temporary state except in very specific circumstances (like duplicates that we keep for searchability). The end result is that there are two ends to a closed question:

  • It gets reopened, so the votes would need to be valid anyway. Users may even change their votes after edits that lead to reopening.
  • It gets deleted, which means that the reputation impact of votes can be removed by a recalc. The record of having the votes, however, remains useful to the system even on deleted posts.

As such, we allow votes because the close status isn't meant to affect the nature of the question itself. Closed or not, a helpful question is still a helpful question, while an unhelpful question is still an unhelpful question.

Votes can even be used to indicate which direction it should go - upvoting a question that gets edited into shape can help give it visibility, while downvoting a question that mustn't belong will help remove it from the front page.

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