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Recently the question Is there a minimum mass is required for light to be noticeably bent? popped up in my review queue because it has a few close votes/flags. One is for "Unclear what you're asking" and the other is "Primarily opinion based". I thought about hitting "Skip" but ultimately I decided to vote "Leave Open" because I don't think either of those votes is accurate.

But now I feel guilty and I wonder if choosing anything other than "Skip" was a conflict of interest. I have an up-voted answer in response to the question and I think that makes me a really poor judge of where the question should be closed or not.

Is there a generally accepted convention about conflicts of interest like in this case? Should I have chosen "Skip"?

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  • $\begingroup$ What I would do is leave an answer and then close it to prevent any additional answers :) $\endgroup$ – unsym Dec 21 '13 at 7:46
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    $\begingroup$ Nah, you're cool. The VTC'ing is done by the whole community. Your "Leave Open" doesn't simply push the question out of the queue. It needs 3 others. So, you don't have to worry. If it escapes from your view, it gets caught by someone (say, me). BTW, in my experience, no one would question you for leaving a question open. But, if you're caught closing a question by mistake, you'll have to face something :D $\endgroup$ – Waffle's Crazy Peanut Dec 21 '13 at 7:47
  • $\begingroup$ @hwlau I should have mentioned that I don't think the answer should be closed. I'm just wondering if I should get a vote at all considering I answered it. $\endgroup$ – Brandon Enright Dec 21 '13 at 7:47
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Closing the question doesn't prevent your answer being upvoted and indeed accepted, so the only effect on your reputation would be the peripheral one that site users may not look at a question if they see it has been closed. So any conflict of interest you may have is pretty minor. I would not lose any sleep over the issue :-)

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To go a bit further, I tend to see it this way when it comes up: if you think the question is worthy of an answer, then it most likely deserves to be left open. You've thought enough about the question to decide that it is on-topic and to provide an answer. Stand up for it and vote to leave open! (If that is, of course, what you think should be done.)

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    $\begingroup$ The flip side of this is that if a questions should be closed and can not obviously be saved you should not answer it. Otherwise you are encouraging people to fill the site with bad questions. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Dec 22 '13 at 17:59
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Is there a generally accepted convention about conflicts of interest like in this case?

No, but I think in practice we just trust people to be more or less objective. And you're not making a unilateral decision so the impact of any potential conflict of interest is limited.

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