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While it's sometimes useful for moderators to be aware when someone hits the delete limit it's more useful to know if they've hit it for the second or third time in as many days.

A person deleting a few zero or low scoring posts on one day is probably just cleaning up their account.

If they are deleting high scoring posts or hitting the delete limit on successive days then that is possibly indicative that they are trying to quit the site or otherwise deface useful content.

To that end I'd like to suggest some improvements to the "possible vandalism - deletions" flag.

  1. Indicate whether the post being deleted is a question or answer. Actually I'd question the need to raise this flag on questions. If the question can be deleted (no answers or only one zero scored answer) then should we really be bothered that the user is deleting them?
  2. Show the score of the post being deleted (for both questions and, more importantly, answers) and/or discount negatively scored answers.
  3. Show how many competing answers there are (for answers only, obviously). It's less of a problem if someone is deleting one of 10 answers, but if their's is the only answer then it's potentially more serious.
  4. Only raise the flag if the combined score of the posts deleted is greater than some threshold - possibly 5.
  5. Only raise the flag if this is the second time in as many days that they've hit the delete limit - regardless of the score of the posts.

This will help the moderators as then we'll know that there is potentially something serious going on. It will also help users who are genuinely just trying to clean up the site by removing unnecessary content as they'll know that they're not going to attract the attention of the moderators.

  • I would prefer the flag would be raised more often, not less, though. Since deletions are sometimes really hard to spot. – Christian Rau Jan 20 '17 at 14:40
  • @ChristianRau - How so? If these suggestions are implemented then the idea is that the times it is raised are more important and indicative of behaviour we want to investigate. As it is now you have to spend some time looking at each post and deciding whether there's a real problem or not. Then, if the flag is only being raised only for real problems, we can tweak the numbers to raise it earlier. – ChrisF Jan 20 '17 at 14:43
  • I admittedly have the luxury of working on a site of a size where this rarely ever happens, so the problem of it being issued too often or unneccessarily never occured to me. But I did encounter situations where I only noticed after the fact (and without a flag) that a user went through some self-vandalism. (I also admit that I have quite a strict no-vandalism approach.) – Christian Rau Jan 20 '17 at 14:46
  • This is maybe a duplicate of Slight modification to the “suspected deletion vandalism” algorithm and could perhaps be posted as an answer to that topic. – ChrisW Sep 23 '17 at 11:30
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There are certain posts that should not be counted for this flag. We only care if a user removes actually useful content, so I think it would be safe to exclude the following posts from the deletion limit:

  • posts with a negative score
  • zero scored answers where upvoted and/or accepted answers are present on the question
  • older zero scored questions without any answers or recent activity

Those criteria should cover most of the posts that fall into the "just cleaning up" category.

  • 6
    Disagree with not counting zero-scored answers. Zero votes != useless. – Paul White Oct 31 '16 at 16:22
  • Deleting score of 3 or greater earns a Disciplined badge, hundreds awarded here. It's reasonable to delete a scoring answer when other answers have 20+ more votes. It's what we're supposed to do. – Rob Dec 5 '18 at 10:04
2

Samuel Liew has a stack of helpful userscripts to help moderate the site.

The Possible Vandalism Deletions Helper shows the net score of any recently deleted answers and the total number of answers on a post. It will give a recommendation of whether to warn the user or dismiss the flag, which I've found helpful.

There's another couple of scripts related to this that may also be helpful.

Possible Vandalism Comment Deletions Helper

Possible Vandalism Edits Helper

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