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Is there a consistent standard, or do people apply their own standards?

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For the record, it can't be deleted "instead" of closed - it must be closed first before it can be deleted. (Unless deleted directly by moderator, but it's very rare) –  Shadow Wizard Feb 2 '12 at 8:17

1 Answer 1

I like the explanation given recently at Programmers Meta:

There are many reasons why closed questions aren't deleted.

  1. We have to give time for the OP (and others) to improve the question so it can be reopened.
  2. The closure may have been incorrect in the first place. Having the question visible means it can be reopened if necessary.
  3. It takes time to work through all the closed questions, working out which are salvageable and which need to be deleted.
  4. People complain bitterly if highly upvoted closed questions are deleted.

...

Ultimately these questions will be deleted.

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