[Note: In the time that I've been gone, the question has actually been reopened so much of the foregoing might not make as much sense as I would have wanted it to have when I wrote the bulk of it, but I still think it is worth consideration.]
The entire body of the question is a single-word-request. No answers are valid responses to those.
Grace Note's post is a reply suggests that setting an example is not sufficient reason to prevent deleting questions. That is different from reopening them just for the sake of reopening them. Also, there are at least some possible exceptions to the two possible state rule, and one is a duplicate. Duplicate questions are deemed to be helpful as potential search targets to a canonical question. Also worth note is that some very important, yet unsuitable posts are kept around as examples under historical lock, and don't always delete wrong answers because they serve as exemplars of what advice to avoid taking. Now the principle of every question having two fates, reopening or deletion, may have some hypothetical appeal, but the practical reality of the situation is that we have 21,255 closed questions dating back since the beginnings of the website in 2010 and that list is probably growing rather than shrinking.
Regardless of that, setting a good example for future users was a secondary point of mine at the most. The most important thing regarding these sorts of closed questions is their value to future viewers, as the ultimate goal to every stack exchange website is "to build a high quality library of detailed answers to every question about" its subject. There are some considerations to take into account regarding how we can best achieve this goal. The community bot does not just go on a rampage, deleting every closed question that is even over a year old, but rather checks for votes and acceptance too. It has this check for a reason: Decent answers to have value to people who see them, even on closed questions. The reason this question has not yet been purged in this case is because Meta Ed's answer had some positive reception presumed to be worthy of archiving.
As such, when you suggest the reason that reopening this question would be innocuous is because nobody is looking at it, this is somewhat of a double edged sword. You want to place the great answer you worked so hard on making on the very highest and hardest to reach bookshelf in the least visited section of the library where nobody, except the few of us reading this meta-thread, will even read it. I suppose that is better than complete unavailability, but by how much and for what purpose? This may be one of the reasons the help center asks us to answer well-asked questions. The questioner has already gotten their answer, and you seem to be of the opinion that they will never revisit the website, so it probably is not for their benefit, despite however admirable that would be in my opinion.
There is also not all too much of an underlying principle of fairness to it. We close questions and prevent all incoming answers to them frequently irrespective of their potential merit. If the closure was unfair, and the O.P. could still benefit from seeing the answer, perhaps I could see arguing to reopen it on that basis, but the question was rated fairly, has not been fixed and won't be fixed for the sake of nobody. The close reasons are still applicable. Are we going to start reopening old questions of all sorts? There is also a rather good chance that you might be wrong. New users stumble into old questions frequently, and do silly things that cause us to trigger protection with prejudice. I would also like to repeat that it is not at all useful to the questioner, unlike many of the questions we could probably be petitioning to reopen now on the basis that say, perhaps, research on their part would have been fruitless.
Reopening a bad question in light of these considerations seems like it would be optimizing for sand, not pearls.
I would like to see your question officially published, but in this case, I think there are better ways to go about it.
If the member who originally visited can be safely presumed to never return, I see little to no good reason to keep this question under their stewardship. After almost a year, this appears to be their only post on the website, and it has been negatively received. Recording their contribution has no bearing on the perceived quality of any other post on the website, or any further presumable importance to them.
I see three possible courses of action that might be reasonable to take:
- Vote to delete
- Make a Duplicate and Make it Canonical
- Make a Duplicate to Merge
Option number one makes the most procedural sense, and can be done without diamond moderator intervention, because the question has a negative score, but it costs us MetaEd's answer. This would cost him a small bounty's worth of reputation, which is unfortunate, but is the answer currently worth keeping in its current state? It barely makes a reference to ngrams, and the link to the primary citation of the Canadian government rotted away from the face of the internet. It is unfortunately perhaps, a pretty good example of why questions that can be fairly closed should not be answered.
I am not well versed in the differences between options 2 and 3, other than the fact that they do require moderator intervention and seem somewhat abusive. These options would allow us to preserve MetaEd's answer if it has any lasting value to the website though, and it does not seem like it would be too hard to persuade him to make the extra effort to keep an answer he bothered to write if he still considers it worthwhile.
So what are the benefits to these solutions over reopening?
- No editorial constraints regarding O.P's intent: We could change the whole scope of the question if we wanted to do so, to make it better than it was before: Better, stronger, faster than it was before with research, quotations and an exemplary sentence of our choice. The higher quality may garner more views in the grand scheme of things.
- A member who more frequently visits the website would have control over the acceptance marker if ownership of the post changed. This allows us to have better discretion over it.
- As a new question, it should receive more publicity in the here and now, especially with a fresh slate. Even if we lost a good answer now, if that answer could be reposted it might get more attention in the long run with the improvements in place.
I think in this case, perhaps answering a well asked question, as par help center advice, will yield better results.