Possible Duplicate:
Why are so many questions closed?

I just joined this stackexchange, and I'm sure this question will get closed like so many others as being subjective or "not constructive". I did a quick count on the first few pages, and it looks like at least 10% of questions are closed. One page I saw had 22 out of 50 questions closed. What does closing so many questions solve? Apparently it does not reduce the number of "bad questions". Instead it just prevents people who would otherwise be interested in answering from doing so. Why can't the people who dislike all these questions just.. not answer?

  • 6
    This one will (hopefully) get migrated to the meta site, where you should have asked it. And many questions get closed because they do not follow the guidelines in the FAQ. I suggest you read it too.
    – Oded
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 18:54
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    @Justin984 This question has been asked before, please read the following link and familiarize yourself with the FAQ. If you still have questions about what is appropriate to ask on Programmers then please ask on Meta. Thank you.
    – maple_shaft Mod
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 19:17
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    @Justin984 closure as a duplicate isn't "don't talk about this" it's take the discussion to the main question. Question closures do happen here, and the learning curve is steep. That's by design to some extent.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 19:20
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    @waxeagle Ok, I see your point here. However, as far as I understand, contributing to an old question will not bring the question to the front page which is required to generate interest and other responses. I may be asking the same question, but who's to say that opinions have not changed since it was last asked? Not all questions have static, unchanging answers. In fact, MOST questions do not have such rigid answers. It seems absurd to close every question that can not be answered as 1+1=2 Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 19:24
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    @Justin984 Actually, editing or contributing to an old question DOES bring it to the front page.
    – maple_shaft Mod
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 19:37
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    @Justin984 no. If you add an answer to the question linked as a dupe it will come back to the top of meta.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 19:40
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    StackExchange is a Q&A site, not a forum. Closing duplicates is done to try and consolidate as much information about a specific question in a single place. When people go searching for that same question later, hopefully most of the discussion and quality answers will be on one question, eliminating excessive hunting for answers.
    – KChaloux
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 19:40
  • @Justin984 Bumping to the top would only solicit input from otherwise uninterested parties. If you comment or answer an old question then other people will find your comment or answer the same way you found the question, by searching for it.
    – Sparr
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 19:42
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    @Sparr answers and edits always bump, no matter how old the question is. Also there are badges encouraging the resurrection of old posts. It's not just encouraged, it's mechanically rewarded
    – wax eagle
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 19:54
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    Would you attend a physics course and complain they didn't discuss chemistry? It's exactly the same thing, we have a very well define scope, outlined in our FAQ, and when people ask questions that are outside our scope, we close them.
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 21:28
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    @YannisRizos No, but I would complain if I attended a physics course and the instructor said "Put your hand down, Einstein has already answered this question." Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 22:59
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    @Justin984 If the question was a prerequisite for the course, then you'd have absolutely no reason to complain. And doing your homework and searching for similar questions before asking your own is one of our prerequisites, check out our "How to Ask" guidelines.
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 23:21
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    @Justin984 Keep in mind that this Q&A thing is hard by design, we all had a rough start. I've recently wrote an answer describing my first experience with Programmers. It gets a lot smoother with time, if you overcome the initial difficulties you'll soon realize why we are vigilant, it's the only way to keep the quality high.
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 9, 2012 at 0:10
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    @Justin984 If you're looking for an answer to this question that's a little more recent, check out this MSO question which asks the same thing
    – Rachel
    Commented Oct 9, 2012 at 0:47
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    @Rachel I think Anna's answer on the question this one was closed as a duplicate of is a far better answer that the ones on the MSO question...
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 9, 2012 at 1:27

2 Answers 2


Good reasons to close:

Off Topic

This means there is probably a better place to ask the question.
If it is answered here then people looking in the correct place will not find the answer, thus the question and answer do not provide benefit to future users.


This means the question has been asked and answered.
There is no point in repeating the same question and answer so linking the question to a previous question that answered the question is the best solution. Thus we do not get a proliferation of the same question/answer there is only one authoritative answer that we agree upon.


Other types of closure are basically based on they do not improve the overall knowledge base. They are way too specific to be re-used or do not have an exact answer that can be re-used (ie they are just opinions).


Each Stack Exchange site has an extensive FAQ page (linked from the header of each page) designed to education users on what questions are relevant to the site. eg Programmers FAQ. If you want to see all the Stack Exchange sites http://stackexchange.com/sites#


First, a question likely isn't bad. Some common causes are:

  1. Off topic
  2. Duplicate
  3. Discussion based answer ("not a real question") - which may be an excellent question but not a fit for a Q&A site. Forum sites would welcome these questions.

Ignoring the questions would dilute the stackexchange site by letting questions that the site doesn't want stand.


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