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Should on-topic, unreal questions be deleted, in general?

Should Why do some languages not use semicolons and braces? be deleted?

This isn't a real question because it's vague, incomplete, and rhetorical. Not horribly in any single direction, but enough combined that I voted to close. (The Python comment is a non sequitur and contributes negativity, too.) Possibly worth noting is it was closed twice with the same NARQ reason.

However, I voted to delete for different reasons: it's subjective, speculative, open-ended, and I don't want users finding that kind of question, seeing it closed, and asking it again. Or thinking that is an acceptable type of question to ask. (If they independently think of that topic, but ask it without being subjective, speculative, and open-ended, that's perfectly fine, of course.)

(I am surprised it only took three votes to delete. Am I incorrectly counting how upvotes contribute?)

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Regarding the number of delete votes, it took only 3 delete votes because the question was deleted on May 23rd and May 25th, just three hours before the new delete rules came into effect. It would take much more delete votes to delete this question with the new rules. –  Daniel Vassallo Jun 3 '10 at 1:57

3 Answers 3

If you voted to delete, you already know the answer. I don't understand why people post these "should I" question,s presumably in hope of some community validation of their actions. Are you so insecure you can't make your own mind up on this?

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I want to hear other viewpoints. That's why this is a [discussion]. I am not asking for validation; I'm confident in my reasons. I'm asking for any reasons I may have missed, any considerations that mitigate my reasons, and what other criteria should be considered for deleting unreal questions. Obviously at least 5 people disagree strongly enough to vote to undelete; one of them so strongly he voted twice. Why are you so against discussion on Meta? –  Gnome Jun 2 '10 at 23:09
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Then there's the whole "It isn't off-topic; why delete? Take to meta if there is a good reason to kill it..." moderator comment when it was locked. –  Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 1:33

What if it was reworded as why do some languages not use C-like syntax? This isn't a perfectly appropriate question, but it could be worse.

I don't want users finding that kind of question, seeing it closed, and asking it again.

I completely agree with the asking it again part, but whether the question gets deleted is controversial. The python comment is definitely inappropriate for this reason. But there's a lot of good answers in there and I don't think they should all die just because the question isn't perfect. For that reason, IMHO we leave this particular question un-deleted.

I am surprised it only took three votes to delete. Am I incorrectly counting how upvotes contribute?

The question wasn't deleted, it was locked. This is basically when a mod puts their foot down and instantly closes a question so it can't be reopened the normal way.

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It was deleted (twice) and undeleted (twice) with only 3 votes each time. If you're not 10k on SO, you may not be able to see this. –  Gnome Jun 2 '10 at 23:03

I was the one who asked the mods to intervene yesterday, when I saw this question collecting delete votes again in the 10k tools. I did so, because I believe this question should remain undeleted.

I don't mind deleting bad questions. What I mind is deleting goods answers. Also note that whoever introduced the Reversal Badge seems to encourage posting goods answers to bad questions:

Reversal is unlike any other badge to date, as it rewards, as TheTXI calls it, the “diamond in the rough” — taking a bad question and miraculously turning it into something positive by providing a great answer, a phenomenon that continually amazes me:

Usually, it’s garbage-in, garbage-out. Bad questions beget bad answers. If you sort the Stack Overflow question list by votes and sink to the bottom of the barrel, you’ll find some truly horrible questions, as you might expect. But you’ll also find something you probably didn’t expect — some amazingly good answers!

Now, these are questions judged by community votes to be of so little merit that I’d usually delete them without a second thought. But I can’t, because a well-intentioned Stack Overflow user has poured his or her heart into an incredibly insightful and helpful answer. Deleting the bad question would bury the good answer, too.

It’s the web forum equivalent of turning lead into gold, and it happens far more often than I ever would have predicted. (This is also the reason why voting on questions should be, and is, independent of answer votes.)

Now this wasn't even such a bad question either. To quote your deletion reason, it is just "subjective, speculative and open-ended". It's just an on-topic question bordering on the "not a real question", seeking to satisfy a programming curiosity rather than solving a real problem. The answers happen to solve this curiosity exhaustively, for the OP, and for anyone else asking this question.

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Re reversal: I wouldn't mind seeing it go away, it seems to promote funny/joke answers much more than good answers. (And +1 for responding, I was hoping the undeleters would, now I need to think about what you wrote.) –  Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 2:16
    
I count a total score of 56; so under the new deletion rules, 3+2 votes required to delete (and only 4 upvotes shy of one more). If 5 or 6 people had voted to delete, would that change anything for you? (Given that it was deleted the second time right before the rule change, I can definitely understand the desire to get it judged under the new rules.) –  Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 3:17
    
@The Cat: I'm pretty sure it was going to get deleted anyway, even with the new rules. It had accumulated 3 delete votes in just a few hours before it was locked, and it would surely have attracted another 2 votes during that day... I think that means that 5 people would have interpreted the content of that post as a threat to the quality of SO. But in this case, I don't. However I am judging the answers rather than the question, which could explain the different views. –  Daniel Vassallo Jun 3 '10 at 4:51

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