I've been surprised how many questions I've seen with only one or two delete votes, especially when users post exact duplicates of their questions if they don't get "good enough" answers quickly. I'd expect these to be deleted very quickly, but they often aren't deleted for a while.

A recent example: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/8859764/ambiguous-constructor duplicates https://stackoverflow.com/questions/8859422/ambiguous-default-constructor

These are often closed within minutes, and very often people downvote the duplicate, sometimes with a comment similar to:

-1 for posting the exact same question you posted an hour ago.

The duplicate question should be deleted. It contains nothing new and cannot serve as a signpost for the future.

Are delete votes being held back because deleted posts no longer count for reputation during a recalc?

If I downvote a question, I want it to stick. Voting is very immediate: a -1 is a tangible event.

Vague threats of future question bans "if the community deletes too many questions" are not as tangible (to me or questioners).

Are delete votes for these posts being held back because users cannot view their deleted questions? If people give feedback about how to ask better questions (I must use Jon's handy http://tinyurl.com/so-hints link several times each day) there is no way for the questioner to ever see the feedback and know that their behavior was not welcomed in our community if the post is deleted before their return.

Are delete votes for these posts being held back because the delete 10k tool isn't as prominent after the /review tool was introduced?

Are delete votes being held back because people don't re-visit posts they've voted to close? (I've wanted some way to flag, vote to close, or vote to delete in an hour if a post isn't edited...) Perhaps we could use another mechanism like vote to close this post and cast a delete vote once it is closed?

Is anyone else curious or concerned about why such obvious duplicates live for as long as they do?

  • Yes, I am. Maybe if you flagged them too, they would get more results?
    – Ry-
    Jan 14, 2012 at 4:41
  • 3
    Too bad there isn't a close and delete option for the really bad posts... I try to revisit those to delete if I still have links to them. Unfortunately, it's hard to track posts you've voted on, voted to close or otherwise did some action on. Jan 14, 2012 at 4:51
  • 10k users have a lot more close votes than delete votes, so you cannot expect every closed question to be deleted.
    – Bo Persson
    Jan 14, 2012 at 6:03
  • @minitech: that would definitely get more attention quickly. But after I learned that we've only got twelve moderators I figured I should step up to handle more of the tasks with the tools that are available to me.
    – sarnold
    Jan 14, 2012 at 22:58
  • We may only have twelve moderators, but 20k+ users can view the flags, close and delete too.
    – Ry-
    Jan 14, 2012 at 23:02

2 Answers 2


10k users can only vote to delete a question 2 days after it's been posted. Until then, it takes a trusted user (20,000 rep) or a moderator to vote to delete it.

If you think the duplicate truly has no merit, vote to delete it yourself if you can and/or flag it for moderator attention. If the new question did get an answer or some helpful comments, the questions can be merged instead of just outright deleting the new version and removing potentially useful information.

  • 2
    I forgot about the two-day delay for 10k-19999 reputation users. It makes more sense now. :) Thanks!
    – sarnold
    Jan 14, 2012 at 22:59

I am far more conservative with delete votes than close ones. I have treated delete votes as something that should be reserved for content with no redeeming value, either in the question or answers to it. However, others are a little more free with them. I do vote to delete a lot of stuff, but I can burn all of my daily votes on just garbage questions with no answers, so that's where I focus first.

There can be some value in questions closed as duplicates, as Jeff indicates here. If I think that a closed duplicate provides a good landing point for Google searchers due to different wording, it can be useful to leave it around and have it point back to the canonical original.

If there are really good new answers, and this is a true duplicate of the original, I'll often flag for merging, as Anna indicates. This concentrates the good answers in one location.

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