There are a number of reasons why the system will delete posts. One of these reasons is called RemoveAbandonedQuestions:

The system will automatically delete unlocked, unanswered questions older than 365 days on main (non-meta) sites with score of zero (or one, if the owner's account is deleted), fewer than 1.5 views per day on average, and fewer than two comments. (RemoveAbandonedQuestions)

A question that is open, unlocked, and has a score of zero or one is not a bad question. There are a lot of reasons why it may not have gotten attention, a prime example is that it is an esoteric question.

I recently saw this on Software Engineering - I saw a question a couple of months ago that I bookmarked because I can answer it, but I just haven't had the time. I noticed recently that it was deleted by Community and the RemoveAbandonedQuestion reason is why. At this point in time, the question is only visible to 10k users or moderators, who can cast undelete votes (or, in case of a moderator, just undelete it outright). If I had less than 10k and wasn't a moderator, this question would just be a 404 page for me now.

I understand why closed and/or negatively scored questions get cleaned up by the system. These are ones that the community has determined to not be useful or a good fit. If they haven't been edited and reopened and up-voted or answered with a good answer, it makes sense to get rid of them. However, these "abandoned" questions don't seem abandoned - they just seem unanswered and a good answer can help salvage them.

  • 11
    If no one cares about them enough to upvote or answer, then why do we care if they are deleted? If someone else has the same question again in the future, they can always ask it again at that point, so there is no irrecoverable loss. If no one ever has the same question then we haven't lost much by deleting the question. The gain from keeping it around for even longer if it hasn't gotten any answer or upvote in the year it has already been around seems pretty slender.
    – D.W.
    Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 3:59
  • 4
    While it's impossible for me to check if you upvoted or not, given that a single upvote would have prevented the question from being deleted, it sounds like you didn't feel the question was good enough to deserve an upvote. If you felt it was good enough to answer, why didn't you upvote it? If you had upvoted, then that would have prevented the question from being deleted (assuming the OP's account wasn't deleted and nobody downvoted).
    – Makyen
    Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 5:19
  • Can you ask the question again, and self-answer? Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 6:21
  • 3
    xkcd.com/979 Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 18:07

1 Answer 1


The rational that you're asking about, is mentioned on the help page located at relative path /help/roomba on any SE-site, i.e.:

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 ...

Additionally, as mentioned on the same help page also, these are the exact criteria for a question to be considered for automatic deletion (i.e. to become a RemoveAbandonedQuestions):

  • has a score of 0 or less, or a score of 1 and a deleted owner
  • has no answers
  • is not locked
  • has view count <= the age of the question in days times 1.5
  • has 1 or 0 comments
  • isn't on a meta site

So if you stumble on a question which you think it may some day be considered as one of the RemoveAbandonedQuestions, then here are some possible actions to reduce (not eliminate) that risk:

  • Upvote it (to increase its score with 1).
  • Try to answer it.
  • Add a (relevant) comment to it.

Note: be aware that an "unanswered question" is not the same as a question with 0 answers ... instead it's a question with no upvoted or accepted answer.

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