When users come across their own question that was automatically deleted, they are given a link to the help page on what criteria cause a question to be deleted by the Community user. However, that page is rather matter-of-fact, just explaining the criteria for automatic deletion. That page doesn't have any reasons why the criteria are what they are, and how to go about getting it undeleted if they want.

This seems rather not nice to a user who might still want an answer to their old question that was automatically deleted for inactivity, or one that they want to self-answer. It also makes users less likely to ask questions about obscure topics, since those are often left unanswered and un-voted, and they may simply not ask them because they know it may be deleted after a year.

I suggest adding in, for each deletion reason, a brief explanation as to why that criterion exists. Then, at the bottom, adding in a brief paragraph on how to get your question undeleted, and also the fact that if, after it's undeleted, it hasn't been fixed so that the deletion criteria no longer apply, it will be immediately re-deleted.

  • The question will not be deleted if voted up already ?
    – yagmoth555
    May 13, 2018 at 2:19
  • If you disagree with this, it would be very nice if you provided an explanation why. May 13, 2018 at 3:06
  • The faq page linked to at the bottom of that help page does contain a link to this meta post explaining how to undelete such a question (though it is buried in the answer). A brief explanation of why questions are closed and how to open them can be found in this help page, but it is not linked to from the original help page. I agree that at the very least links to these and and other appropriate faqs/help pages/meta posts should be added.
    – robinCTS
    May 13, 2018 at 7:08
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    I don't think the numbers on that page should be formatted as code, first of all because they're not code and second of all because it goes against this. May 13, 2018 at 8:53
  • @DonaldDuck The text was originally copied from Jeff's answer; Jeff used code in his response. Never question Jeff. May 13, 2018 at 8:56
  • @DonaldDuck And the fact that it's a help page rather than a question/answer/faq post makes a difference. I usually hate the way a post looks when code formatting is used incorrectly, but I rather like the way that help page looks with a direct link between the number of days and the close reason.
    – robinCTS
    May 13, 2018 at 10:03
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    The problem here is not adequate documentation; it is finding it.
    – user102937
    May 13, 2018 at 18:37
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    There is a difference between something being unhelpful and being "not nice", not providing information to a new user that should be provided, is unhelpful. I disagree with the notion that not doing something is "not nice", not everything we don't do as a community, is "not nice" to new users.
    – Ramhound
    May 14, 2018 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


Page now has a more detailed introduction:

Abandoned, unanswered questions can be a nuisance for readers when they appear in search results. While every question deserves a chance to be answered, at some point the annoyance to those searching for a solution outweighs the increasingly-small chance that an answer will be provided.

For this reason, the Community user will automatically delete old abandoned/dead questions in the following circumstances:

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    I'd recommend including a link to xkcd.com/979 May 14, 2018 at 20:57
  • Also, this isn't completely resolved - I also asked to include an explanation on how to get them undeleted, or otherwise what to do if one still wants an answer to an abandoned question.. Is that status-declined? May 14, 2018 at 20:58
  • Already explained in the linked FAQ, as noted in the comments. Not wild about including instructions, as in most cases it's probably more efficient to just post a new question.
    – Shog9
    May 14, 2018 at 21:00
  • The consensus in this case was to never post a new question, and to seek undeletion of the old question. May 14, 2018 at 21:04
  • Which worked out in that scenario, but... Honestly, is a lot of overhead.
    – Shog9
    May 14, 2018 at 21:35
  • Shog9 & @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog How about adding something like this to the end of the help page: "This post also explains how to go about getting Community user deleted questions undeleted."? If posting a new question is either preferred or an acceptable alternative, maybe also modify the linked-to faq with this: "An alternative to undeleting a Community user deleted question is to post a new (improved) question."?
    – robinCTS
    May 15, 2018 at 6:47
  • @robinCTS In most cases (including the one I cited above), the general community consensus is that it's better to seek undeletion of a Community user-deleted question. Thus, I'd support the former proposal. May 15, 2018 at 7:18
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    I've added a note, @robinCTS - but also posted an answer wherein I elaborate on why I think just re-posting is prudent.
    – Shog9
    May 15, 2018 at 23:03
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    So... That fairly obscure help page averages about 130 views per day across the network, @Sonic. Even if only 1% tried to get their questions undeleted, that's a non-trivial amount of extra work for mods and 10K users - and a very good chance that a good many questions won't be successfully undeleted. Automatic deletion isn't supposed to be punitive; if the asker still cares about the question a week, month, year after asking and is willing to give it another shot, they should probably just do it.
    – Shog9
    May 15, 2018 at 23:05

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