19 days ago I asked a question on the apple.stackexchange site. It turned out to be a fairly niche question and got no answers, but yesterday I found the solution and, trying to be a good citizen, I went back to the question to answer it so that it could act as a reference item - a solution for people in future who have that problem.
Of course it had been automatically deleted, and needs 5 votes re-instate it (which is obviously never going to happen because it's a niche question). But clearly other people are going to have that same problem, and now they've been denied the solution their problem.
Another example: On http://jyaml.sourceforge.net there is the following notice:
Notice: I am no longer maintaining JYaml. See this this Q&A for a list of alternatives.
The Q&A referenced is https://stackoverflow.com/questions/450399/which-java-yaml-library-should-i-use
This question, and all the answers, has been deleted. The message on the page reads:
This question was removed from Stack Overflow for reasons of moderation.
(The reason is most likely is that the question asks for an opinion about the relative utility of the libraries, which is clearly a total outlandish and unreasonable thing to do, and which obviously no-one would find useful).
Two points: Much of the success of SO has been based around the perception that it is a reference resource of solutions to problems, and yet by arbitrarily deleting (not closing, deleting) questions the SO maintainers are setting out to undermine SO's usefulness as a reference resource.
Secondly, the internet is built as a network of links spanning multiple domains. By deleting Q&As, SO is consciously breaking the Internet and being a bad citizen.
So, since deleting whole Q&As is a bad thing to do, for multiple reasons, what is the driving force that makes SO believe that deletions are necessary?
[Edit: to clarify, I'm asking why deletion is the preferred option rather than removing the article from search indexes (which wouldn't break the Internet), or just making bad questions rank much lower than good questions. Deletion is such a crowbar solution.]
[Edit #2: Good old archive.org. Here's the archived version of the deleted page http://web.archive.org/web/20141017030258/https://stackoverflow.com/questions/450399/which-java-yaml-library-should-i-use
Note that it had 116 up votes and had been favourited 34 times - pretty solid, I'd say]