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Specifically an example question on a proposal during the definition phase. Since all closing does is prevent a question from being answered any further, and example questions can't be answered, it doesn't seem to have any effect at all. What is the significance of closing a question, and does it have any effect at all?

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Closing doesn't just prevent further answers, it also (broadly) communicates what the question's problems are.

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    Yes, that is the purpose of closing. It more closely simulates the vetting of questions on the new site. Questions not appropriate for an SE Q&A (duplicate, not a real question, not constructive, etc), should not end up in the proposal examples (i.e. closed). – Robert Cartaino Oct 14 '12 at 22:05

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