I'm mostly active in Matlab related questions, and recently I checked the highest votes for that tag (disclaimer, I have a high ranking question there too). I have found that the #1 question: What can MATLAB do that R cannot do? was deleted. Now, I know and fully respect some of the users that gave the vote to delete, they are prominent people etc, but I still try to understand the following. When a question receives +139 votes, a record number for the matlab tag (I confess that I actually down-voted it), and also got 13 answers (with +129 votes the highest) with ~60K views, should a handful of individuals like myself and more privileged user (like a moderators) be enough to delete it? Where's the weight of the many many peoples that up-voted it?

In this example, the question was first closed by a moderator for being not constructive (which I also agree with it, albeit many people thought otherwise). So far so good, there will be no more activity in that question. However, now that it is deleted, I started thinking whether this might miss the less formal side of SO, where users discuss broader issues. What should be the balance in your view?

  • 5
    "where users discuss broader issues" - Ewwww, the "d" word...
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 4:28
  • So closed is just a synonym of archive now?
    – random
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 4:32
  • @random Let's face it, how many questions get reopened? On active SE sites like SO they are buried in an instant, and on less active, beta SE sites, too few people have reopen privileges.
    – Thomas
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 4:57
  • @Thomas 8401 on [main] Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 6:51
  • @Thomas on Drupal Answers quite many, for example. SO and beta sites are edge cases on the opposite sides of Stack Exchange network.
    – Mołot
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 7:20
  • How is this question a duplicate of When should I vote to delete?
    – juergen d
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 10:55

2 Answers 2


Is the question off-topic? Yes.
Should it be closed? Yes.
Should we make clear that nobody takes such question as reference to ask similar ones? Yes.
Should we delete the content? No.

Exactly for this case we have historical locks.

A historical lock preserves older content that was very popular when it was originally posted, but is now off-topic or otherwise out of scope for the site it is posted on.

Why be over-eager and destroy valuable content? Just lock it.

Edit: The question is now undeleted and locked.

  • I completely agree here... But is there a way to undelete it and use a historical lock?
    – bla
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 6:53
  • I flagged the question for moderator attention and referred to this question here. We will see if it gets undeleted.
    – juergen d
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 7:00

In this example, the question was first closed by a moderator for being not constructive (which I also agree with it, albeit many people thought otherwise).

Regarding the last part of the statement: albeit many people thought otherwise. When you hover over the upvote link, it says: This question shows research effort, it is useful and clear. However, people of SO generally tend to use upvotes in a manner analogous to Facebook likes. While I can't read the minds of those who chose to upvote the question, chances are that they did so because of your rep. It didn't deserve upvotes as per the guideline.

That said the question is appropriate to be closed for the reason: There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs. It's too broad, or in other words, not constructive.

People ought to be more rational when it comes to voting. Upvoting a question/answer simply because of reputation is irrational. And you might be aware: Irrationality is the square root of all evil.

I believe that in such case of such questions one should rather consider making use of chat rooms.

  • 3
    I believe Gorilla vs. Shark is more than relevant here too.
    – jmac
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 7:32
  • 1
    wonderful! ....
    – bla
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 7:47

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