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So, I was wondering the other day as to why StackExchange doesn't automatically delete answers which have been posted for an extended period of time and have had 0 votes and possibly even no edits.

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    Why would they? – Bart Aug 30 '13 at 19:38
  • Well, I would think it adds to the cruft of the question page when there are 10 answers and only 2 of them have 1 or more votes. – paulkon Aug 30 '13 at 19:39
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    I have a bunch of good answers with 0 votes. Even accepted ones. Why would you want to delete them? – brasofilo Aug 30 '13 at 19:40
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    Does it necessarily mean the answers are bad or useless? I'd say not. No votes is not an indication of bad content. Several downvotes might be. – Bart Aug 30 '13 at 19:41
  • That's true. In that case what about severely downvoted content? – paulkon Aug 30 '13 at 19:43
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    @PaulKonova A severely downvoted answer can still be useful, because it tells users what not to do. Although, a severely downvoted answer will usually get deleted by the owner anyways. – animuson ModStaff Aug 30 '13 at 19:45
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    Those already get grayed out, and they can be voted on for deletion if they are really bad. – Kevin B Aug 30 '13 at 19:45
  • Isn't there a badge for 0 vote answers? That alone should tell you that the community recognizes effort that may not always be recognized by the OP. – ouflak Mar 25 '14 at 15:22
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Some question posters are lazy and don't bother to upvote or accept answers. Questions in "niche" tags might not get very many views or upvotes from third parties. It doesn't mean the answers are bad, so deleting them would risk destroying useful content.

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The fact that the best answers rise to the top of the page through voting means that users don't have to scroll down to find a good answer to a question. If you want to scroll down and read through other answers you can. Those answers aren't really in the way for most people, so deleting them doesn't really serve a purpose.

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    Not to mention that often times these other answers actually help someone else solve the problem even if they didn't help the OP. I know I've gotten lots of help from 0-score answers on other people's questions (they didn't remain 0-score after I was there, of course :)) – Mansfield Aug 30 '13 at 19:46
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    @Mansfield Exactly. A 0-score on an answer just means it hasn't been deemed helpful yet. (At least that's what I tell myself.) – Bill the Lizard Aug 30 '13 at 19:49

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