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I realize that there are rules in place that prevent posters from deleting their own questions, but I would like to see a disincentive for deletion. One possibility is to flag a "delete rate," similar to the existing "accept rate": if you see that a user has deleted many of his/her questions, you'll know that any effort you expend in an answer is likely to be wasted.

(and yes, this was driven by recent experience)


Based on the votes, it appears that this isn't a very popular idea. However, I feel that some answers to the responders are warranted.

I'll start with the straw man first: yes, it is conceivable that a user with a 100% deletion rate could come up with a good question and decide not to delete it. And I'm sure that it is equally likely that there will be a responder who sees the 100% delete rate, but decides to take a chance on the question anyway. Particularly if the answer is simple.

Is this a reasonable scenario? I don't think so; truly bad questions are quickly picked up by the Close Police without any input from the OP. However, I think a disincentive actually works here: it drives the user toward positive behavior, such as editing the question and making it better.

OK, on to the user who realizes that the question is an exact duplicate. Again, duplicate questions get closed pretty quickly. However, this concern could be satisfied by giving users the option to close their own questions.

Next: "recoup a deletion rate" similar to recouping a low acceptance rate: personally, I feel having users quickly run through and accept answers in order to improve their acceptance percentage is actually a bad thing. Acceptance should be a statement that "I have tried this answer, and it works for me."

And finally: realizing the answer immediately after posting the question. To which my response is: OK, you had this problem, do you think you're the only person in the world to have it? The proper response in this case is to prepare an answer, so that other people don't have to ask the question.

I've actually practiced that: of the two questions that I've asked on SO, I answered one myself after about an hour debugging the problem. It was a bug, or possibly a feature, in the Prototype JavaScript library. Since I figured out the answer myself, and the only other respondent gave an answer that was unhelpful in that particular situation, should I have just deleted the question?

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Which recent experience was it? –  Joe Polski Jan 6 '10 at 19:17
    
the specific experience is irrelevant –  kdgregory Jan 7 '10 at 1:35
    
Rampant deleting is definitely a problem, see related meta.stackexchange.com/questions/74466/… but I disagree with the solution, there are many rightful reasons for deleting questions. –  Pëkka Feb 17 '11 at 16:58

3 Answers 3

Personally I think that will create too many false negatives to justify it.

There are legitimate reasons for users to delete questions and, unlike the acceptance rate, there's no way to recoup a deletion rate after deleting something that really should have been deleted.

For example, a new, bright-eyed user comes in and posts a question that has been asked before, word for word, so he deletes his own question. That's legitimate, but now he'll never, ever be able to achieve a 0% deletion rate.

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I don't agree with this. Even if a user has a 100% delete rate, that doesn't mean they won't come up with a good, valid question that should get answered. The bias that your suggestion would put on someone would make that question all but disappear. I've gone back and deleted questions before which I came to realize were just bad. Since I don't ask all that many questions I would probably, then, have a fairly high delete rate which I don't agree with. The Accept Rate has thresholds before it is calculated. What would the thresholds be before this rate kicks in?

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I have a few deleted questions - for example, on SU I had a problem that I fixed the moment after posting. I don't want that counting against me...

When there are upvoted answers against a question, only moderators can delete it - it can't be self-deleted by the poster.

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Perhaps someone was writing an answer during this moment –  Alexandre Jasmin Apr 14 '10 at 4:13

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