I really like the idea of Stack Overflow, but I was wondering if anyone knows that how many questions are being closed each day?

And for which reasons, like

  • duplicate of = ?
  • off-topic because =?
  • unclear what you're asking =?
  • too broad = ?
  • primarily opinion-based = ?
  • Total = ??

is it possible to know this statistic?

  • 1
    you should be able to find an answer to this with the Data Explorer.
    – Lie Ryan
    Dec 5, 2013 at 11:31
  • 1
    @LieRyan:actually i have no idea how to create query for that. can you help ? Dec 5, 2013 at 11:34
  • 13
    Data Explorer doesn't have information about deleted posts, which will skew the numbers.
    – Mat
    Dec 5, 2013 at 11:35
  • @Mat: so ,is it possible to get this data? Dec 5, 2013 at 11:40
  • 2
  • @Virussmca: yes, but step 1 is to get hired by Stack Exchange :-)
    – Mat
    Dec 5, 2013 at 11:41
  • 1
    @gnat:i didn't found any answer of your given link. Dec 5, 2013 at 11:47
  • @Virussmca neither did I, these are only related feature / support requests
    – gnat
    Dec 5, 2013 at 12:45
  • When I saw the Data Explorer the first time, I thought "Finally, a loophole to view all those deleted fun across the entire SE!". It failed...
    – Vi.
    Dec 5, 2013 at 12:52
  • 7
    clearly not enough
    – Servy
    Dec 5, 2013 at 15:36
  • 1
    Yeah, and it's getting worse, @Servy. The current plan is not working. Dec 5, 2013 at 15:42
  • 11
    @james.garriss Throughout the entire existence of the site (and the internet as a whole, really) all poor quality questions have never been able to be dealt with. Increased effort was spent identifying them in recent months, making the problem that has existed for basically ever, simply more apparent and quantifiable. People who thought were were closing close to all questions that should be closed up until recently were just oblivious. That said, SO, as a site, has done a better job of dealing with the problem than any site I've every worked on, by far, so I prefer to remain hopeful.
    – Servy
    Dec 5, 2013 at 15:47

2 Answers 2


Deleted questions are hidden from us mere mortals. I believe Shog9 appears with data if you say his name five times while doing the hokey pokey:

"Everything in the universe relates to the number 5, one way or another, given enough ingenuity on the part of the interpreter."

For us normal folk, the best we can do are ingenious kludges to get a grasp of the scope of closed questions.

1) Advanced Search

We can use advanced searches to get quick estimates of closed questions in total.

Total Questions Today: 8,870 (includes closed questions)
Closed Questions Today: 743 (includes duplicates)
Duplicate Questions Today: 88

2) API

To get more fancier numbers, we can use the API. For instance:

All Closed Questions Today: 746 Last 100 Close Reasons:

  • Duplicate: 13
  • Off-topic: 60
  • Primarily Opinion-based: 4
  • Too Broad: 9
  • Unclear What You're Asking: 14

You can repeat to go through the others using the page=2, page=3, etc. I didn't bother.

Currently you cannot get a breakdown of the off-topic reasons. Sorry. Please feel free to support this feature request to get it added.

3) Data Explorer

You can run a query that does something similar for a single day, though the data is older and probably has more deleted questions. You could even create a query to guesstimate the number of deleted questions by looking at consecutive postIDs and seeing what type they were. If the ID doesn't exist, it was probably deleted.

But I suggest practicing the hokey pokey and start chanting for some Shog9. That's your best bet.

  • Thank you very much.. you are great.. :) Dec 10, 2013 at 5:06
  • 3
    I hope in the near future such questions can be researched via the Data Explorer. If Shog9's feature is implemented, the only missing peice will be deleted questions. Dec 10, 2013 at 21:16
  • In the UK we have the Hokey Cokey.. will this also work? Dec 11, 2013 at 8:38

Including deleted questions, the current breakdown for questions asked and closed on Dec. 9, 2013 (the period jmac used) is:

  • off-topic: 427
  • unclear what you're asking: 139
  • duplicate: 75
  • too broad: 52
  • primarily opinion-based: 33

Note that these numbers fluctuate as more questions are closed or reopened in the days and years ahead. Currently there are 99 duplicate questions asked on that day. So let's take a day from a few months ago so that the close activity is more settled.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013:

* questions asked:             9848  100%
* questions deleted:           1412   14%
* questions closed:             838    9%  100%
*   off-topic:                  516    5%   62%
*   unclear what you're asking: 163    2%   19%
*   duplicate:                  110    1%   13%
*   too broad:                   42   <1%    5%
*   primarily opinion-based:     30   <1%    4%

Note that the close reasons don't add up because questions are somethings closed and reopened again (and occasionally closed a second time). There are 861 close question events or 23 more than the current number of still-closed questions.

It's also important to note that since June 25, 2013 closure statistics are going to look somewhat different than before that date. In particular, the custom off-topic reasons were introduced on that day.

Finally, while I think this is a representative sample, it's only one day. If I'd picked a different day, the results would be different.

Here are the custom off-topic reasons that were picked for closed questions asked on 2013-10-09:

  • 267—Questions asking for code must demonstrate a minimal understanding of the problem being solved. Include attempted solutions, why they didn't work, and the expected results. See also: Stack Overflow question checklist
  • 75—Questions concerning problems with code you've written must describe the specific problem — and include valid code to reproduce it — in the question itself. See SSCCE.org for guidance.
  • 72—Questions asking us to recommend or find a tool, library or favorite off-site resource are off-topic for Stack Overflow as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it.
  • 42—Questions about general computing hardware and software are off-topic for Stack Overflow unless they directly involve tools used primarily for programming. You may be able to get help on Super User.
  • 26—Other (add a comment explaining what is wrong)
  • 17—Questions on professional server, networking, or related infrastructure administration are off-topic for Stack Overflow unless they directly involve programming or programming tools. You may be able to get help on Server Fault.
  • 17—This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network

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