I figured I'd find an answer to this on my own but can't. Sorry if this has been asked or answered elsewhere. I'll delete it if so.

When should someone down-vote a question as opposed to close-vote it (assuming they have enough reputation to pick one or the other)? They both seem to indicate poor-quality/irrelevance/vagueness/etc. but have very different mechanics. A down-vote appears much more prominently to all users though enough close-votes obviously has a bigger effect on the question.

Is this similar to this close-vote/flag question in that the features are intended for different reputation levels?


1 Answer 1


These are different things, regardless of reputation level.

  • closing is expression of being unfit to the rules of the stack
  • voting is expression of [perceived] low quality
  • commenting is discussion in general

There is often some correlation. So question can be low quality (downvote) and out of scope (close). However it's not causation — it can also be interesting (people upvote), but still not in scope (still close). Or kind of mess (people downvote), but perfectly in scope (stays open).

Commenting is interesting. Historically there are always people that root for always commenting when downvoting or closing, the reason being better feedback.

Speaking from practical experience what they miss is anonymous aspect of voting and it's very important. You can downvote and move on in a second. But as soon as you comment you open yourself up to discussion and there are plenty of people around who won't blink at burning unholy amount of time and raising mountain of drama because someone took a point from them and how dare they the world shall burn.

  • That distinction mostly makes sense to me. However, in the case of the unclear/too broad close-vote reasons, those are often what I think of as "low quality." What are some examples of low-quality questions that are in-scope? It seems to me that close-vote categories cover just about all possible "low quality" reasons.
    – mrwweb
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 21:44
  • 2
    "How do I write a walker that adds X to Y menu items?" would be in scope amd shouldn't get closed, but deserves tons of downvotes. "Im scope" doesn't imply research, effort or quality. Keep that in mind with your freshly gained 5k powers :)
    – kaiser
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 22:24
  • So to clarify further, wouldn't this question be an example of a low-quality but in-scope question worthy of down-voting but not close-voting (despite the close vote)?
    – mrwweb
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 18:35

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