Sometimes (more often than one would like), completely off-topic, unsalvagable questions get asked in the tags I monitor on Stack Overflow. Naturally, I vote to close these and usually post a comment referencing the help center, but I'd really like to completely fire-and-forget by pre-registering my vote-to-delete as well.

Here's a recent example:

Timepicker using only javascript is it possible?

I need time picker using only javascript is it possible if yes please share me the code

[javascript] [java]

(Yes, it was really tagged both.)

This question isn't on-topic for SO and never will be. It's pure noise. It was posted, closed within four minutes, and as of this writing is still sitting around half an hour later with +0/-15 votes and one lonely delete vote on it [mine] (it was eventually deleted ~40 minutes after being asked).

Here's how pre-registering would work:

  1. I vote to close
  2. I click the now-visible delete link
  3. The site confirms that I want to pre-register my vote-to-delete
  4. I say yes, and my pre-registered vote is recorded; this has no effect on the number of delete votes I have remaining for the day (see 6.2 below)
  5. If the question is edited before it's closed, my pre-registered vote is thrown away (without preventing me manually coming back to vote to delete later if it's appropriate)
  6. If not, when the question is closed, then:
    1. If I still have delete votes left for the day, my pre-registered vote is turned into a real delete vote
    2. If not, it's just discarded

This ensures that a truly poor content is cleaned up quickly and doesn't require folks like me to come back later to delete it, while allowing for the possibility that the content will be improved (by throwing out the pre-registered vote if the question is edited).

Now that users can see their recent deleted questions, there's no real impetus to keep them lingering on the site.

It's a small thing, but I'd find it useful.

Here's another recent example:

How to open a popup every 5 seconds in a website

I needed a code which will open a popup every 5 seconds in my website. The popup link would be same.

[javascript] [popup] [popupwindow]

Two hours later still waiting for the final vote-to-close.

And another:

how to use this site of java function?

The word in square brackets is the alt text, which gets displayed if the browser can't show the image. Be sure to include meaningful alt text for screen-reading software. 然后一群中国人在这里的文字,我改变了,如果它是巧妙的冒犯


This is just nonsense (the Chinese text I changed above translated as gibberish, but that could be Google Translate), and quite possibly posted by someone intentionally trying to waste people's time. Vote to close, vote to delete, move on.

And another:

Addition of consecutive elements in an array

How can I perform consecutive addition of elements in an array? So that for the input {1,2,3,4,5,6} the output would be {3,5,7,9,6}?


And another:

I am new for Mailinaotr API. Anybodya has working java code?

I am working on the sample script provided on Github to read and delete mails using mailinator API. But I am not able to run it properly. Anybody have the working code to access mails using mailinator?


[java] [mailinator]

I won't keep adding examples ad infinitum. Suffice to say that I'd be using this every day, usually multiple times a day.

  • 4
    Perhaps if the net question vote was -3 or below, this could work well. Particularly if you were gold on one of the tags (although you could assume that the tags were arbitrary for a truly poor question). Although it does give an OP less time to address the issues identified in the question.
    – Bathsheba
    Dec 8, 2016 at 13:02
  • @Bathsheba - Sure, the ones I'm thinking of usually have big negative votes. But I don't know if that complexity is really required. If we're trusted with vote-to-delete, and it still requires a separate action after the vote-to-close to do it... On time: Yes, it does, but they can always post a new one having gotten the idea, and this really is for the "it just isn't going to get any better" case. :-) Dec 8, 2016 at 13:06
  • how do you expect this to interplay with delete votes daily limit? If you are out of daily limit when question becomes eligible for your vote, what happens? If you want in this case the vote to be "reserved" for the beginning of new SE day, it is silently applied and deducted from your limit on that day?
    – gnat
    Dec 8, 2016 at 13:43
  • 1
    @gnat: Very good question! I've updated #2 above and split #6 into two parts. Dec 8, 2016 at 13:46
  • 11
    Optional checkbox on the VTC dialog: "with prejudice", that also downvotes the question and registers your delete vote.
    – user1228
    Dec 8, 2016 at 15:45
  • @Won't: Heh :-) Dec 8, 2016 at 15:45
  • 8
    Point 5 takes care of my biggest concern. The reason that delete votes are delayed is to give people time to edit and address the problems identified by the close votes. I'd still like to give them that chance, even though I know most people won't take it. If they don't edit, I see no problem with fast-tracking it for deletion based on preregistered votes. Dec 8, 2016 at 16:42
  • 2
    @Won't no that should be one of the radio buttons, another one labeled "with extreme prejudice" that would do what you suggest and additionally flag VLQ
    – gnat
    Dec 9, 2016 at 7:58
  • @gnat: Only if the VLQ flag were also tweaked to actually be effectual.
    – jscs
    Dec 9, 2016 at 11:23
  • Once you have 10000 reputation points on a site, you gain access to the moderator tools. This includes an easy access to list recently closed questions. You can periodically review that list, and find questions where you want to cast delete votes. There are also some rules that make the SE software auto-delete certain questions, though I don't remember what they are.
    – b_jonas
    Jan 5, 2017 at 13:48
  • 3
    @b_jonas: Indeed. But that's still me going back and checking. Frankly, the questions I want to use this on aren't worth anyone's time to do that if they remain unedited. Jan 5, 2017 at 15:31
  • 1
    @T.J.Crowder It's possible that the questions you want to use this power on really are like that, but you should think of everyone else whose hands this power falls into.
    – b_jonas
    Jan 5, 2017 at 23:17
  • 8
    @b_jonas: :-) Well, the SO system is largely predicated on trusting users, and doing so in a graduated fashion based on rep. By nature, this would be limited to 10k+ users, since deleting questions is a 10k privilege. Sure, some users might abuse it, but I think on balance it's not an issue. The question still requires multiple delete votes. Jan 6, 2017 at 7:29

2 Answers 2


This feature does not appear necessary for a few reasons. Note the related discussion in How can we stop premature deletion?, which ultimately led to the roomba as the chosen solution. All discussion and further relevant justifications and analysis for that can be found there.

So, this isn't really needed, for a number of reasons:

  • The roomba exists, and automatically does this already. Unfortunately the OP did not link to the example question and I could not find it, but if it was closed, had a negative score, had no positively scored answers or accepted answers, and no pending reopen votes, it would have been deleted in 9 days regardless.
  • Furthermore, the OP's original example itself shows that this isn't necessary: The question was deleted after 40 minutes. So the mission was accomplished. The system worked, and all was as it should be. It's really not an issue that it was deleted after 40 minutes instead of 10 or whatever.
  • If a couple of questions that you feel should be deleted aren't picked up by the roomba, while philosophically you may want to see them obliterated (and I'd probably be inclined to agree), in reality they are a non-issue. Noisy old questions tend to not show up in searches or never be seen again. Worst case they take up a few extra bytes in a data center somewhere and us humans are no better or worse off for it. So, unless it can be shown that there is significant noise, in reality, and that significant noise is degrading the effectiveness of the site, then the few cases that aren't mopped up by the roomba are a non-issue. Also note than in the much longer term, we have this to clean up very old noise and doesn't even require a question to be closed.
  • There's also what I believe to be a fundamentally incorrect premise, which is that if you don't vote to delete the question while you are looking at it, then nobody else will and the question will never be deleted. This is not the case, however (for example, the original example that was ultimately deleted after 40 minutes by others).

For that last point, in particular:

This ensures that a truly poor content is cleaned up quickly and doesn't require folks like me to come back later to delete it,

That's the thing: Right now, it already doesn't require folks like you to go back later and delete it. Those questions still end up being deleted without you going back. Not to mention all the questions that you, personally, don't see (the vast majority), still manage to end up deleted without you casting the vote.

Note also the implementation complexities here. There is an answer in the link above that talks about delayed close/delete votes:

Delayed close votes seem clever - but then you have this new visible status of "pending delete in 48 hours" or something, and have to introduce "early undelete" votes or some crap to compensate.

That pretty much hits the nail on the head as far as how non-simple this suggestion truly is.

I don't think it's worth adding a new feature like this for no presumed additional real benefit other than, essentially, the personal satisfaction of participating in a deletion, given that the roomba was chosen as the best solution for this after much consideration.

Between the 9-day roomba and the "long-term" roomba (described in the third point above), and the fact that there are other users who are also reviewing questions in addition to you, these questions will meet their fate and, in the mean time, they generally don't negatively affect the ability to find information.

  • 1
    Not to mention the highly reduced applicability of the feature with the proposed rules, e.g. "If the question is edited before it's closed, my pre-registered vote is thrown away", yet tag / formatting / grammar edits are extremely common on the type of question identified here. Among other things.
    – Jason C
    Apr 9, 2017 at 21:27

SE is mainly for the community decisions, thus doing this as a single-person decision could be dangerous for the integrity of the database. You can't be sure that you decide correctly. Deletion should happen as a many-step process in which the induvidual mistakes can be filtered out by the review of many people.

In my opinion, the best if you close that question, and delete some different, already closed ones.

From the moment that you voted this question to close, you can safely forget it - if it is to be deleted, it will be. If maybe not, others will decide.

P.s. In VtC/VtR/VLQ reviews, I often favorize the questions whose fate seems important to me. Also I regularly check my voting history to see, what is the current state of the posts I voted upon. Sometimes, if they require some additional intervention (typically, reopen or close vote), then I do. I think you could do the same also with your close/del votes.

  • 1
    +1; pretty much, some semantic issues in the first paragraph which I'm sure somebody else will bring up, but otherwise, yes.
    – Jason C
    Apr 9, 2017 at 21:23

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