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Many of the questions on the site that are closed as off-topic or for other reasons have negative scores. Should I be downvoting questions that I vote to close? To me, I feel like downvoting and voting to close are to be used in different situations (and almost never at the same time).

So should off-topic and other closure-worthy questions be downvoted in addition to voting to close? Does it matter whether the voter has enough rep for closure votes, or if he can only flag?

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Certain close reasons carry an automatic downvote from the Community user, so that may be part of what you're seeing. (I'm not sure which ones in the new scheme, but, for example, "not constructive" was one in the old scheme.)

You should downvote questions that are poor questions, and you should vote to close questions that aren't a good fit for the site. Sometimes a question will be both, but I find that these are orthogonal. If, for example, a question showing research effort and seemingly asked in good faith is nonetheless off-topic for us, or turns out to be too broad for reasaons the OP didn't see, then I won't downvote that, just vote to close.

  • Interesting. I didn't know that the Community user could downvote. I don't think that's what's going on for the question I'm thinking of right now, though, as it has 4 close votes (all off-topic) and only 3 downvotes. – Daniel Jul 17 '13 at 14:57
  • So a person could theoretically vote to close and also downvote a question, effectively downvoting it twice? – Daniel Jul 17 '13 at 14:58
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    The automatic downvote only happens upon closure anyway, so no, that's not what happened there. (And it's closed now.) It's one DV for the entire closure, not one per voter, and only for certain close reasons. (Apparently off-topic is one of those reasons, unless someone voted at the exact time I was closing it.) – Monica Cellio Jul 17 '13 at 15:02
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    I see. I guess that makes sense. Questions that are off-topic probably get that automatic downvote so that they will have a negative score if they received no upvotes and will consequently be automatically deleted after some time period. – Daniel Jul 17 '13 at 15:06

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