Programmers has picked up a bit of a reputation as of late. We've done our best to shed the remaining issues from the NPR1 days. And we're fortunate to have users who focus on maintaining the site's high quality content, and who move quickly to get rid of the cruft. Heck, we even invited Undo to unleash his stale comment sleuthing program against the site. And in the spirit of full disclosure, some of us use our delete votes as a little bit of therapy - blasting away the electrons that just don't need to be there.

But lately, we've noticed a bit of a problem. Not a huge problem like collider questions attracting poor quality answers. Or even an issue like our close review queue not getting enough reviews2.

No, we have a problem with the background tone to indicate a question has been deleted.

Take a look at Exhibit A
enter image description here

The background shade of pink (purple? red?) is ... merely functional. It's certainly clear that something has been deleted. But it just doesn't feel like it's enough.

Now take a look at Exhibit B
enter image description here

Here we have something where we know it's different. It's dang near impossible to miss. The background color makes it clear something is different.

When discussing this over on The Whiteboard, one user expressed the need for change pretty eloquently.

I want it to be red, like dripping blood. After N hours, the color of the deleted background should be a dark reddish brown... like dried blood. I want to hear the scream of the bits as they get sent to /dev/null never to be seen again - please include a .midi file of this when viewing a deleted question

I understand that sort of animation might be a little difficult to pull off. So perhaps a gibbed aftermath version of deleted posts would suffice to convey that something was wrong with the post and it's now rightfully gone.

And if even that's too much, then how about a deeper shade of crimson? And maybe some brief fireworks for the person who casts the final vote-to-delete?

The benefits of this change should be obvious, but for the sake of being a pedantic programmer (oxymoron, I know):

  • It would enhance the gamification aspect of reviewing /tools for questions that need to be deleted.
  • More fun means more reviews. More reviews means a higher quality site. Deleteing off the cruft means future visitors won't stumble across it.
  • Change can be a good thing, like the new top bar. If nothing else, it gets people to think about something that may have become a bit commonplace.

1 Not Programming Related
2 We'll still happily take more close votes like SO has if that's possible. Just saying.
3 We would happily take fireworks when casting the final close vote too.

  • 12
    ...I really need to play Doom again. – Shog9 Dec 13 '13 at 17:22
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    The theory behind soft deletion is that users with 10K of reputation are hopefully mature enough to see this material without making them cry – user102937 Dec 13 '13 at 17:22
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    I know this is supposed to be funny but I don't like gory images and if my 15k rep on programmers causes me to see them I will stop visiting it. – Kate Gregory Dec 13 '13 at 17:25
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    If this is for all sites then I think this is a fantastic idea! – ben is uǝq backwards Dec 13 '13 at 17:26
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    That comment looks... familiar. – Oded Dec 13 '13 at 17:26
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    @KateGregory: I think there's a bit of hyperbole going on here. I don't think anyone is genuinely advocating putting up a Doom kill screen over deleted material, but merely giving it a more prominent scarlet letter. – user102937 Dec 13 '13 at 17:27
  • @Oded - yeah.... I thought carefully about that before using that one. But that's why I nuked the user info too. – user194162 Dec 13 '13 at 17:27
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    @GlenH7 - no prob. Though that specific user has been deleted. Gone. Is no more. – Oded Dec 13 '13 at 17:28
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    @TheGrinch perhaps so. I can't tell because I refuse to scroll up and read the question again. not kidding. – Kate Gregory Dec 13 '13 at 17:31
  • you forgot to mention cruel linkonlyanswerocide – gnat Dec 13 '13 at 17:31
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    @KateGregory - I removed the second inline scene from Doom. Shouldn't be an issue now. My apologies. As The Grinch mentioned, more than a bit of hyperbole is behind this request. – user194162 Dec 13 '13 at 17:41
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    I do like the "fireworks for deleting" idea - I was thinking we needed something like that for being the 5th VTC in the queue :-) – Kate Gregory Dec 13 '13 at 18:00

Goes in the right direction, but not far enough.

We need a mod for Counterstrike or whatever people play these days that can pull almost-closed questions through the API, populate the playing field with them, and cast the final close vote for every one that the user manages to shoot:

enter image description here



As a Programmers moderator, I fully support this. And while we are at it, the mod menu could use some love:

enter image description here

  • 5
    There should also be a picture of a bunny on the flag queue. You know the one. – Shog9 Dec 13 '13 at 18:15
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    Hm, I was thinking Daisy should be Community's avatar, but that could work too @Shog9 – yannis Dec 13 '13 at 18:21

To put a bit of perspective on this, Programmers gets somewhere around fifty thousand unique visitors per day.


There are less than 100 user accounts on Programmers that have sufficient reputation to see deleted material. I'm fairly certain that all of those folks understand the context behind those deletions, and have no need for an additional visual cue.

So the goal of hiding deletions being a reputation requirement already serves its purpose; those folks who haven't been around long enough to understand the context behind the deleted material never get to see it.

  • But programmers here is the crux; it's the reason for the feature request existing but not the reason for the change... There are more than 6,000 accounts on Stack Overflow that could get the juicy fireworks and slowly-rotting-blood-colour goodness. Think of what you'd be denying people! – ben is uǝq backwards Dec 13 '13 at 18:03
  • So I assume that each horizontal line is 20k or so? – Geobits Dec 13 '13 at 18:05
  • @benisuǝqbackwards - how about we test it on Programmers first and then roll it out site-wide? – user194162 Dec 13 '13 at 18:05
  • @GenericHolidayName yeah, take a look at the second screen shot from the referred answer, lines are marked there: i.stack.imgur.com/RmKyc.png – gnat Dec 13 '13 at 18:10
  • You posted on MSO @GlenH7, so I assumed that this is for everyone? As far as I know changes get pushed to MSO first, then all of SE apart from SO, then SO. So, SO would get it last. There's an answer somewhere about it... (P.S. how do you write add punctuation such that so so so doesn't look strange?) – ben is uǝq backwards Dec 13 '13 at 18:19
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    @benisuǝqbackwards I selfishly want it for P.SE first because I don't have enough rep anywhere else to take advantage of it. But if this additional bit of gamification makes the queues clear out faster, then I'm all for rolling it out across the entire site. – user194162 Dec 13 '13 at 18:41
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    @benisuǝqbackwards You'll force us all to get 10k on MSO to try it out? Or should we trust Yannis when he gives his opinion on the matter? – user213963 Dec 13 '13 at 20:08
  • @benisuǝqbackwards Change the second "so" to "therefore" or "as a result" – Cruncher Dec 13 '13 at 21:13


As a Programmers moderator, I fully support this. And while we are at it, can we add sound effects to moderator tools? For example, a taser when we suspend a user. Or a gunshot (perhaps with the "BOOM! HEADSHOT!" effect) when we destroy an account. A jail cell clanking shut when a question is closed as well.

  • 3
    Awesome sound effect suggestions! – user194162 Dec 13 '13 at 20:49

The current answers are great, but don't address the fact that as a Programmers user still a little bit under 10k, I would like to participate in the gamification as well, as I'm sure many other users would too.

Of course, I don't want to upset the privilege system currently in place, but as a small nod to those of us who haven't reached 10k yet, could, in addition to the original proposal, the 404 page for deleted posts be altered with to include a nice, dynamic, action-packed deletion graphic of some kind? Ideally one that ties in to the new background added as a result of the original request.

This would serve to incentivize people to reach 10k, as well as to subtly prepare them psychologically for the frenzied bouts of blood-letting destruction they would be expected to perform.

I am fine too, thank you.


How's about something appropriate to our nearly cybernetic totalitarianism?

enter image description here

Voice Track

  • 3
    No "Your contribution was inferior, it was exterminated" ? – Jimmy Hoffa Dec 20 '13 at 20:08

As a follow-up to identify the serious value contained within a lot of the fun from this question...

  1. Changing the background color would be appreciated. No, it doesn't need to be Doom-esque (although that would be an awesome option), but something a little more clear would stand out better.

  2. The Vote To Close queue could afford a little fun being injected when casting the final close vote. (Hat tip to Kate Gregory for highlighting that one too)

  3. Robert Harvey rightfully points out that this change would affect a small percentage of users, but these are the users we want to reward for their efforts in maintaining site quality.

  4. A little bit more frivolity would help out the mods with their reviews too. And I'll happily note that 4 of the 5 Programmers mods provided an answer to this question.


The Programmers theme is meant to be more understated that some of the other sites - reflecting a much used whiteboard (that is unless I've missed what @Jin was aiming for completely).

While it works OK for regular use, I agree there should be more contrast for deleted posts. I'm not sure I'd go as far as the "dripping blood" idea, but anything less pink screen would be great.

I was going to say sound effects would be an issue at work - but I don't have speakers so that's not a problem at all!



enter image description here

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