UPDATE: This thread was posted just a few hours before deletion votes became rate limited. The concerns highlighted in this answer will hopefully be mitigated by this feature. Nonetheless, I appreciate that about 200 of the most popular deleted threads are being audited in The Great Question Deletion Audit of 2010, which is what I intended to incite with this answer. Thank you Jeff, for listening and responding promptly.
I say that the Python question should be undeleted (at least).
I have to admit that I do not frequent the 10k moderation tools very much, and I appreciate the guys that keep the trilogy sites clean by monitoring this often. However, just from today's "Recently Deleted" questions, I cannot help but wonder whether questions such as the following had to be deleted:
On this, there seems to be an "official policy" on the SO blog that defines the properties of questions that should be deleted. Quoting:
Why would you delete a question? Isn’t closing it enough?
- Some questions are of such poor quality that they cannot be salvaged. They’re literally nonsense. Not every byte of data that is created in the world is infinite and sacred.
- Some questions are so incredibly off topic that they add no value to a programming community.
- The mental cost of processing these closed questions is not zero, particularly for users who are actively engaged and scanning questions to find things they can help answer.
- If users see a lot of closed questions, they’ll note that we don’t enforce the guidelines, so why should they? Without any final resolution, asking questions that get closed becomes something we are implicitly encouraging — a broken windows problem. If this goes on for long enough, we’re no longer a community of programmers who ask and answer programming questions, we’re a community of random people discussing.. whatever. That’s toxic.
- If enough of these closed questions are allowed to hang around, they become clutter that reduces the overall signal to noise ratio — which further reduces confidence in the system.
(I added the bold and bullet numbering myself)
It is probably points 3, 4 and 5 that are a bit of a grey area, where the community may disagree what constitutes clutter, mental cost, or a broken windows problem. On the other hand, I guess classifying questions as "literally nonsense" and "incredibly off topic" should be quite straightforward.
I think that one of the problems is that deleted questions do not get enough visibility for others to counter-react with undelete votes. The reasons for this were recently described by mmyers a few days ago.
In fact, I would propose that while the deletion process remains as is, we could submit a post on Meta whenever we encounter a deleted question that got deleted and with which we disagree. The post should contain the arguments in favor of its resurrection, and the community would get some visibility and enough information to make an informed decision on whether to cast an undelete vote or leave it as it is. Maybe this post by Jeff Atwood and this one by Greg Hewgill could be taken as examples.
In the log run, I think this could also serve to refine the policies of what should be deleted in the first place.