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As I understand it a locked question can't be changed, and neither can its answers. No new answers are allowed.
A closed question still can be modified, and so can its answers. Also here no new answers allowed.

Why do we need this distinction? "No new answers" and "still editable" seem contradictory to me.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, now that I think about it, this question belongs to Meta.SO and already has an answer :) \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 30 '12 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @clabacchio: I'd been looking at the FAQ with no result, so I asked here. Shouldn't we have our own questions? I visit electronics and here, but rarely SO \$\endgroup\$ – Federico Russo May 30 '12 at 13:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ The principle should be that questions related to the engine go on Meta.SO, here only things specifical to the site, like on/off topic, special features and so \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 30 '12 at 13:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ It can be in either place. There is no harm to ask here. If you are looking for changing something system wide then you must go to meta. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 30 '12 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Accepting that it is on topic, I downvoted because I believe that the distinction is needed. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 30 '12 at 14:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk - When I hover over the downvote button, I don't see "I disagree" listed as reason to downvote :-) \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 30 '12 at 17:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh, you should look at the meta.stackoverflow. There are MANY requests to change what is shown on meta and have it give notification that a downvote is a disagree, not a sign of a bad question. Hopefully that will come. Well played though, you got me to laugh. Federico, what are you looking for here? I have explained why I was taught to use lock, clabaccio has explained what it is. What is it that you need answer? \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 31 '12 at 4:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk: I wanted to know why we need the two. The difference seems small to me. You said you believe the distinction is needed. \$\endgroup\$ – Federico Russo May 31 '12 at 5:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FedericoRusso, I was trying to explain why I use the distinct differences and the puzzle piece that I considered may be missing for you was that we delete closed questions after time has passed. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 31 '12 at 5:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk: Yes, it's clear now, thank you. \$\endgroup\$ – Federico Russo May 31 '12 at 7:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FedericoRusso, feel free to let me know if there is more you need to know or just drop by chat. I have time to explain. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 31 '12 at 7:17
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As I understand it, a locked question can still receive votes, and that's very important.

Jeff says:

closed: no new answers can be added to a question.

locked: the post cannot be manipulated or interacted with in any way by anyone other than a moderator.

UPDATE -- to make this easier to understand, we modified lock so that when you lock a question, it also prevents new answers from being added. Locking answers behaves the same as before.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I may be wrong, but IIRC I've had votes on closed questions too. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 30 '12 at 12:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh: found in Meta :) \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 30 '12 at 13:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ "interacted with" suggests no votes, but for the closed question he doesn't say. (And Federico already seemed to know that there could be no new answers.) \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 30 '12 at 13:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ (still no progress on the saturating 741?) \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 30 '12 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh: what??? :S \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 30 '12 at 13:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ this one. Sorry I thought you would know from all those sleepless nights :-) \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 30 '12 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh: right! The OP is dead :) \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 30 '12 at 13:20
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The short answer as to why a lock is used is for attracting new users.

When a question has been around a long time, slipped through the cracks and is a poor fit for the site but has quite a few views it is something people have no doubt linked to before multiple times. If it were a new question we would close it but as an old question we will instead lock it. At this point we are marking it clearly as not up to snuff but we are not putting it in the list of questions we will be clearing out.

Standard protocol is to lock a question and after interest in it has died off then take the delete action.

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