Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

Many old, popular questions have been deleted. The debate about whether they should have been deleted has taken place; the fun side lost.

I understand the reasoning is that these questions set a bad example, and encourage other inexperienced users to ask similarly inappropriate questions, notwithstanding the big "historical significance" warning at the top.

Would it make sense to lower the rep requirement for viewing popular, deleted questions? 10K seems like a good bar for access to moderation tools, but seems like an excessive requirement for reading through reams of popular programmer t-shirts.

Letting users with a mere 2,000 rep view these questions seems like a good compromise. Surely if you're trusted enough to edit other peoples' posts, you can be trusted to view old questions about programming jokes.


share|improve this question
I'd probably be more inclined to make it 3k, since the VTC privilege seems more relevant, but otherwise I think this is a good idea. – Matthew Read Nov 21 '11 at 17:04
3K sounds perfectly reasonable to me – Adam Rackis Nov 21 '11 at 17:05
IF the consensus is to delete those posts, letting them be viewed by more people seems counter-productive. – Mat Nov 21 '11 at 17:14
@Mat These questions aren't be deleted because we don't want people to be able to see them, they're being deleted because we don't want people to see them associated with Stack Overflow. If they're being viewed in a "deleted" context, people will understand that, and not be encourage to refer to them in the future or make similar posts. – Jeremy Banks Nov 21 '11 at 17:23
+1, but it should be configurable. If you don't want to see junk deleted questions, then you shouldn't have to. – Won't Nov 21 '11 at 17:32
@ಠ_ಠWon't - I imagine deleted questions would continue to not show up in search results, but if you clicked on a link to it from, say, the deleted popular question page, it would show you the question if you had rep > 2 or 3K. – Adam Rackis Nov 21 '11 at 17:39
Sure, I can get behind this. I define my metric of popularity as > 1 million views. – Lorem Ipsum Nov 21 '11 at 20:09

Deleted questions don't belong on the site, by definition. For historical purposes, it would be better to archive them outside the site, where anyone can see them.

By the way, if Stack Exchange, Inc. wants to make deleted posts more visible on the site, I'm not opposed. (Says I, knowing they don't.) What I oppose is making them more visible through normal browsing: if someone with <10k visits, say,, they should see a page with no content.

share|improve this answer
Well there's a bit of a circular argument there: deleted questions don't belong on the site since deleted questions don't belong on the site. Maybe some kinds of deleted questions do belong on the site, in some circumstances, in some contexts. 10K users already can see all deleted questions. Extending popular questions to 3K users hardly seems controversial. – Adam Rackis Nov 21 '11 at 18:44
And I'm not sure what the point of that url is. It's just an aggregate of deleted links that point back to the original SO questions, which are useless with my puny 6K rep. – Adam Rackis Nov 21 '11 at 18:45
@AdamRackis Click the link on the left. The archive may not be complete; if you're interested in helping maintain it (I'm not), contact the SP maintainer. Deleted questions are only visible to 10k so that some community members can review moderator actions and help with support; they are not meant to be be generally visible. – Gilles Nov 21 '11 at 19:03
@Giles - ohhhh programming t-shirts! Thanks, the link on the left works nicely. Is there a way to cancel that obnoxious print-view from opening? Not a huge deal, I can click cancel, but would be nice. I still think the nice, comfortable SO link should work for experienced users, but this isn't a terrible compromise. – Adam Rackis Nov 21 '11 at 19:21

Some people say I'm wasting time
I don't really care
I like what I see, I see what I like
Yeah, it gives me such a glow

Deleted posts are deleted for a reason: they are so outside what's appropriate for the site they are removed. Not "a perk for high-rep users", removed. They don't belong here. They have ceased to be. In the spectrum of "stuff that's accessible on the site", it's a half-step above "completely obliterated" and way below "things that are meant to be on the site."

The only reason they're visible to high-rep users is to give those, who have been trusted by the community, a chance to reevaluate and potentially undo the action.

There is no value to the community in providing access to people who can't moderate the posts (i.e. have the ability to undelete): it just legitimizes rubbernecking and the Streisand effect. If you want to get access to that information for your own reference, take the hint from the deletion and find it somewhere else, off site.

Now, there may be an argument in giving undelete privileges to lower-rep users, but that is probably a much harder sell than getting read-only access to deleted questions.

share|improve this answer
What is that quote? I googled it but all I got back was some old Elvis song. Is it from an obscure XKCD or something? – Adam Rackis Nov 21 '11 at 22:23
@AdamRackis The name of the song is "Rubberneckin'". – user149432 Nov 21 '11 at 22:30

While this sounds like a good idea in principle, I think it has a bit of a roadblock: You now have to define "popular". Up-votes? Score? Answer count? Number of comments? No matter what metric you come up with it's more than likely completely arbitrary, and you probably won't end up with the exact subset of questions you'd expect to get.

The alternative would be a boolean isPopular attached to every question, but then you have to reach some sort of official consensus of whether people think it's worthy, which is probably a waste of time.

share|improve this answer
Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. A simple criteria of question vote > 20 should work just fine. – Adam Rackis Nov 21 '11 at 17:29
Part of my point (which I realize wasn't very well put) is that you can't create a metric that's not arbitrary. – Toomai Nov 21 '11 at 17:42
Well all anyone can do is make the metric so that it accomplished what your goal is. If you want links to popular questions to work for 2K users, then displaying the question for said users if the question has 20—or even 10—votes should accomplish that. If a few edge cases slip through the cracks, then that's life. Nothing will ever be perfect. – Adam Rackis Nov 21 '11 at 17:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .