Should questions on the stack exchange be deleted, closed, mysteriously disappear, or should they be left open for all future users to see?

What should we do with these questions?

Even one or two that could be asked in the future (as a real questions).

List of all nondeleted april-fools questions on SO

  • 2
    Stab, push into dark alley, abscond? But maybe that's just me.
    – a cat
    Apr 2, 2012 at 21:41
  • 5
    Ah, good. Thanks for sharing these links. I had a few delete votes left today on SO. (And, is it just me, or is the quality of the April Fool's questions substantially lower this year compared to previous years?)
    – Cody Gray
    Apr 2, 2012 at 23:04

3 Answers 3


Traditionally, all but the most wildly successful get closed and deleted. If they make it to the end of 4/1, they're doing pretty well - only a tiny handful are ever good enough to stick it out for the long haul.

Look everyone! It's a vomiting clown!

In my mind, there are three broad guidelines that determine whether a question is appropriate for Stack Overflow:

  1. Does this question match the criteria provided in the Stack Overflow FAQ?
  2. Is this question accepted by the community, as reflected in upvotes, favorites, views, and answers?
  3. Does this question teach me anything that could make me better at my job? Can I learn something from it?

So let's examine that "install jQuery" question: Fail (not based on actual problem that you faced), Fail (closed, heavily down-voted, rarely viewed), probably fail (you don't "install" jQuery).

Oh... And then there's this:

The bottom line is that posting joke questions or answers on Stack Overflow intended to deceive your fellow users is unacceptable and anti-community, and it will not be tolerated.

Any argument you might make for the validity of that question falls apart when one realizes you rolled back edits that might have turned it into a valid beginner question in favor of keeping it a more effective mockery of a beginner question... And then returned today to tag it .

Hah. Joke's on you.

  • @mog: No. Just because a question has been asked does not mean that it is necessarily worth archiving. Some of the April Fool's Day questions might qualify for the archive, but only the good ones. The rest of them will just be deleted, and the only way you can see them is if you have 10k+ reputation on SO and therefore can view deleted content.
    – Cody Gray
    Apr 3, 2012 at 19:37
  • @mog: Well, things are deleted for a reason... There really isn't much worth seeing. But it's always good to have a goal to strive for!
    – Cody Gray
    Apr 4, 2012 at 19:53

If it's a particularly funny one, like the one about C++ compilers or the one about punched cards, it should:

  • receive the tag if it doesn't already have it;
  • get closed as "Too Localized"; and
  • become locked. As, um, "historically significant," I guess.

The rest, including the one you're specifically referring to, should be deleted.

  • But why delete questions like this one: stackoverflow.com/q/9967037/561731 which might really be a question some random javascript newbie might ask
    – Naftali
    Apr 2, 2012 at 21:42
  • That one's already deleted, so I can't judge it. But if it could be a real question, then it's not really an April Fools' Day question, is it?
    – Pops
    Apr 2, 2012 at 21:43
  • 2
    @PopularDemand My mind reels every time I'm reminded that you aren't 10k on SO. It was his jQuery question, which Shog addresses in his post.
    – Jeremy
    Apr 2, 2012 at 21:49
  • @TwilightSparkle what's worse, I just hit 5k and got access to the suggested edit queue. Whatever small velocity I had towards 10k will now surely dry up entirely.
    – Pops
    Apr 2, 2012 at 21:51
  • @TwilightSparkle whoa. howd u make that link?
    – Naftali
    Apr 2, 2012 at 21:52
  • @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA A user script I wrote. Originally finished in response to this post, its main page is here on Stack Apps and lots of saved questions are available in this chat channel. Still has some bugs, but it handle most questions well.
    – Jeremy
    Apr 2, 2012 at 22:00

Kill them with fire.

Same as we would do with any other non-serious question.

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