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Firstly, I do not wish to be confrontational here in any way.

Right now that's out of the way, I'd like to throw in my 'two cents' - so it's my personal opinion - I would prefer it if you don't just downvote, but that is of course your prerogative.

I do feel that people who come here for help (rightly or wrongly) are not being served well. I know that this is not a discussion forum 'per se' but it is inevitable that there will be some disagreement over what is considered suitable and what isn't. May I suggest that when questions are closed down, some way be provided for those that do wish to answer - even if it in another area or even another internet forum (I admit to not having researched other forums).

Is that a reasonable suggestion? What do others think?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that down votes on this particular meta just mean "I disagree" - nothing more. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Aug 3 '16 at 1:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ It all depends, if you have a specific question that is on-topic and you want it to be answered, then ask it here. If you want a discussion, then go to a discussion based forum \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Aug 3 '16 at 22:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ If a user has got 20 reputation, I recommend taking the question to our EE.SE chat. The rules are more relaxed there. Of course, such more relaxed rules cut both ways, and there are sharp people with sharp knives hanging in our chat. That's the beauty of it. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Aug 17 '16 at 23:20
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I don't want to sound like a broken record, but whenever you think about stack exchange, think about the archive, and how likely a hit from a search that points you here is going to give you the answer you need. If you clutter up that search result with noise by changing some policy, that's not a good change.

I don't have any real numbers, but I bet that for every user upset by a closed question, there are hundreds who got the answer they needed here just by googling for it, without ever even asking a question on the site. Those folks are our customers too.

I take off topic questions to the chat, and I'm rarely disappointed. Did that just today, in fact. It's a great resource. I think in a comment to your closed question, I tried to point you there. I suppose comments might be the mechanism you're looking for to provide guidance to the right place to get an answer.

As to leaving closed questions open for answers, I'd go the other way, deleting answers to closed questions to keep the noise down. I encourage down voting of answers to obviously off topic questions. If I had a beef about our peer moderation, it's that we don't have the oomph on the review cue to get off topic questions deleted fast enough.

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No, we don't want that. This site works in certain ways and serves certain purposes. It doesn't claim nor try to serve all needs. This is spelled out in the help. If you have a need this site isn't intended to serve, go someplace else.

And no, we don't want to noise up this site by trying to tell people where they should go when their questions don't belong here. Questions either belong here or they don't. It's not our business to decide where they belong if off topic here. We are not the help desk for the internet.

Those that ask off-topic questions either haven't bothered to read the rules, or figure they've got nothing to lose by trying anyway. Either way, these are not people that will add value to the site and that we want around here. Going back and forth with them only noises up the site and dissipates valuable volunteer effort that would be better spent creating good content, like answering questions. The best thing to do with help vampires is to dispatch them as expediently as possible.

It is important that those that abuse the site not get what they came here for. If we let some misguided users answer their question anyway, then the undesirable behavior is rewarded. Not only will they be back doing the same thing again, since it worked, but bystanders will also see it worked and some will do it too. This is one reason everyone is barred from answering closed questions. With a large number of users, there will always be someone that can't resist looking smart and answering the question. It is important not to allow that.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't it be better to tell the users to go to a different site instead of having them write bad questions and clutter up the site with additional useless questions? Newbs write a 2-3 bad questions minimum and not all of those get caught by the system. \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Aug 3 '16 at 20:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @lap: No, then people will come here for the referral service. The most important thing to do with bad questions is to dispense with them with as little noise as possible. We want the process to be a little unpleasant to discourage repeat offenders. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Aug 3 '16 at 22:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ In fact, repeat offenders will find that the system will get progressively more unpleasant as down votes/close votes come their way. \$\endgroup\$ – user2943160 Aug 7 '16 at 0:20

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