This morning I downvoted a question that I thought was too broad and lacked evidence that the author had done any research on their own. Subsequently someone asked me why I did not close the question instead.

A while back, someone downvoted one of my questions because they thought it was inappropriate for the forum. I closed the question, and subsequently someone asked me why I closed it.

What are the guidelines for closing vs downloading a question?

  • Thanks for starting this discussion- I'd like to see how people feel we should be making the call to downvote vs close, I asked because voting to close a question seems very very rare here, and I'm curious to understand why.
    – testerab
    Oct 23, 2011 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


We (the users) have four options available to us, subject to reputation. This is how I tend to think:

  • Comment on a question if it is too broad (or lacking evidence), suggesting to the author that it needs improvement
  • Edit if there are obvious improvements
  • Vote Down if the question is wrong, or off-topic
  • Vote To Close can be used with any of the above

For those lacking the necessary reputation, there is the other option of Flag for review.

As a courtesy, I aim to make a comment whenever I down-vote or to close... I'm also more understanding of new users, than I am to established SEers - and I try not to be too trigger happy with the Down Vote

  • I believe it is far more important to justify decision rather then whether it is down-vote or vote to close. Closing at least gives a way to choose motivation from the list. While down-voting does not. For instance, many have down voted this without leaving a reason. That's not constructive. I believe the goal of this place is not only to give straight answers, but also teach asking the questions in the right way. After all, testing is about asking the right questions :-)
    – dzieciou
    Jan 5, 2013 at 10:08
  • Another option I see is to give a warning (not a threat) in a comment to a OP, so she or he has a chance to improve a question. If that does not work I would down-vote or close.
    – dzieciou
    Jan 5, 2013 at 10:10
  • you have also fifth option to flag a content that is spammy or offensive.
    – dzieciou
    Jan 5, 2013 at 10:14
  • @dzieciou - fair point
    – Andrew
    Jan 5, 2013 at 12:20

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