I'm no longer a regular on this site. But, in the past I frequently would answer a question for one of the lost souls who accidentally stumbled onto the kllling floor.

These questions are usually ELL quality questions which have easy answers to a native speaker.

Is this wrong? I feel that I'm doing proper duty by voting to close and explaining in the comments why I did so. But, answering the question feels like the neighborly thing to do.

I'm asking because someone commented on my having done so.


1 Answer 1


If you cast a vote to place a question on hold because it's off-topic, and then you post an answer. What is the message you are sending?

  1. You know that the question is too basic for EL&U, so you cast your vote to migrate it to ELL. In the meantime you post an answer, if the OP is migrated, the answer will remain useful for the ELL community.

  2. You think the question is off-topic and cast a vote to close it but you feel sorry for the OP because you understand where their dilemma is stemming from, so you post an answer that will only be useful to the OP and no one else.

  3. You know the question is off-topic, so you do the right thing and cast a vote to place it on hold. However, you also post an answer: that way the OP gets an answer and everyone is happy. As an added bonus, the next time the OP posts another off-topic question on EL&U they can be confident knowing that someone will post an answer even if their question gets closed because that's how we roll on EL&U. Wash, rinse, repeat

If you don't vote to close…

  1. You know the question is off-topic, but you don't cast a vote to close it. Instead, you post an answer; the OP receives their answer and added bonus, you earn easy reputation points.

Answer 1. is acceptable.
Answers 2-4 are well-intentioned, misguided, harmful and/or counterproductive.

  • I realize the (3) is tongue in cheek but I worry that not everyone will see that and take this as “the right process for ELU”
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 12:02
  • Ok, I trust you then. +1.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 12:14
  • Is it reasonable to expect users to behave in a way SE disincentivises?
    – mRotten
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 2:56

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