A common sight here is someone asks a question that ultimately gets closed, but before that happens they receive upvotes/answers. These answers are also liable to get upvotes.

Eventually the question gets marked as duplicate (most common) or closed for some other reason, but large swaths of reputation can be handed out. A valid method to "farm" reputation would be to go through new questions, find ones that show a lack of research and answer them.

Take as an example: Terminal vs bash?

Almost all of the asker's rep comes from this question marked as duplicate. A fair amount of reputation also dished out to those that answered.

So my questions:

Should askers be rewarded for low quality questions?

Should those who answer such questions be rewarded for not marking these questions to be closed?

Perhaps the answer might fall somewhere between, giving no rep to the asker and half to those who answer. Maybe reputation gain for successfully marking to close, similar to edits. I know reputation isn't a huge deal, but it does hand out priveleges, and can encourage bad practices. It's likely an asker who receives 200+ rep on a question that gets closed will consider it a success.

1 Answer 1


If an answer is upvoted, someone found it useful. I see no reason why the question's status is even relevant. If you object to these answers, you are free to downvote, but why wouldn't they offer reputation? They're answers, aren't they?

For questions, finding dupes is not easy. The search function isn't the best, to say the least, and it is very easy to post something without realizing it is a dupe. If your dupe is a well thought out, well crafted question, it deserves upvotes and associated rep as much as any other. That's why we don't delete duplicates, after all: they are useful as signposts.

The specific question you highlighted is a great example. It is a perfectly decent question, the OP put effort into it and it is asking about things it is very hard to search for if you don't know the right terminology. All the asker got for it is a measly 90 reputation points. That's 18 upvotes. I see no reason to begrudge them just because the answer existed in another post. If anything, the asker of the dupe target which shows no effort whatsoever and has received eight hundred and seven votes at the time of my writing this could be said to not deserve their rep.

Low quality questions are something else again. This site is actually particularly good at downvoting them. I really doubt you've found many cases of low quality questions being upvoted. And note that closing doesn't protect you from losing rep because of a crappy question. Why should it bar you from gaining it for a good one that happens to be a dupe?

Finally, the issue you mention with people answering poor questions is not a real issue here as far as I can tell. It's simply not something that happens often and is just as likely to backfire, people are just as likely to vote the answer down, as gain any rep for whoever answered it. On the other hand, managing to give a great answer to a crap question deserves all the rep in the world.

So no, I don't see any good reason to stop the rep system just because a question is closed.

  • "And note that closing doesn't protect you from losing rep because of a crappy question." Actually, it sort of does. The robot vacuum is supposed to clean up (delete) those questions. AFAIK deleted questions don't count for rep, so that'll return the rep lost.
    – derobert
    Jul 9, 2017 at 7:44
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    @derobert that doesn't happen to duplicates though. Also, if a question has upvoted answers, it won't be deleted. So it can indeed happen that a closed question sticks around along with its associated rep, negative or positive.
    – terdon Mod
    Jul 9, 2017 at 15:40
  • Indeed it can stick around, but all the bad ones are normally too broad or unclear. Those will often get deleted. E.g., I looked at the recently closed bit on the tools page for things closed today, all the duplicates have a positive score. All the others have a negative score. They'll get Roomba'd and the lost rep returned (which is often a moot point, as rep can't go below 1 anyway)
    – derobert
    Jul 9, 2017 at 15:45
  • @derobert no, as far as I know, dupes are never Roomba'd.
    – terdon Mod
    Jul 9, 2017 at 16:00
  • Dupes aren't AFAIK, but all the negative-scored closed questions are too broad, unclear, etc.—not duplicates (at least the ones from today that I checked). They will be Roomba'd, presumably.
    – derobert
    Jul 9, 2017 at 16:07
  • Yes, I think so.
    – terdon Mod
    Jul 9, 2017 at 16:08
  • So, duplicate is a special case. Other than that, an upvoted closed question is left alone by the Roomba, so you get rep from them, but a downvoted closed question will often be deleted (so you don't lose rep from many of them, at least not permanently). So "[a]nd note that closing doesn't protect you from losing rep because of a crappy question" isn't really correct (unless limited to questions closed as duplicate). Which is quite possibly what you intended, but note OP's question asks about both cases.
    – derobert
    Jul 9, 2017 at 16:13
  • @derobert the OP here was specifically targeting duplicates so yes, my answer is also focusing on those, mostly. However, as I said in my 1st comment, even for non-dupes, upvoted answers protect a question from roomba so you can indeed keep loosing rep for a crappy question if it attracted decent answers.
    – terdon Mod
    Jul 9, 2017 at 22:46

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