Current deletion rules indicate that a 20k user can vote to delete a question instantly if it's scored -3 or less, or if it's 2(?) days or older.


  • It's really not that difficult for a question to reach -3. It really isn't.
  • 2 days later, it's very likely that the question will already get forgotten and won't be deleted by users anymore, unless someone pokes it with a stick. So it's unlikely for an older question to not have answers, not deleted by the system, and being found by a 10/20k user and have it deleted.


What I suggest is to completely disable deletion ability for 10/20k users for unanswered questions, regardless of score or time passed.


  • The question will automatically be deleted in 9 days by the system (assuming it isn't positively scored, which is unlikely since the question was closed). If the question is positively scored, it probably shouldn't be deleted anyway.
  • This disables the instant deletion of questions before the OP ever got a chance to figure out what happened. Not everyone are inhuman aliens that visit Stack Overflow (or [whatever.se]) every 10 minutes, be considerate!
  • If OP doesn't fix his question within 9 days, it'll be deleted anyway.
  • If the question has some serious problems, like span, abuse, trolling etc. Flagging is a possible course of action.

Right now, the system is able to do most of the work for us, so there's really no need to waste the reviewer's time/sanity, nor fuel the OP's frustration over a deleted question.

  • Is your second bullet under "Problems" saying that such questions probably won't get deleted anyway, so the ability should be removed? – Bill the Lizard Apr 19 '14 at 13:24
  • The ability is redundant, using it for older, unanswered questions is a very narrow use case. – Madara's Ghost Apr 19 '14 at 13:25
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    This seems to contradict your other reasons for wanting the ability to be removed. If it isn't being used, then it isn't doing any harm. – Bill the Lizard Apr 19 '14 at 13:30
  • True, but if it isn't being used, it's also not needed. (That is to counter the "But there's a usecase! What about old unanswered questions?!" argument.) – Madara's Ghost Apr 19 '14 at 13:31
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    It's not that difficult for people to avoid posting crap that warrants quick deletion either, but that doesn't stop them. I'd need to see evidence that there was a widespread issue of salvageable things being deleted before they could be attended to for me to believe there was a real issue with the privilege. – Tim Stone Apr 19 '14 at 13:35
  • @TimStone I don't know if there's a lot of salvageable material. I don't know if even 1% of all deleted material is salvageable. However, even if there is only that 1%, and the rest will be deleted automatically anyway, yeah, I think it warrants the privilege change. – Madara's Ghost Apr 19 '14 at 13:36
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    So...we're not sure if there's actually a problem, and this is a request for the devs to do work for kicks and giggles? :P – Tim Stone Apr 19 '14 at 13:45
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    I don't particularly care for the "let all the trash sit around the house because the maid will clean it up next week" mindset. – animuson Apr 19 '14 at 13:57
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    It's rare for a -3 question to be deleted immediately; it's normally those that reach -10 in a few minutes. I vote to delete them and I don't see a problem with removing the utter crap instantly... – ben is uǝq backwards Apr 19 '14 at 14:03
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    I've only ever used this for posts attracting a lot of comments because they either are so terribly bad people start horsing around in the comments (which is not helpful to the OP), or there is some unhelpful trolling going on. Removing the post quickly puts an end to all that without having to involve a diamond moderator. – Martijn Pieters Apr 19 '14 at 14:05
  • "It's really not that difficult for a question to reach -3. It really isn't." Perhaps on Stack Overflow. Not so true for some of the smaller sites. – ale Apr 19 '14 at 14:09

I'm against completely disabling the deletion ability for unanswered questions. This is a clean-up task that would either fall to moderators or wouldn't be done at all if higher-reputation users couldn't do it.

If the current rules are a problem they can be altered, not removed. I think you'd need to show some data that supports the idea that it's a problem first, though.

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    Unanswered questions get deleted automatically by the system, after giving the OP enough time to improve and reopen. – Madara's Ghost Apr 19 '14 at 13:39
  • @SecondRikudo Why shouldn't this question be deleted immediately by the community? Or this one? It's been over two days. I'd rather let people have an ability that they rarely use than take it away and not be able to use it at all. – Bill the Lizard Apr 19 '14 at 13:43
  • Well, those questions can be removed by the system. (Not sure why that didn't happen). If the system automatically removes those questions? Why not let the system do its thing, while giving the OP time to fix his question according to the close message? – Madara's Ghost Apr 19 '14 at 16:25
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    @SecondRikudo There will always be questions that fall through the gaps and need to be cleaned up. I'd rather let people do that than take the ability away. Also, most questions get downvoted and closed quickly after being posted. Two days is plenty of time to address issues if the OP really wants an answer. I'm not convinced this feature is being mis-used enough to warrant taking it away. – Bill the Lizard Apr 19 '14 at 18:18

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