I saw this question which I feel is a poor fit for the site and not about Worldbuilding and I down-voted it and VTC'd accordingly. It has since been put on hold but not before it attracted an answer that I think is really nice. So now I'm torn, I don't think the question deserves any answer at all but I think the answer it got is very good all the same. Is it appropriate to upvote the answer in this situation when it potentially encourages answering questions that aren't a good fit for the site?

I found this question but I don't feel it really address how to vote on the answer in these situations as a general member which is what I'm struggling with.

  • $\begingroup$ well, it's not the only case $\endgroup$ – Kepotx Jun 28 '18 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ biology.stackexchange.com/questions/21357/… this is the worst honest and well-asked question I've ever seen followed by the best answer I've ever seen on se. I mean that exactly as I said it. Perhaps that extreme example shows you that you can hate the question, downvote and close and still love the answer. I argue both are absolutely not connected $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jun 28 '18 at 16:22

If the question is off-topic or otherwise unsuitable then it should be closed

Sometimes we get bad on-topic questions to which good answers can be given, but we shouldn't* encourage off-topic questions by leaving them open just because an answer is good, or by attempting to give a good answer to a question that should be closed.

If the answer really is that good, give it a vote if you like. We tend to be generous like that round here, but I usually lay off if it's a user who should know better than to answer such questions.

*I'm as guilty as anyone

  • $\begingroup$ +1 due to the admittance of guilt on your part $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Jun 28 '18 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ This question is not about closing the question – it‘s about voting on answers. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Jun 28 '18 at 13:22
  • $\begingroup$ But what should we do with a good answer that's already there? $\endgroup$ – Ash Jun 28 '18 at 13:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Ash, it doesn't do any real harm to give it a vote if you like it that much, but I tend not to if it's a user who really should know better. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jun 28 '18 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix Thanks for that yeah by 3000+ rep I think they should know better. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jun 28 '18 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Ash et al, as one of those people 'who should know better' and answers some of these questions, while I understand your position there are two factors that explain why I sometimes do it. First is that 'off-topic' and poor wording can sometimes be mistaken for each other. The second is that given the times I'm active, there often aren't a lot of 'good' questions that aren't saturated with good answers on the site by the time I get to them. I'd rather see voting on answers be independent of the quality of the question and the rep of the answerer and I think that fits better with the site. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Jun 29 '18 at 1:05
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    $\begingroup$ @TimBII, sometimes you have to go a while without answering anything, the longer I've been here the longer those periods seem to last. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jun 29 '18 at 8:49
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I have to admit I've been noticing the same phenomenon myself. When I first started days without a 200 rep increase were rarer than those with it and I'm starting to think the whole rush of blood is wearing off on that front. Good point you make either way. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Jun 29 '18 at 9:47

First off, people disagree about which questions, exactly, are on topic and off topic respectively.

If everyone agreed, this wouldn't happen. Nor would we need for five people to vote to close before putting a question on hold; a single vote would be enough.

Sometimes, some people see a question (in this case) as asking about the world, while others see it as asking about the story.

Worldbuilding is inherently a subjective process, and our continuing discussions about what particularly "primarily opinion-based" means in the context of Worldbuilding SE is probably as good an evidence as any of this.

If you have a decent idea of the site's scope (and it'd be hard to get to well over 10k rep without that), then answering a question that you feel is on topic is fine. Voting on answers is fine, even if the question is poor or off topic, but make sure you're voting on answers based on the answer's usefulness to the question, not whether you think the question is good or bad. (The two are distinct.)

What I personally really don't like to see is when people both end up participating in closing the question, and answer that same question. If the question is good enough to be answerable, and on topic enough to fit within the site's scope, then it shouldn't be closed. While people can disagree about whether a question meets that bar or not, one would hope that any single person can reach a conclusion either way.

On the flip side, if you see a question drawing close votes but you feel it is on topic, consider editing the question to emphasize the on topic parts. Sometimes this can be as easy as deleting some extraneous material and highlighting the specific question; sometimes it takes larger edits that need to be done by the OP.

As an aside, I personally think that the question you linked to is more about an element of the world than it is about the story, but that's just my opinion. Sure, there's some story to the question, but I see that as mainly background material; the question itself seems to ask about an effect of the magic of the world on beings in the world. That said, it'd probably help the question a lot if the magic was described in a bit more detail.

  • $\begingroup$ I can respect that position vis-a-vis voted to close a question I've answered but I look at question very differently when they're on my review queue than I do when I'm answering them, not necessarily with any more or any less scrutiny but in a different light, if I'm answering a question I look at the information I need to answer the question without necessarily considering anything outside the question, on review I look at the question within the greater context of the site. Questions that are internally consistent aren't always a good fit when considered in that broader context. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jul 3 '18 at 11:18

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