24

Just because a question isn't good for the website's format doesn't mean the asker doesn't deserve an answer if one can be squeezed in before the question is closed IMO. What is the general opinion of this situation?

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    This depends on the close reason. If the question is good but off-topic and it is migrated, your answer will be migrated too. – fredley Jun 26 '14 at 11:25
19

In the case that it's a question that you can answer, but the question is not suitable for the site, I'd advise inviting the asker into a chat room where you can help them. This way the wrong behaviour isn't rewarded, but the asker gets help anyway, and learns where to go in future if they have off-topic queries.

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    Well i think this would be a good solution but 90% of the Off-Topic questions are asked by (one time) askers with only 1 rep. And you need 20 rep to talk in chat. Also off topic questions usually don't get 4 upvotes. – Jutschge Jun 26 '14 at 11:30
  • @Jutschge Yeah, this won't work all the time, but IMO it's the best course of action when possible. – fredley Jun 26 '14 at 11:42
  • What is IMO? .-. – Scribblenautical Jun 29 '14 at 1:55
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    @Scribblenautical IMO = In My Oppinion – Memor-X Jun 29 '14 at 23:49
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    @Scribblenautical also there is imho (In my honest opinion) – Halfwarr Jul 3 '14 at 3:49
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    This is great advice for this and all of SE. – Keavon Jul 6 '14 at 21:25
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    @Halfwarr I might be in a minority here, but I've always considered imho to be in my humble opinion. – corsiKa Jul 7 '14 at 21:54
16

I can see both sides of the argument. We exist to try to help people, and we're not doing that if we're not answering their questions. On the other side, we also want to help the site grow, and the best way to do that is to encourage quality contributions from all of its participants.

If you answer a question that should clearly be closed, you're rewarding the wrong kind of behavior on the site. You're not going to get in trouble for it, and I think I've even done it once or twice, but overall I think that it might be better to just cast a close vote without an answer.

  • 1
    StrixVaria for mod... wait.. – Braiam Jul 4 '14 at 19:54
2

People come to SE to ask questions. They come back because they got a good answer. They learn how to ask good questions because they were encouraged to when they asked.

As others have pointed out though, bad questions are supposed to be discouraged. At best, they pollute the SE with bad questions, and at worst they encourage askers to ask more bad questions when they get an answer.

Therefore, I would encourage you to not answer a question you vote to close, but to also recommend that they read the FAQ and explain why you're voting to close, especially for a 1-rep user who may not even be aware of the FAQ.

A bad user who is shown how to be good can eventually become a good user. But a bad user who is turned away from the site is gone (and bad) forever.

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    the general consensus seems to be against this but I approve of this approach – Ender Jun 26 '14 at 15:54
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    This approach ensures an asker will ask whatever they want, even if they know it's off-topic, in the hopes it will get answered prior to closing. That's exactly the reason we close questions; to prevent answers. Don't enable those users. – Frank Jun 26 '14 at 20:44
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    As much as I hate to say it, @Frank has a pretty dam good point. – Ender Jun 26 '14 at 22:17
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    Even I have to agree with that point. I would still recommend always pointing new users towards the FAQ and explaining your close vote though, so that if they do want to stick around, they at least know now why it was voted to close. – Zibbobz Jun 27 '14 at 13:31
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    @Zibbobz On closed Questions there is usually a Big yellow block with a description of the close reason and why it's not welcome here... – Jutschge Jun 27 '14 at 17:12

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