This question is of personal interest to me, since I am only a few points away from gaining open/close vote privileges myself.

I notice that many questions are put on hold or closed while their vote counts are still positive, or with no down votes or only one or two down votes, which means that some users with close-vote privileges are voting to close first, without first down-voting and leaving a constructive comment.

Is it a good practice to simply vote to close a question instead of down voting and leaving a constructive comment?

Re duplicate: the linked question did not even mention down votes...

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    Possible duplicate of Should there be more explanations given in close votes May 7, 2016 at 5:23
  • 2
    Closely related: How soon should I "vote to close"?
    – Flimzy
    May 7, 2016 at 8:22
  • @Flimzy the problem I see in that question is that the number one reason the accepted answer gives is to communicate to the person that they should edit their question. The problem I see with that is, simply voting to close does not give an alert to the user. If a comment or down vote is not given, the user will not know until after the close has taken place. I'm fine with VTC but without comment or DV it is NOT helping the question or the user asking it.
    – Joshua
    May 9, 2016 at 12:08
  • @Joshua: That's not how I interpret that answer. But regardless, a comment along with a VtC is always welcome.
    – Flimzy
    May 9, 2016 at 13:55
  • @Flimzy Sorry, I wasn't really criticising it. Should not have said it is a problem with the answer itself, just pointing out a detail in case it was overlooked: "1. It increases the likelihood that the user will take notice and actually fix their question in response to your suggestions." I just didn't want people to think that a VtC would give the user an alert in his inbox like a comment would. The explicit meaning is that a VtC should accompany a suggestion (barring cases of spam and such which deserve none). We're agreed :)
    – Joshua
    May 9, 2016 at 14:03
  • "Are some users too quick to close? " Yes.
    – Aigle
    May 31, 2016 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


David hinted at this (and I agree with his assessment that no we are not too quick to close these days) but I think it bears emphasising that up/down voting on posts should not correlate to close/open voting. These are two completely separate functions for a reason and the use cases for each are different. Somebody could put a ton of effort into a very good question and have it be off topic for this site. It may even be a question that interests some people here and in another venue they would love to engage. Being a well researched or interesting question doesn't change whether a subject matter or scope is appropriate for this venue.

On the other hand a post could be waste-bin quality writing, hastily put together or even borderline trolling and yet still be on topic, clearly scoped and answerable given this site's expertise.

In other words, it's quite valid to upvote a post and vote to close it at the same time, or downvote and specifically leave it open. The considerations that factor into those voting mechanisms are just different.

Also remember that the up/down voting privilege kicks in really early while open/close voting comes at a much higher rep threshold. This is because it's really easy for people to understand what posts they like or don't like, they personally consider useful or not useful, etc. It's a bit harder to get your head around the scope of the site and the ins and outs of the Q&A format and make good choices that reflect this as to open and closing questions. We hope that people sticking it out for a little while and learning how to make decent posts themselves learn to recognize when a post is not right for the site even when it's well composed and interesting in its own right.

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    Thanks a lot, this really helps. See the comment on David's answer
    – Andrew
    May 7, 2016 at 12:16
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    Good points. I do think of votes to close and downvotes as two quite distinct issues. Most of the time when I VTC I don't downvote, because most of the time the question is a good question, but just doesn't happen to on-topic here. I downvote only if it's a bad question, insulting, trollish, preaching rather than asking a question, and so on. May 8, 2016 at 18:37

No, I don't think people are too quick to close. right now I think it's just about right. There was a time in the past where it was the exact opposite and clearly off-topic questions remained open far too long. Like it or not, some questions that get positive votes still need to be closed, and closed quickly.

There are plenty of users who ignore the guidelines and vote up questions that the community has clearly and consistently deemed off-topic. Just because a few users that don't like the community-setguidelines vote up a question does not make it on-topic or within guidelines.

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    Thank you. I'll keep this in mind and put forth an effort to familiarize myself with the best practices before I take advantage of my new privilege.
    – Andrew
    May 7, 2016 at 12:15

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