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Is there a difference between "closing" and "deleting"? Sometimes I see a "close" option and sometimes a "delete" option. I am getting a tad paranoid about voting when I am uncertain exactly what consequences flow from a vote.

My paranoia escalates when I see admittedly poor questions receiving thoughtful and helpful answers.

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  • When a fresh question receives enough close votes to be closed, the banner says "on hold" instead because it's meant to be a temporary state until the question is fixed to adhere to the site's standards. Admittedly, the number of salvaged questions is small, but closing, the way I see it, is a pretty mild action when the OP knows what it means and how to prevent it. It even doesn't contribute all that much to a question ban, compared to having a poorly received post deleted. Sadly, they don't usually know how to approach their question's closure and that's when things go sour on meta.
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 29 '19 at 6:12
  • I see. That is helpful to understand. I shall check to see whether I have editing privileges. That might be more useful than fretting about how to vote, but I may not have sufficient reputation for editing. I cannot recollect ever having tried to do so. Jan 29 '19 at 7:54
  • @JeffMorrow You can find a complete list of privileges and the amount of reputation you need for them in the help center: ell.stackexchange.com/help/privileges
    – ColleenV
    Jan 31 '19 at 19:49
  • @ColleenV Thank you. I see that my question was a bit foolish because I seem to have had editing privileges for some time. I shall consider using them when next I am confident about what was truly intended by a post. Unfortunately, many posts of low quality achieve that dubious distinction precisly because the intended meaning is murky at best. But I like the idea of revising if possible rather than deleting. Jan 31 '19 at 20:43
  • @JeffMorrow True, but sometimes people get hung up on some wording and a little editing can focus people on the part of the question that is on-topic. I just changed the title of a question to take out "translate to Spanish" (off-topic) because the question was really asking for the meaning of a word (on-topic). Maybe the author won't accept anything less than a translation, but maybe they just want to understand the word and will be happy their question isn't getting put on hold. Anything you are able to do as a user can be reversed, so don't worry too much about making a good faith mistake.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 31 '19 at 20:56
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You can read more information about closures and deletions by visiting this Help Center page.

Deleting is indeed a more harsh (and permanent) action than closing, and your caution and concerns are appreciated, particularly when you run across helpful and thoughtful answers.

There are a few ways we can salvage a poor question, and leaving a helpful answer is one way to do it. If a bad question has a good answer, it might be better to edit the question and bring it up to site standards rather than vote for outright deletion.

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  • Thank you for this thorough answer. Jan 29 '19 at 4:32

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