I shall not point fingers at specific examples because edit histories carry the usernames of members who voted to close a question: but I have seen a few (admittedly rare) instances where a member posted an answer and then voted to close the question, which had not been substantially changed by editing after they posted that answer, until it got closed.

That set me to wondering: questions are put on hold to prevent them being answered while OP edits to sort out some fundamental fault in the Q; so is it not contradictory for someone to post an answer and vote to close the same question? [In short, common logic would suggest you should not answer a question if you think it needs to be put on hold.]

If this is not contradictory, why not? If it is contradictory, I would respectfully suggest that such members should temporarily delete their answers once they vote to close the question. They can undelete the answer if they then decide to retract their close vote after OP makes a satisfactory edit, or if the question gets reopened and doesn't ge re-closed.

  • "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself!" "Notes from Underground", Dostoevsky.
    – user247327
    Nov 10, 2017 at 19:55
  • Thanks for the literary reference @user247327! Nov 10, 2017 at 20:26

3 Answers 3


Here's a Meta.SE post for this kind of behavior:

Closing Etiquette: Why Do Some Answer *and* Close?

Here's some reason others have stated why this shouldn't be allowed:

At best this is just silly, and at worst it is totally hypocritical and seems almost like rep whoring (since often the closers answers are the only ones that remain to be voted on since no new answers can be given). Linked Meta.SE

That makes no sense. It's confusing.

This is especially true when realizing that it's often newer users who then see that someone closed their question and answered it at the same time. They won't know how this voting process is supposed to work and they will just think we are a weird bunch. Linked Meta.WB.SE

From what I gather, people answer and VTC have different reasons:

  1. They want to help people a bit although the question will be closed.

    For example, the OP broke his father's glasses and asked "how to apologize", without giving much details. Someone see this, sympathize, give a general answer, and VTC.

    Without much details we can't help you. However, just be honest. He might get angry, but ...

  2. They think it may not gather enough close-votes. (I agree this is a very weird reason).

Personally, I agree that this is contradictory and a bad behavior, but still within the boundaries of the user right. It is up to the community to make this as a rule, because it seems people have differing opinions on how to reduce/eliminate this behavior.

How to react?

Comment on their answer, reminding that "Answering and voting to close will give mixed signal to the OP of the question, especially for new users."

I'd leave it just at that. From there, here are some options for you who want to "force" the author to give up this behavior.

  1. Downvote. Regardless of the quality of the answer. I'd say this is not the intended use of downvote, but people are free to vote.

  2. Flag for mod, explaining that the answerer VTC and answer the question. The actual of what will be done is entirely up to the mod. This answer propose that such answer should be converted to comment or deleted. I disagree with deletion because I don't want to lose quality answer.

  3. Ask the answerer to retract their close vote.

  • Thanks @Vylix for a very clear and detailed answer full of nice links for further reading! All I want is to see logical and consistent behavior which is seemingly contradicted by answering and then close-voting. Do either answering or close-voting, I says! But I won't tell that to the individual member under their answer, and each member can legitimately make up their own mind. Oct 28, 2017 at 22:02
  • 1
    Many of the answers on the linked meta questions are really good answers to my this question, thanks again @Vylix; especially this excellent answer: worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3520 Oct 28, 2017 at 23:23
  • Good answer. If I VTC but I want to help, I leave a comment (mainly on my more frequent communities). It seems very wrong to answer after a VTC no mater what the intent is. I agree that we should downvote the answer and leave a comment as to the reason for it.
    – n00dles
    Nov 4, 2017 at 20:10
  • Glad to see that it is acceptable!
    – user1856
    Dec 29, 2017 at 16:52

Yes and no. Deliberately contradictory, I know.

Occasionally I write an answer and then see someone post a comment or custom close reason, which leads me to reread and reevaluate the question.

I had such a case earlier today. Someone posted an admittedly odd question, but on the surface it looked to be on topic and appropriately scoped. Shortly after someone voted to close the question as a rant, and after looking at the question again, I had to agree, so I voted to close as well.

  • Thanks for another clear answer @apaul: I am sure it is not deliberately contradictory and you make a compelling case that answering and close-voting are not necessarily logically linked events that need to be consistent with each other. But it looks somewhat arbitrary to see from the outside. I personal dislike seemingly arbitrary/contradictory actions. Seriously, is the rigid insistence on logically consistent and strictly procedural action a type of behavior seen on the autism spectrum? Oct 28, 2017 at 22:11
  • 1
    @EnglishStudent it can be, for some people on the spectrum. At times I struggle with things that don't seem logical, but for me, it's usually misreading someone's motives for doing something. They tend to call that "theory of mind", or something like that, having trouble understanding that other people don't always think the way I do. What seems to be the only logical reason for doing something is sometimes completely different from the reason someone actually does something.
    – apaul
    Oct 28, 2017 at 22:19
  • @EnglishStudent I had to look it up again... "Theory of mind (often abbreviated ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one's own"
    – apaul
    Oct 28, 2017 at 22:22
  • Very true @apaul. I am not known to be on the autism spectrum so it's probably a matter of psychology: I do have rigid ideas of how rules and guidelines should be applied, which I consider part of my personality. This question came from there, I think. I have also had conflicts of opinion with people in my hometown over my 'impartially inflexible' approach in such matters. India is a very flexible nation! Oct 28, 2017 at 22:24
  • @EnglishStudent it's worth getting tested if you're unsure. I went undiagnosed till I was 29, it helped to have a word for it. You say India is flexible, like that's a bad thing ;)
    – apaul
    Oct 28, 2017 at 22:27
  • Note that 'flexible' has many meanings. To me 'flexible' means adapting flexibly to different situations (by which too I am not flexible.) However India is mainly flexible in that many people apply rules and guidelines in arbitrary ways, often taking the person into consideration rather than the situation itself. When I used to work in public administration I have struggled with being expected to take different decisions for different people who were technically and ethically to be treated similarly, being considered to be in the same situation. So I shall take your advice seriously @apaul! Oct 28, 2017 at 22:54
  • @EnglishStudent I've heard about that kind of flexibility, seems like a corruption issue, but trust me, that happens in the US too.
    – apaul
    Oct 29, 2017 at 3:40

I know SE's policy, and I have more than enough extra rep that I'm not answering for the rep.

I occasionally do this - answer after I've voted to close - because I am by nature a helper (and a comment doesn't do it) and I admit that perhaps I am unsure of the negative ramifications of doing so.

Answers in comments is almost de rigeur on questions that are certain to be closed on one I was active on for a long time. It was never discouraged, despite policy.* Each site has it's own culture.

I do this on other sites I'm on as well. I usually try to answer a question I VTC in a comment (a no-no on most sites) which gets too long, at which point, I just answer the question.

At best this is just silly, and at worst it is totally hypocritical and seems almost like rep whoring (since often the closers answers are the only ones that remain to be voted on since no new answers can be given).

I would have no problem at all removing/deleting an answer on a question which gets closed, if this is a better option. I assure you, I don't care for internet immortality. I am used to half of a lifetime or more of helping people - sometimes for free - and reshaping that behavior requires, perhaps, only a little more learning about why I should not do it.

If you see an answer of mine on a closed question, please feel free to comment under my post that the question has been closed, and I'll happily remove my answer.

I even posted a question in meta about it and was basically answered - in comments - "Go ahead, do it. We all do."

  • Thanks for the very clear explanation @ anongoodnurse. "At best this is just silly, and at worst it is totally hypocritical" __ That concern about trying to 'corner' reputation was expresed by the Meta.SE user who wrote the earlier question. As I said to @apaul, I am mainly bothered by the apparent contradiction of somebody answering a question and then voting to close it as having some basic defect that needs to be rectified before it can be satisfactorily answered. I now understand this was a good reason why ELU has been encouraging answers-in-comments on sure-to-be-closed questions. Oct 30, 2017 at 21:10
  • Well, that part is quoted from one of the highest voted answers on the Meta.SE post ;) I can understand what it trying to say, but I don't agree wholeheartedly on that. (I consider calling it 'rep whoring' is rude).
    – Vylix
    Oct 31, 2017 at 4:56
  • Note that I'd love to help, just like you, and before I read that this is an issue, I consider it's a good thing ("Well, the least I can do for you before your question get closed is this advice!"). Then I realize that this behavior actually encourages people to ask low quality questions - because they can get the answer however they want without regard of the rules.
    – Vylix
    Oct 31, 2017 at 5:00
  • In my opinion, if you want to leave advice, however long, you better leave it in comments, if the question is obviously going to be closed :)
    – Vylix
    Oct 31, 2017 at 5:01
  • @Vylix - Sometimes questions I think should be closed aren't. I have seen some strict comments rebuking answers in comments. I don't always do either; sometimes I just VTC the really bad ones. Sometimes the only vote to close is mine (whether I answer or not.) If I understood a consequence that made it important not to answer a question I VTC, I would stop. Oct 31, 2017 at 13:26
  • I am glad to see I am not the only one. I just got hammered for doing this by a power user on this site....
    – user1856
    Dec 29, 2017 at 16:53

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