I think we have a real issue with Moderators closing/removing issues as "Not Constructive", etc., even if they are clearly valued by the market or community.

This has been bothering me for a while, but this morning was the straw that broke the camel's back. I came onto StackOverflow and discovered that a question that I asked several years ago, had received 18 up-votes, and which earned me "Famous Question", had been removed (see https://stackoverflow.com/questions/77839/what-are-the-best-resources-for-learning-java-books-websites-etc).

Clearly, this question had valued as testified to by the number of views and the up-votes it received. Yet, our moderators substituted their opinion of the question's value for that of the community.

I acknowledge and value the role that moderation plays in making StackOverflow a fantastic and valuable resource. At the same time, I believe when we serve a moderators, we need to inform our decisions and actions by the value the community has put on things.

Should this be automated (i.e. a question with 10K Views can't be removed) or should this be a practice?

On a related note, when a question is pulled, shouldn't there be more feedback on why it was pulled then the message I received?

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    A wreck with bodies all over the road, blood everywhere and wrapped cars also draws in the views and rubbernecking. But you can hardly say it's something people cherish. – random Feb 4 '13 at 21:51
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    It is a legitimate topic for discussion, but it's also one that has been discussed countless times. And frankly, I'm not interested in explaining for yet another time why popularity is not a valid quality metric. – yannis Feb 4 '13 at 21:52
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    @Jordan Nobody is denying that they are valuable. They just aren't for SO. – Mysticial Feb 4 '13 at 21:56
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    If anything it should be curated in that tag's wiki. Because it's wiki material, not Q&A material – random Feb 4 '13 at 21:57
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    And a good comment from the question itself: Valuable or not, this question doesn't have a clear and concise answer and can lead to discussion. Some people prefer books, other websites, others in person training. What's effective for one person isn't effective for others. The FAQ for StackOverflow is clear about what type of questions are acceptable on this community. My wife really values questions about knitting, but those are not acceptable here either. A good stackoverflow question will have one definitive answer. – Pekka Feb 4 '13 at 21:59
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    Well, applying some judgement then - where is the real value in this question? It took you 10 seconds to come up with it, and most answers are link-only ones with an accompanying sentence to the effect of "this is the best". Where is the substance? It's effectively a list of opinions that some random Internet people with voting rights agree or disagree with. Who will curate it over the years, who will fix broken links? – Pekka Feb 4 '13 at 22:02
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    @Jordan Well, once you've seen the problems that these questions cause, then you'll think of it from a different point of view. That said you seem completely obstinate about the issue with no intention of shifting your thoughts. So I'm done here. – Mysticial Feb 4 '13 at 22:02
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    "Yet, our moderators substituted their opinion of the question's value for that of the community": deleted by Mark, ACB, LittleBobbyTables, John Saunders, Andrew Barber . No moderators were involved in the deletion of this question, just qualified members of the community. – Brad Larson Feb 4 '13 at 22:03
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    @Jordan well, you're about the 1,000th person to raise that question, so you'll forgive us if we're not inclined to follow instructions to the letter. – Pekka Feb 4 '13 at 22:05
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    I've already addressed that question @Jordan. No role at all, views and up-votes are an absolutely worthless combination of metrics. – yannis Feb 4 '13 at 22:05
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    The quorum had already decided that it's not worth keeping something that is so constantly out of date when they deleted it as a group, not done by a single power munching mod with diamond encrusted teeth – random Feb 4 '13 at 22:07
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    @Jordan - You may want to change the overall tone of your question, then. Your very first sentence starts with "I think we have a real issue with Moderators closing/removing issues", which doesn't really apply here. Power has been vested in the community to delete questions like this as a result of the arguments that led to "Community-led deletionism: a protocol for sanity". – Brad Larson Feb 4 '13 at 22:24
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    That's a fair point - the owner of the question should get to see what happened. Sadly, we here on Meta have asked for this many many times but the SE team won't budge. See eg. Allow users to be able to see their own deleted questions – Pekka Feb 4 '13 at 22:30
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    All - Part of the reason I think I was so bothered in this process, is that absolutely no feedback was provided to me. I came onto SO this morning, noticed that one of my questions had been down voted (first time I was ever down voted) and I went to look at the questions. And what I get is a message that it had been deleted. No reason why. No who did it. Just that it was deleted. – Jordan Feb 4 '13 at 22:31

That post was not closed or deleted by a moderator (note1), but by community members. Your point "this kind of post should not be deleted" can stand or fall on its own merits but your point "community is being overridden by moderators" doesn't apply here.

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That said, 5 people deleted it and 5 can undelete it, which I predict will happen by the time I click Submit on this answer. At first thought, I would support a historical lock on it, but since this prevents updating, I am not so sure now. Not all good information has to live here. Perhaps your own web site or blog would be a better home for such a list?

Note 1: ok fine, a diamond was part of closing, but was the 5th vote so it would have closed without the diamond powers.

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  • How can it be undeleted if you can no longer see the question? – Jordan Feb 4 '13 at 22:09
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    @Jordan 10k users can see the question and vote to undelete it. It even shows up in a 10k list of "recently deleted" questions. – Andrew Barber Feb 4 '13 at 22:09
  • @AndrewBarber - Even though I asked the question, I can't see any feedback on it. I can't see the messages in the message above. Should we be providing better feedback to people on why an action was taken. – Jordan Feb 4 '13 at 22:29
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    @Jordan You got that feedback when the question was closed. The 10k users who can vote to undelete it can also see the entire question, its answers, comments, and close/delete notices. – Andrew Barber Feb 4 '13 at 22:31
  • @AndrewBarber - The two events were separated in time substantially (17 months). Couple that with the fact that I can't see anything about this question now (I can't see the information about it that is in this question above). – Jordan Feb 4 '13 at 22:47
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    The difference between moderators and high reputation users is becoming an increasing source of confusion it seems. Though, the distinction seems quite clear as presented. I'm not sure if it's rampant enough to open a discussion for yet, but I have noticed several people in the last few weeks (in comments) remarking that they felt like a 'moderator' overstepped, yet no mods were involved. – Tim Post Feb 5 '13 at 2:50

(I started this as a comment, but it just got too unwieldly, so I've posted it here instead)

I'll chime in here since I cast one of the delete votes.

Yes, your question may have had many upvotes, and yes it may have had many views, but SO has changed over the years in what is acceptable or not.

The question is clearly is not constructive, so it was closed. Then what?

If the question sticks around, users get the impression these kind of questions are valid. Fine, then add a historical lock to it.

So now you've got a question that can still be found with Google searches, a question that will slowly get more and more outdated since it can't be updated anymore.

If I voted incorrectly, or if I did something wrong, I'll be the first to aplogize, but that's my reasoning for it, and I stand by it.

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    Fair enough, and I'm starting to think I'm going to cast my delete vote if it gets undeleted. – Pekka Feb 4 '13 at 22:03
  • @LittleBobbyTables - So, we decide something is non constructive, even though it had views and up-votes, and lock it. Then it becomes out of date, since no one can update it. So we delete. Seems like a self-fulfilling path to me. – Jordan Feb 4 '13 at 22:12
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    @Jordan Once locked, it can't be deleted. That's the point of the historical lock: Keep it from being deleted, but mark it as "not an appropriate question to ask anymore" – Andrew Barber Feb 4 '13 at 22:15
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    @Jordan - I get it, you're upset, but you seem to be ignoring the fact that the question is no longer appropriate for Stack Overflow. Your question is over four years old, and really doesn't have that many upvotes for a question that old. Just because a question got upvotes four years ago doesn't mean it would get upvotes today. Honestly, I would have downvoted it and voted to close it in a heartbeat if you had asked the question today. Upvotes on years-old-questions is not a good metric to judge questions, the content should be judged. – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Feb 4 '13 at 22:16
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    ... plus it isn't even that much of a question. I've seen works of genius deleted that this paltry list doesn't even begin to compare to. – Pekka Feb 4 '13 at 22:22

That post should be undeleted, they can lock it like they've done with other posts now considered off-topic/non-constructive, but it shouldn't have been taken away.

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  • I agree with you. While I had a problem with it being locked, someone is clearly not making an informed decision in deleting someone that has been up for 4+ years, had a large number of upvotes (can't tell you because I can't see it anymore), and which had 10K views. – Jordan Feb 4 '13 at 21:55
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    @Jordan It doesn't actually have very many upvotes for a question that old of that type, and a very low vote per view ratio... – Servy Feb 4 '13 at 22:05
  • @Jordan: FYI: It had 19 upvotes, 1 downvote, and ~18000 views upon its deletion. – David Robinson Feb 4 '13 at 22:16
  • @DavidRobinson - All information I cannot see, since I can't see the Question any longer, since I am not a 10K. – Jordan Feb 4 '13 at 22:53

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