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The issue in question has a separate feature request now: New user profile - revert to simpler design in first tab

The discussion on the new user profile:

http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/112151/new-user-page-live

was deleted completely the second time, even though in both instances it contained highly upvoted feedback opposing the way the new user profile looks.

Please undelete it.

I'm beginning to fail to see the point of being a member here when constructive contributions are simply removed at will. There was an open discussion going on in both questions.

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Agreed. Also, the discussion had a note "We will be deleting posts with feedback that have made it to production to help keep things current." Deleting the entire thing does not make any sense to me then. (Note that the same applied to Diff is Hard, Let's Go Shopping!, which was undeleted again. And New Meta Search Engine - Help us test!, the latter also including some announcements about changes; still deleted.) –  Arjan Dec 10 '11 at 12:01
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While your request per se is understandable, whether I agree or not, I am personally offended by the implication (I'm aware that you don't explicitly say it) that we delete stuff because we disagree with it. I'm proud to work for a company that is very open about its process, and that encourages me to work very publicly, explain what I'm doing, and stay a member of the community despite working "above" it. The suggestion that the reason for deletion can only be censorship is in no way better than this, where I saw you on the other side of the fence. -1 –  balpha Dec 10 '11 at 12:10
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@balpha fair enough, I withdraw that part. –  Pëkka Dec 10 '11 at 12:16
    
Downvote redacted. I'll leave my comment there, because I know I'll be quoting it in other places :) –  balpha Dec 10 '11 at 12:21
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Either it gets implemented or it doesn't. If they team states they're happy with how it is right now and you still feel you have new feedback, how about starting a fresh own? I mean instead of this discussion we could have been discussion actual feedback, instead of feedback about feedback. The other question had 71(!) answers, at some point it just doesn't scale anymore. –  Ivo Flipse Dec 10 '11 at 16:14
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It's not about new feedback, it's about (unresolved) old feedback, @Ivo, and the comments to that. And if one wants to copy such old issue into a post of its own, then the author needs to have 10k on MSO to find it, and copy it. And when future new posts have actually already been answered (through comments) in the original question, then it's hard to close such new posts to be a duplicate of the deleted question. Even more, folks who search if their issue has been raised before, cannot find it. Nasty. Q&A is not fit for this, but now that it has been (ab)used, I'd say undelete and lock. –  Arjan Dec 11 '11 at 11:49
    
I would love to add my 2c... but all I get is "This question was voluntarily removed by its author." Without seeing anything I can't judge it, but it seems like any question which follows the rules should be closed, not deleted. –  Abhi Beckert Dec 18 '11 at 22:45
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Cletus was right 2 years ago... –  Lorem Ipsum Dec 18 '11 at 23:24
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@Mace yeah, he was. –  Pëkka Dec 19 '11 at 7:30
    
(Or, spend your rep on a bounty asking to unlock this, so I can add this ;-)) –  Arjan Jan 13 '12 at 18:12
    
@Arjan that one is locked? That's a scandal! (thanks for the screen shot, I'm sure it will come in handy eventually.) –  Pëkka Jan 13 '12 at 18:20
    
I started a separate feature request: New profile page - first tab needs better design –  Pëkka Jan 21 '12 at 11:34

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted
+500

Let's look at the possible arguments for deleting the question:

Lacking Relevance

Once the new UI went live, the question itself became meaningless. This is true. However, the discussion the question spawned did not.

Questions can be changed, and they can be changed very easily. All that was needed was for a user to re-edit the question from "What do you think of the interface where going to make?" to "What do you think of the interface we've made?" All discussion would have been perfectly valid for either question, because the interface launched virtually unchanged from the proposed version. Any criticism or praises for the proposed interface would match to the launched version.

Even ignoring that, lacking relevance is not sufficient reason to delete the question. All Stack Exchange sites deal in information. That is our highest priority: to create and preserve useful information. Deletion, at its very foundation, acts against this.

Questions should be deleted because the very existence of the question is actively damaging to the site. Spam, way off-topic garbage, exceedingly low quality questions, etc. Closed and locked, the question would act as a record of prior discussions. Deletion means that the prior discussions are lost.

The purpose of Meta StackOverflow is, among other things, to discuss things about the site. This includes changes being made. The record of the discussion of those changes is important. Deleting them simply because the changes were made does not make sense.

Causes Confusion

This argument is that the existence of the question causes confusion about where it should be discussed. This argument is baseless. Again, the question can be edited to better explain that it is a record of discussion of the proposed interface. So where is the confusion?

The question would be closed and locked; no changes could be made. It's obviously not the place to talk about the new interface. And if there were any confusion, a few words in the opening of the question could clear it up no problem.

Served its Purpose

The purpose of the question was ostensibly to help the developers polish the new UI. To solicit opinions of the community and then make changes accordingly. Once the new UI went live, that purpose was served.

Fair enough. That's a valid reason to close and lock the question, since adding more information would not serve the purpose of the question. But that doesn't explain deletion. Deleting the question means that the discussion it contains is essentially gone.

That discussion was still relevant and important. Why? Because it showed how much the community was listened to by the developers. It shows which complaints were accepted and which were ignored. It shows how the developers reacted to claims about their new UI.

In short: it shows us how much the Powers That Be respect our opinion of their efforts.

That information continues to serve a purpose. Well, not now that it's been deleted, and therefore the PTB's record of respecting the community's opinion is thus more or less untraceable.

Discussion can Continue Elsewhere

If there is a need for further discussion, appropriate feature requests or discussion questions can be asked. This isn't so much an argument for deletion as an argument for why the deletion isn't that bad.

Sadly, this argument doesn't work either. The discussion cannot continue elsewhere. It can be restarted elsewhere, but that's different from continuing. In a continued discussion, you would have pointers back to earlier parts of the discussion that you could look through. In a restarted discussion, the discussion begins from first principles.

Furthermore, the deletion of the question does not help restart discussion. Having the question there for reference would make it a lot easier to talk about things. You would be able to cite previously given arguments. You would be able to cite other posts. And so forth. And most important of all, after many months have passed, you could look back and see where the discussion went, to inform yourself of how best to restart it.

That is not possible now that the question is deleted. Nowadays, if you want to start talking about it, you'll be covering a lot of old ground again.

Are there any other arguments for deleting the question?

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I agree with many of the arguments made, hence I'm awarding it the bounty. (Not that anything we say here will make any difference, looking at past experience). –  Pëkka Jan 21 '12 at 9:23
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it is still plenty visible to the users with 10k rep on meta.. which is by far the most avid members. So I object to your claim that deletion removes the post; it does not. –  Jeff Atwood Jan 22 '12 at 10:29
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I think your premise is completely wrong. These early requests for feedback on EXPERIMENTAL features DEPLOYED TO ONLY ONE SITE are of almost no use once the feature has gone live. Once it has gone live to the whole Stack Exchange network, yes, the record of [feature-requests] and [bugs] and [support] for that feature should certainly be preserved as it is a SHIPPING feature. –  Jeff Atwood Jan 22 '12 at 10:34

I'm beginning to fail to see the point of being a member here when constructive contributions are simply removed at will. There was an open discussion going on in both questions.

I object to that, this is not the case. I stand by the teams decision to delete that particular question. It went off the rails and was treated as a mini bug tracker. It leaves only confusion behind it and makes it really hard to properly address all the concerns. The former being my main beef.

In less drastic cases I agree that we can simply just let the question stay.

Perhaps in future if we anticipate posting a mini bug tracker, we should make it CW from get go and add a note that we may remove this in future. The user page question is the only one of these I am aware of in the recent 3 months or so. I am sorry it transpired the way it did. I totally understand that if a new user got his only answer on that question deleted, it sends a stinky message. However, John Stuart Mill, greater good ... etc.

Most the feedback on that question has already been addressed, if anything remains we really should have a new 1 or 2 or 10 questions we can attack as atomic units.

We listen to the community, heck, Ben, Marc and Kev and I were hired from the community. We get awesome feedback from you and from the rest of the community, and want this to continue.

share|improve this answer
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One thing is sure: SE is not favoring its own team members either ;-) –  Arjan Jan 21 '12 at 11:07
    
Very well. Thanks Waffles. Although I still think they should have been closed, not deleted. Anyway, I posted the feature request in question: Please revert the first tab of the new user page –  Pëkka Jan 21 '12 at 11:24
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"It went off the rails and was treated as a mini bug tracker. It leaves only confusion behind it and makes it really hard to properly address all the concerns." Except... in most bug trackers, bugs are not deleted after being fixed. This is a reason to close and lock the page. But the problem is with the removal of the info. Remember: not everyone is a 10K user on MSO; deleted means it ain't there for them to see. If it was there, it could be referenced in future feature requests. Like the one Pekka just made. –  Nicol Bolas Jan 21 '12 at 17:58
    
@NicolBolas ... except that in most bug trackers, if you posted a bug that was a spreadsheet of 20 bugs, it would be closed and deleted faster than a blink. We failed to address Pekka's concern earlier, exactly for that reason. It was hidden in a massive list. –  waffles Jan 22 '12 at 3:43
    
@waffles: Deleting any bug in a bug tracker is poor bug management. With good bug management, a bug report that's 20 separate bugs would be resubmitted by the maintainer of the bug list as 20 separate bugs. In a good system, those 20 bugs would link back to the original, so that once those bugs are fixed, the original submitter would know about it. So again, deleting the information makes no sense. You failed to address Pekka's concerns because you deleted them, not because they were "hidden". –  Nicol Bolas Jan 22 '12 at 3:51
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@NicolsBolas I am not going to get into a big censorship argument here, I locked it and left it there ... time to move along –  waffles Jan 22 '12 at 4:20
    
+1 for your efforts waffles...It's sad that you had to do this, just about everyone can see the logic of the team and understands this...it's so freaking simple to start a new question with an issue or bug that is relevant now. –  davidsleeps Jan 22 '12 at 6:54
    
but why when Pekka already posted his feature request in the proper way? What's the point of doing this now? –  Jeff Atwood Jan 22 '12 at 9:33
    
@jeff it is not worth the effort arguing this, 40 people disagree with us, I don't see a point in "winning" this argument –  waffles Jan 22 '12 at 9:57
    
no, this is silly, Pekka made a proper post for his request, undeleting now is just .. senseless. I'm deleting it. (and if we always "undid" things when merely FORTY people disagreed, well, nothing would ever get done around here..) –  Jeff Atwood Jan 22 '12 at 10:00
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@JeffAtwood I am happy to do stuff where 40 people disagree, the issue here is the the stakes are so damn low, it can remain and nobody will die. Worse questions still remain on meta and my answer was not satisfactory to either Pekka or Nicol. I also agree that we can need to be careful eradicating meta reps willy nilly, especially when it comes to new users and especially when we instigate it. I don't see this as senseless, there is a bigger problem here. If we ask for feedback and then nuke, it looks bad. If we anticipate we are going to nuke, we should ask as wiki, at least. –  waffles Jan 22 '12 at 10:21
    
@waffles leaving it leaves broken windows where other users will find this stuff about beta experimental features and be confused why this ancient irrelevant stuff is on the site. It is a net negative to the world. The only part I agreed about was that Pekka should re-post his request if it's still valid, and that got done, so.. it's just broken window noise at this point, and I object to it. –  Jeff Atwood Jan 22 '12 at 10:25
    
I am open to handling future questions like this in some other way but I don't feel that "waffling" on this is of any value at all and only sends very mixed messages. –  Jeff Atwood Jan 22 '12 at 10:31
    
@JeffAtwood as I said the stakes are low, I don't personally care that much, I do not think it creates a big broken window as well. how many of these are broken windows? meta.stackoverflow.com/search?tab=votes&q=closed%3a1 I stand by my original answer, however there are much more important things for people to worry about. If the community wants to eject content they can do so with delete votes. –  waffles Jan 22 '12 at 10:33
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@Jeff, exactly: "I am open to handling future questions like this in some other way"... this is my main take home point ... the 6 times a year we know this is going to happen, we can avoid the mess by being upfront. –  waffles Jan 22 '12 at 10:36

We have deployed a redesign of the new user page. We're looking for any bugs / feedback you may have before we turn this on for the rest of the network.

The new design was deployed to the rest of the network.

That question is now too localized.

It contains valuable information, however due to its localized nature it confuses people about where they should be discussing user page issues, not to mention that design changes means much of the discussion is not only moot, but confusing.

Those who wish to discuss ongoing issues with it should break those topics out into their own questions. Those who can't see it should make the post from what they remember about the issue (actually I think it's better to start from fresh, since enough has changed that bringing up the old discussion as-is may actually be counter-productive) and let 10k users fill in important points made in the original topic that are still relevant.

There is a reason "too localized" exists, and this is one big part of it.

If it is determined that it should remain for sub-10k users, then it should be locked so no new comments can be added and people encouraged to break important issues out into new topics. I don't actually see the point in making it visible to everyone, as that may actually confuse people since many of the discussion are moot given changes to the design, but if it is visible it should be considered archived and discussion in that topic discouraged.

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Yes, that explains why it was closed and locked. That doesn't explain why it was deleted. Getting 10K rep on Meta is a lot harder than getting 10K rep on most sites. People should see what those discussions were so that they can be continued elsewhere. In any case, instead of closing the question, it could have been changed into a general "talk about the new look" question. But that's not possible since it's deleted. –  Nicol Bolas Jan 20 '12 at 23:56
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As others have stated, deletion is the method of last resort. It shouldn't be the first thing you do to something localized. –  Nicol Bolas Jan 20 '12 at 23:58
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@NicolBolas "Getting 10K rep on Meta is a lot harder than getting 10K rep on most sites." I find the opposite to be true. Perhaps I'm a meta expert. Closing is the first step to deletion. Besides, if there are problems with the user page, they will be brought up - there's no need for the old discussion that was only meant to live during the initial beta test. –  Adam Davis Jan 21 '12 at 1:47
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Closing is not the first step to deletion. Closing is for questions that are irrelevant or not within the sites boundaries. Deletion is for questions who's mere existence is actively damaging to the site. In what way was just having the discussion available to see actively damaging to the site? Well, besides the fact that it proves the site admins saw the hostility towards part of the UI and did nothing before shoving it out there. To me, the reason of closing and locking makes sense. The only reason to delete it is to remove the information. And that doesn't serve a purpose. –  Nicol Bolas Jan 21 '12 at 1:53
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The purpose of Stack Exchange sites is to create and preserve "valuable information". The fact that the question/answers contained "valuable information" alone should have been sufficient reason not to delete it. Close it? Yes. Lock it? Yes. Edit the question to avoid confusion? Yes. Delete it? No. –  Nicol Bolas Jan 21 '12 at 2:22
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@nicol "It’s important to note here that closing a question is a step on the road to deletion" blog.stackoverflow.com/2008/12/i-move-to-close-this-question –  Jeff Atwood Jan 22 '12 at 10:32

I disagree. That question had the sole purpose to aid the team during the beta phase here on Meta. Now that the page is live, it should be treated like everything else.

Otherwise it might spawn "answers" which should be or on their own, and would make it hard for the team to track them.

Keeping it around and just lock it might confuse new users as to how to handle issues with the user-page.

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There was a discussion going in in there, and major disagreement with a part of the changes that was completely ignored twice. If somebody wants to turn the answers into feature-requests on their own, be my guest - I won't, as I'm 100% certain it would go ignored for the next five years, and be a complete waste of time. –  Pëkka Dec 10 '11 at 12:18
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@TheP.G.RepMiningCo.: I completely understand that. But you also have to agree that it is first, about personal preference. And second, the team of SE took a decision and is so far sticking to it. –  Time Traveling Bobby Dec 10 '11 at 12:22
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yeah, but that's not my issue here - I just request that the discussion be left in place, if nothing else. –  Pëkka Dec 10 '11 at 12:27
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In that case important information should be extracted into a new topic of it's own. As I said, I see no reason to keep that topic public, because that might lead to confusion, misunderstandings and at worst fragmentation which can't be easily handled. But I agree that the best thing would be to extract the answers as they are, including the comments. Though, I'm not sure if even the devs easily have that possibility. –  Time Traveling Bobby Dec 10 '11 at 12:33
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Already it had findings that were posted as both an answer and standalone feature-request, by different people. But the team asked for "Post your comments / feedback as answers to this question" rather than standalone posts. Maybe that should not be asked for future requests for feedback then, when knowing the full post will eventually be deleted? (And confusion about how to proceed is very easily handled by adding a note to the locked/closed question?) –  Arjan Dec 10 '11 at 12:35
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But protecting and locking are the answer to such predicaments; deleting is always recommended as a last resort; it defies the whole openness and transparency, and data/information integrity that the company advocates and that the community thrives on; furthermore, we can't be held accountable for future user stupidity (by this argument, why not delete MSO, since 'confused' users keep finding it instead of SO?) All in all, poor reasoning. –  Grant Thomas Dec 19 '11 at 10:21
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@mr.d there is no need for openness on experimental features which may or may not even exist until we're done with them and they ship. I think that's the crux of the misunderstanding here. Once it ships, yes, sure, preserve the requests.. –  Jeff Atwood Jan 22 '12 at 10:38

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