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I've been told that if a question or answer of mine is deleted, I should carefully consider each question on the merits, and if I believe a question is meritorious, I should bring it to Meta.

In principle, I support this approach. In practice, Stack Overflow is a hobby for me, and I have been hit with 10 deletions just in the past 3 days, and an equal or greater number in the previous week. These deletions are coming in too fast for me to review.

Please institute a feature that rate-limits deletions so that no single user is presented with more deletions than he or she can handle. The rate limit should be tied to a user's recent activity on the site. For example, a user who answers three questions a day can probably review two or three deletions in a day. A user who answers three questions a week can probably review three deletions a week. Even a user who answers very few questions can probably review one or two deletions a week.

Deletions of questions or answers written by inactive users (those who longer log in) should not be rate-limited.

UPDATE: I completely overlooked the spam problem that wax eagle points out. I'm happy if the rate-limiting mechanism applies only to questions/answers that have reached a certain minimum age or a certain minimum reputation or both. Deletions of new or low-reputation questions and answers need not be rate-limited. The problem I'm trying to solve is that I can't cope with the Great Deletion Audit of 2012. I thought instead of just complaining, I would try to propose something constructive...

SECOND UPDATE: OK, I have failed to make my proposal clear:

  1. Nothing about the moderators' workflow should change. Moderators continue to delete questions as they normally do.

  2. Deletions of "low-value" questions occur immediately. We figure out what we mean by low-value, but it certainly includes spam, young questions with no net upvotes, questions by users with less than 200 reputation, whatever you like.

  3. Deletions of potentially "high-value" questions are enqueued by software. Whatever we mean by "high value", I don't care. Questions older than 6 months? Material from users with 10k reputation? I don't care about the specifics.

  4. There's no such thing as "posted for deletion pending review". Deleted means deleted. Users can see the deleted questions, and it's up to them to decide if they want to make a case for undeletion on Meta.

The force of my proposal is to allow authors of deleted content sufficient time to review each case on its merits and decide if they want to make a case for undeletion on Meta. Precisely because I don't want to disrupt the moderators' work in any way, implementing this proposal would require a feature request.

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How is this even remotely a good idea? –  wax eagle Mar 3 '12 at 20:19
    
@MichaelMrozek I totally agree that scenario is madness. I'm sorry I botched the question. Please help me solve my real problem, which is too-rapid deletion of old questions via moderator action. –  Norman Ramsey Mar 3 '12 at 20:27
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I don't support this specific proposal, but I definitely support your attempts (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/124422/…) to handle this problem constructively. –  Josh Caswell Mar 3 '12 at 20:37
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There's no such thing as "posted for deletion pending review" Actually that's exactly what closure is. You have enough time to salvage the question before it's deleted. If you don't bother, what's to say that you'll bother during the "deletion review"? –  Yannis Mar 3 '12 at 21:44

2 Answers 2

How is this even remotely a good idea?

If we did this it would seriously damage the ability of moderators to moderate. We would vulnerable to spam attacks, or people could just post whatever they wanted at sufficient volume that we would not be allowed to delete them.

This is a poor solution to a problem that is one of perception rather than the actual software.

Delete votes for 10k users (lower limits on beta sites) are already rate limited, you only get so many votes per day (this is based on your total rep with more rep meaning more votes). Moderators are the only ones with unlimited delete limits.

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I am a 10k user on SO and moderators are deleting my stuff faster than I can review it. This is the problem I am trying to solve. I overlooked the spam problem and have revised my proposal accordingly. –  Norman Ramsey Mar 3 '12 at 20:25
    
@Norman yes, they are deleting content that is no longer in scope for the site. How is this actually a problem? Off topic is off topic, those questions should be closed, and eventually deleted. –  wax eagle Mar 3 '12 at 20:26
    
Now I can get back to deleting 20 spam/thanks/me-too/plz-help answers in 5 seconds. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Mar 3 '12 at 20:26
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@waxeagle there have been massive complaints about these deletions (on Meta) and serious, adult disagreements about what is or is not in scope. I will not try to recapitulate the discussion here. –  Norman Ramsey Mar 3 '12 at 20:30
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@NormanRamsey the scope hasn't changed. its a matter of whether historical stuff should stay or not. But you're right that's neither here or there. Ultimately though SE is about the content, and thus who generates the content shouldn't matter, and shouldn't limit deletions. –  wax eagle Mar 3 '12 at 20:41

If I follow this, you're asking, in effect, for deletions of bad material to be time limited. That would slow down the removal of bad content from the site and make it more cumbersome to improve content. Gotta say I don't see the point.

To invent an extreme example, let's say a user creates an account and posts a lot of "what's your favorite [foo] questions that get a lot of upvotes before they get closed. Years later, when the site is deleting closed content, if there's a time limit on deletions, many of those questions will be lost in the shuffle. I really think that limiting deletions like this would be a bad idea.

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My problem is that moderators are unilaterally deciding my content is bad. (I have written 1500 answers so there is a lot of content out there.) When I objected, I was told I should review each deletion and if I think it is wrong, post an undeletion request on the merits of the question. The deletions are coming in faster than I can review them. This is the problem I am trying to solve. –  Norman Ramsey Mar 3 '12 at 20:26
    
@NormanRamsey - Yes, I read your question. Still think it's a bad idea, creating a feature to cope with a one-time situation. –  Neil Fein Mar 3 '12 at 20:29
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I don't see how any deletions will get "lost in the shuffle". Moderators can delete questions as fast as they want. If the authors of questions and answers are to have a real right to review the deletions, they can go in a queue somewhere, and software can roll them out as needed. Software can smooth out local bursts, but over the long term, moderators should not delete questions faster than the deletions can be reviewed. (And a "right of review" should not extend to every question.) –  Norman Ramsey Mar 3 '12 at 20:32
    
I mean if there's a review period, then mods who find bad questions/answers will have to make a note of stuff to delete "later" when they can. It'll increase their workload. Regular users will most likely just not get around to it, since it's not their job. –  Neil Fein Mar 3 '12 at 20:33
    
the message I am getting loud and clear is that my opinion doesn't matter. I guess I can just grumble about how things have gone to hell ever since Jeff Atwood left :-) –  Norman Ramsey Mar 3 '12 at 20:33
    
New meme! Jeff has left on a unicorn. –  Neil Fein Mar 3 '12 at 20:35
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(And your opinion matters, people just disagree with it.) –  Neil Fein Mar 3 '12 at 20:38

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