It's been noted that the Stack Overflow close vote queue has a few questions in it. More generally, it appears as though the Stack Overflow community cannot keep up with the volume of questions that need closing.

Community currently deletes questions after 30 days if they are negatively voted and have 0 answers. Closed questions that are 9 days old are also deleted if they have a score less than or equal to 0 and no answer with a score greater than 0 (and a whole lot of other minor stuff).

I propose adding an automated closing process between these two. A question would be automatically closed by Community if all of the following are true:

  • There is at least one close vote that is at least 9 days old
  • The question has a score of 0 or less
  • There are no answers with a score greater than 0

There are roughly 18.5k questions that fulfil these criteria1 (this will be slightly out due to complications around close vote ageing)

Close Votes # Questions -ve Answer 0 Answer No Answer 
----------- ----------- ---------- -------- --------- 
1           10130       69         5649     4412      
2           5094        50         3135     1909      
3           2566        29         1639     898       
4           723         13         495      215       
5           3           0          2        1       

This means that if a question starts to be closed then there's 9 days to either get an upvote, an answer with an upvote or 100 views. Due to the automatic deletion there would then be another 9 days to get some redeeming feature (re-open vote, edit etc) before the question was deleted. I would add similar conditions to closing so if a question with a close vote got edited it would get an additional 9 days grace period.

I imagine the main objection to this is that a single person can auto-close and then delete a question. It is already possible for a single person to delete a question and there are currently 25,893 questions where a single person can delete without oversight. This suggestion will actually give those questions a greater chance of survival whilst at the same time helping the site to stay "clean" better.

1. Whether it's time of day or summat this query was really difficult to run so sorry if there are problems.

  • 2
    – Mike G
    Oct 1, 2013 at 20:57
  • 1
    Assuming the question is closed because it meets the criteria and only has one close vote, what is it closed as? Will it be closed as the only reason specified? E.g. - Off-topic? What if it had 2 differing close votes? Oct 1, 2013 at 21:01
  • 11
    "The question is at least 9 days old" - Shouldn't that be the close vote is at least 9 days old? Otherwise someone could just go to any question that's 9 days old and meets the other criteria, cast a close vote, and Community will close it for them whenever it runs the check next.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Oct 1, 2013 at 21:01
  • Yup, thanks @animuson; that's what's in my query. Oct 1, 2013 at 21:02
  • I think you should also take into consideration how long it's been since the question was last viewed or edited. Oct 1, 2013 at 21:06
  • "I would add similar conditions to closing so if a question with a close vote got edited it would get an additional 9 days grace period." @SamIam... Oct 1, 2013 at 21:08
  • Though it's worth noting @animuson that I can delete any 0 scored question without answers that way... Oct 1, 2013 at 21:09
  • For questions older than 30 days, rather than 9, I get the exact same results. Adding that criteria seems like a good idea, even though it doesn't seem to change much (or is there something wrong with my query?). Oct 2, 2013 at 11:12
  • 1
    What would it look like when we require at least 2 or 3 negative score for auto close? Jan 4, 2014 at 19:06


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