Recently, I voted to keep a question open, believing that it was answerable and valid in its current form. I then answered the question, by posting a terse and incomplete answer, deleting it, and then taking the time to edit the deleted answer to answer more fully. As it turned out, by the time I'd completed writing the full version of my answer, the question had indeed been closed. But because my initial incomplete answer had been posted while the question was open, I was able to edit and repost my answer in its full form.

While I'm proud of the answer I posted (and still personally think the particular question was valid and appropriate for the stack) I found a point Thomas Markov made elsewhere quite compelling:

The question's author returned and accepted the answer after the question was closed, and now has no reason at all to resolve the issues with the question.

This is an excellent point. The closure procedure is there to help improve questions, and maintain the integrity of the stack. The fact that users cannot answer a closed question is key to that process, incentivizing the community to edit and improve the question if they'd like to answer, and encouraging the asker of the question to improve it in order to get useful and helpful answers. But the ability to edit an existing answer allows users who answered quickly to circumvent this process. This could lead to questions which would otherwise have been edited and improved being left in their sub-optimal state, after receiving an answer they find useful.

So my question is this: should steps be taken to ensure that a closed question not only locks out new answers, but also prevents users from un-deleting and/or editing answers they've already posted on that question until the question is reopened?


1 Answer 1


No. Things are fine the way they are.

Editing is an essential part of maintaining quality, and maintaining quality is an essential feature of the stack. Even on closed questions, we want existing answers to be the best that they can be. We have lots of closed questions, and many of them have a lot of votes and historical significance. It is important to be able to revise them.

What you are describing in this question is more like what locking a question does. We have a little over 300 locked questions, and most of them I imagine are game/adventure/tool recommendation type questions. These questions and their answers cannot be edited by normal users. However, I have on occasion observed locked questions that really did need revisions, and I was able to reach out to a moderator in chat and mention the issue, and the matters were resolved.

As for the problem with answers to closed questions getting accepted and questions not getting revised, I think this is generally an unavoidable feature of the closure system, it is just going to happen sometimes in the course of normal use. I say generally unavoidable because the observation I was making in the answer you pulled the quote from was that the problem was avoidable in that particular instance. In the end, people are going to disagree on question closure, and that is okay. People who think a question works well within our guidelines can and will post answers to questions with active close votes, and that is okay.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this answer! But your middle paragraph confused me a bit: does locking a question also prevent the editing of the question's answers (in addition to the preventing edits to the question)? The meta.se post you mentioned earlier (in a comment on this question) indicates that it doesn't, but does so through reference to a dead link, so I wasn't sure. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme Here is that info link on meta.se, locked questions and answers on locked questions cannot be edited except by moderators. Clarified, "and their answers" in the sentence. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah! I see. So to do what I'm asking about, moderators would need to manually lock each existing answer when a post is closed (since " Answers must be locked separately and may still be voted upon."). I can see how that would be a "big ask." \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme I'm not sure if locking one answer and not the question or other answers is even possible. Mods may be able to, I'm not sure. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 15:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ To satisfy curiosity, answer posts are lockable separate from their parent question posts. (Not that I'm volunteering this level of close-policing!) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 16:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Interesting, thanks. Agree - definitely not what that tool is for. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 16:35

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