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Based on the new rules for deletion, a question with a high total score (on itself and its answers) takes more votes to delete.

But how many does it take to then undelete it?

  • Still just 3 undelete votes?
  • A number of undelete votes equal to the delete votes?

To open up a little more discussion, which do you think it should be?

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Concrete example to help consider this on my duplicate question. –  Gnome Jun 7 '10 at 18:45
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@the, please don't remove the title from your links, it forces us to click to see it. –  jmfsg Jun 7 '10 at 18:55
    
@Juan: Habit since it's much easier for me to do (I'm not removing, just not copying the whole URL). There's a feature request about automatically inserting titles for intrasite links, though, which is a better solution all around. –  Gnome Jun 7 '10 at 19:17
    
@the, in the meantime, please copy the whole url :) –  jmfsg Jun 7 '10 at 19:40

3 Answers 3

Also, shouldn't fewer votes be needed to delete unpopular questions? Personally, I think we should all calm down and revert to the the original deletion rules (which have worked pretty well up to now).

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@Robert I think they are still working well. The hysteria caused by a Microsoft dev's answer being deleted is puzzling to me. –  nb69307 May 26 '10 at 16:09
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@mmyers: Apparently Jeff disagrees. According to him, the deletion Eric's answers somehow constituted a tipping point. –  Aarobot May 26 '10 at 16:14
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@Neil: Which is why the new limits were imposed. With respect, some people just don't get it. This is one of those times. That Eric Lippert's question should have not been deleted is apparent. That some people are so rabid to delete questions they consider bad that they cause collateral damage (i.e. they can't exercise some reasonable self-control) is the reason reforms were needed. –  Robert Harvey May 26 '10 at 16:16
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@Robert Of course, if everything were apparent, there would be no need for discussion. Unfortunately, to some of us it isn't apparent. And using a bold font won't make it so. –  nb69307 May 26 '10 at 16:20
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@Robert: Eric didn't ask the question, he answered it. It was a bad question. He happened to give a good answer. In any case, several of us have been working at the deletion audit and most people seem to agree that most of the deleted questions really should have been deleted. Outliers like this one can be resolved by other means, and this one was resolved by other means. The "reforms" were never necessary. –  Aarobot May 26 '10 at 16:21
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@Aarobot: If deletions only affected questions, then you could vote to delete them without considering the answers. But because deletions also delete the answers, you must also consider the answers when casting your delete vote. I'm surprised I have to explain this. –  Robert Harvey May 26 '10 at 16:25
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@Robert If the question should not have been asked on SO, I can't see how the answer can be valuable, no matter how prolix it is. –  nb69307 May 26 '10 at 16:30
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@Neil: Ultimately, the first and primary purpose of a website like is to gather valuable information. That mission takes precedence. The preservation of valuable information must override all other considerations. –  Robert Harvey May 26 '10 at 16:35
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@Robert actually, I disagree. The value of SO to me is the sensibilities of its users, otherwise I might as well be using Usenet. –  nb69307 May 26 '10 at 16:40
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@Aarobot In other words, the diamond mods should do what they were elected to do. –  nb69307 May 26 '10 at 16:43
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@Aarobot: there are plenty of bad question / good answer pairs preserved on SO. There's even a badge for that (inspired by a question that was subsequently deleted...) Off-topic / inappropriate questions are another matter though: should a brilliant answer to a spam post cause the spam to be preserved? If Rachael Ray shows up to post an answer to a request for waffle recipes do we get a celebrity exception for that too? –  Shog9 May 26 '10 at 16:46
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@Aarobot: I was very surprised when I discovered that the Eric Lippert post was a topic on Meta. When I first saw the original question, I thought to myself, "Surely everyone will have enough common sense to preserve this." Clearly I was wrong. And I was wrong because high-rep people find ways to abuse the system. They hammer posts they don't like with spam flags, so that they get semi-permanently deleted (which is what will happen here also). They cast delete votes on questions with valuable material, because they can't stand seeing a subjective question in the F5 list. –  Robert Harvey May 26 '10 at 16:53
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@Shog9 Rachel?!? Heck, no! Now, if it was Alton Brown... –  dmckee May 26 '10 at 16:54
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@Robert: spam flags do not permanently delete posts. They get locked, but they are still in the system and can still be restored by moderator intervention. And ascribing motives to other users is a dangerous road... –  Shog9 May 26 '10 at 16:55
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@Robert: Why on earth would you assume that it's the 10k users "hammering" posts with spam/offensive flags? You only need 15 rep to do that. Isn't it a lot more likely that the people hammering with flags are the ones who don't have close/delete powers? –  Aarobot May 26 '10 at 17:08

I think it should remain at 3. The reason for the change is to make popular questions a little harder to delete. I don't think it makes sense to also make them harder to undelete.

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Gotta disagree here: if it is bad enough to still get deleted under the new "popularity counts" regime, then it must be assumed to be a real stinker. –  dmckee May 26 '10 at 16:44
    
@dmckee: That's a valid point. I was assuming that the new rules are designed to make these questions gravitate towards an undeleted state, which might not be a safe assumption. –  Bill the Lizard May 26 '10 at 16:59
    
@Bill: I imagine that is the intent, but within limits. Making them both hard to delete and easy to un-delete would seem to imply a near impossibility of deleting them –  dmckee May 26 '10 at 19:07
    
If a diamond bothers to force a deletion of a bikeshed, why should three of the subjectivists be able to undelete it? –  Rosinante Jun 7 '10 at 18:51
    
@Rosinante: If a ♦ bothers to delete something, we can just lock it if we want it to stay deleted. This is about the community voting to delete/undelete without our intervention. –  Bill the Lizard Jun 7 '10 at 19:38
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@Bill fair enough. I agree, in any case, with dmckee. The barriers should be symmetrical. Once a big group has assembled to delete, that tells us that, however many votes it got, it has a big problem. And so it should stay deleted unless a diamond or a big group weighs in. –  Rosinante Jun 8 '10 at 1:52
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@Rosinante: Yeah, @dmckee's comment is pretty much the only reason I'm leaving this here. My answer wasn't quite as well-considered as his response. –  Bill the Lizard Jun 8 '10 at 2:17

It's bad enough that the new deletion rules are skewed ridiculously in favour of bikeshed discussion questions with hundreds of joke and "me too" answers. At the very least, these questions need to require the same number of undelete votes - otherwise you might as well just do away with the charade and disable the deletion entirely.

No question can stay deleted if it requires 20 votes to delete and only 3 to restore. If you don't want them deleted then call a spade a spade.

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I'm inclined to agree with the bikeshed argument; it's too bad that some restraint wasn't exercised on the question with Eric Lippert's answer on it, otherwise we might not be having this discussion. Like many laws that are enacted due to the actions of a few, those few people spoil it for everyone else. –  Robert Harvey May 26 '10 at 16:22
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Tough cases make for bad law... –  dmckee May 26 '10 at 16:41
    
@Robert: Deletions are soft. Pencils have erasers. I personally am ambivalent about preserving a question solely because it was answered by a VIP (I respect Eric a great deal but where do we draw the line?). Nevertheless, hypothetically assuming that I unequivocally agreed that the question should never have been deleted - has this really spoiled anything? All that really needs to be done is for someone to contact the mods (either directly or through meta) and get the question polished and/or undeleted and/or locked. Is it really not possible to deal with these on a case-by-case basis? –  Aarobot May 26 '10 at 16:45
    
For the record, I think that delete votes should be rate-limited like everything else, but that the outliers like the Eric Lippert answer can (hopefully) be solved with moderator intervention, rather than popularity votes. I have looked at the list of Audit Questions posted by Jeff, and I don't think any of them are salvageable, although I haven't looked at most of them in detail to see if they contain good answers. Ultimately, it takes a human to determine what constitutes good content; you can't program the system to figure this out. –  Robert Harvey May 26 '10 at 17:03
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Anyway, I don't think the answer should be preserved because it was written by Eric Lippert; I think it should be preserved because it was a very good answer. –  Robert Harvey May 26 '10 at 17:23
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@Robert: Yes, it was a very good answer. Nevertheless, I hope we can all admit that it wouldn't have caused such a stir if it had been written by Jimmy Onerep. –  Aarobot May 26 '10 at 18:12

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