why close posts?

We are told to close posts when questions have been answered but it is not clear why. How does a closed post help the smooth functioning of the site?

I am not complaining, just want to understand.

I’m not sure that “we are told to close posts”. AFAIK everyone is asked to mark the correct answer to show others that the question does have the answer. When one looks through a list of answer to a question that is similar to one’s own, it’s helpful to know which actually solved the problem (if any).

“Correct” answer may be a time-and-circumstances dependent notion, in fact perhaps a workaround waiting for a better solution. Closing a question means you consider it can’t be improved and/or you won’t come back here and resume your work with the answer. Closing also awards you karma points (this may be the origin of “we are told to close”).

well… strange way to see that, but has its reason… (me myself wouldn’t mark an answer as correct, when it’s a temporary solution/workaround; instead, I’d upvote it).

If a question is in the line of “how to overcome something in 5.4”, and the answer is how to workaround this, it is the correct answer, despite another answer could say that 6.0 has this problem fixed.

So, it sounds like it is not very important to close them. In addition to the karma issue, I think some people have text in their answers that says to close the post when appropriate.

There are 3 aspects in answer evaluation:

  • value: for oneself or community => up/down vote, adequation to concern
  • correct: fixes the problem at hand (but may not be the general denitive answer)
  • closed: OP will no longer look for potential answers (this does not preclude the community to add/enrich to the answers)

These aspects are more or less independent but their use is not explained and leaves room for personal interpretation.

Btw - I seem not to be able to “add/enrich” to closed answers.

@mikekaganski - You’re right. I opened a closed question (not one of mine) and you can only add comments, not answers. The question must first be reopened for the latter.