While I understand that there are many questions asked on SO that are way too broad, and they must be closed, I've never seen a question that was closed and deleted by the sole discretion of a moderator about three years after it has been asked.

I'm talking about Writing native-multiplatform GUI in C#, asked on Feb 10 2011, closed and deleted by moderator animuson on Jan 27 this year.

I couldn't find anything here on meta on this specific question or deleting broad/closed questions in general. Is there any new policy that I'm unaware of that warrants immediate deletion of broad questions?

I followed a link from elsewere on SO to this particular question. By deleting it, SO is invalidating links and contributing to link rot. There are enough examples of questions that are now considered inappropriate for SO that are closed but not deleted.

It may not be a perfect question, and I'm not going to argue against closing it for being broad. But with 12 upvotes, no downvotes and 6 answers, if there is no compelling reason to delete this question, I don't believe it should have been deleted at all.

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    @animuson Can you comment? – Daniel A.A. Pelsmaeker Mar 2 '14 at 15:45
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    All the answers are collections of links or "use this framework"-type answers. Google does that much better than SO. – Mat Mar 2 '14 at 15:46
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    Is there any reason to keep that question? Can it be salvaged by an edit? – Bill the Lizard Mar 2 '14 at 15:52
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    Manual cleanup process. Stack Overflow try to be focused on certain type of questions, so cleaning out questions that don't fit makes sense. – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Mar 2 '14 at 15:54
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    It was wrong for him to unilaterally delete it. Now the community can't do anything about it. – Lance Roberts Mar 2 '14 at 16:58

The post meets all of the criteria for closure. Being old or having upvotes is not grounds for leaving such a question open.

I also see no real value in that question or its answers. It's pretty much just a bunch of links to libraries. There are not many upvotes on the answers, no additional information beyond just library names, etc. I don't see any possibility for such a question to be improved such that it would be appropriate or valuable. Deleting such a question seems entirely appropriate.

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    It strikes me as odd that the question was apparently valuable enough for almost three years: nobody downvoted it, nobody closed it. You'd think that a question with such low quality that it should be deleted on sight should have some other signs indicating its low quality in the past three years. – Daniel A.A. Pelsmaeker Mar 2 '14 at 15:55
  • @Virtlink things change, the focus of Stack Overflow is just one of those ever changing things. – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Mar 2 '14 at 15:56
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    @Virtlink It didn't actually get many views at all. And the number of votes, given its age, is actually very low. The reality is almost nobody seems to have thought much of anything about it. Had the question attracted enough attention for people to have noticed it recently, it most assuredly would have attracted downvotes/close votes. For those questions that are clearly outside the scope of the site but have very compelling positive value, exceptions can be considered for keeping them around. This is clearly nowhere close to that. – Servy Mar 2 '14 at 15:57
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    @Virtlink Stack Overflow has 6.7 million questions. You can't use the fact that a question wasn't dealt with as a reason why it should not be removed. – Pekka Mar 2 '14 at 15:57
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    Cool. Can I then conclude that this is the new policy? Questions that have What is the best... in them (overly broad), or that receive many link-only answers must be deleted. – Daniel A.A. Pelsmaeker Mar 2 '14 at 15:58
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    @Virtlink that's correct (but it's actually a pretty old policy.) blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/qa-is-hard-lets-go-shopping This was a huge, years-long, super painful discussion here on Meta by the way, it's not like somebody just decided that on a whim. And not everyone is happy with it. But it's the policy. – Pekka Mar 2 '14 at 15:58
  • @Pëkka That's about close reasons, to which I agree. – Daniel A.A. Pelsmaeker Mar 2 '14 at 16:00
  • @Virtlink Then why are you complaining about a mod closing the question? And are you arguing that the answer to this question are of great value, because I'm just not seeing that at all. Do you think that this question is likely to end up being improved to one that is valuable, because I'm not seeing that either. – Servy Mar 2 '14 at 16:03
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    @Virtlink well, it's the seminal blog post that brought the policy in motion. The rest is scattered across Meta... but if you agree that list questions should be closed, then arguably deletion is just the logical next step. I personally wouldn't mind so much if list questions were allowed - but if you close them, you gotta delete them. There's nothing worse than a list of things from 2010 that cannot be updated at all. – Pekka Mar 2 '14 at 16:03
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    @Servy I'm sorry but where did you read I'm complaining about closing the question? If anything, I understand why it has been closed. I'm complaining about it having been deleted. – Daniel A.A. Pelsmaeker Mar 2 '14 at 16:04
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    @Virtlink: but why? In what way would its being permanently on-hold be preferable to cleaning up and removing the cruft? – David says reinstate Monica Mar 2 '14 at 16:08

It is always wrong for a moderator to unilaterally delete a question that's been around a while and has some level of popularity. It may have needed closing, but with deletion the community has no input, no way of rolling it back if they disagree. The unilateral delete vote should only be used on spam and offensive posts.

  • Really? Because I can definitely see a 'Reopen' link that seems clickable. Which puts it into the review queue for possible reopening by the community (though I'm not clicking the link, since I want this question closed and deleted). – David says reinstate Monica Mar 2 '14 at 17:10
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    @DavidThomas, You can vote to reopen it, but you CAN'T undelete it. It will tell you that "A moderator has deleted this post and it cannot be undeleted." – Lance Roberts Mar 2 '14 at 17:12
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    But the community does have a means of addressing the issue if they disagree. They can post on meta, and if there is strong community support for undeleting the content, it can be undeleted. Clearly there is clearly strong community support for deleting it, not undeleting it. – Servy Mar 2 '14 at 17:28
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    @Servy well, most deletions go unnoticed by the community, so it doesn't really have much influence except when the deletion happens to be caught by an interested user. – Pekka Mar 2 '14 at 17:57
  • We don't need to stop moderators from being able to do their jobs, we just need to fix the over-aggressive solution to authors undeleting their questions and allow commnunity members to be able to vote on the results. – jscs Mar 2 '14 at 19:35
  • @Pëkka That's no different for community deletions compared to moderator deletions though. – Servy Mar 2 '14 at 21:05

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