If a question deleted by the Roomba gets undeleted, that means that a strong part of the community (at least three 10k+ users, possibly more, possibly also mods) think, yes it should exist.

This is obviously the opposite of what the Roomba is for: to reduce noise by removing forgotten things.

Of course, the post can be later still deleted on the usual rules (3 delete votes, mod intervention, decisive own-delete if possible, etc.).

But, please make it exempt from the Roomba runs immediately following the undeletion.

The solutions could be quite simple:

  1. Roomba should delete a question only once. Question once already deleted by it should be completely exempt from its following runs.


  1. Roomba would count the days of these questions after the last undeletion. Thus, if the question was undeleted by the 30-day rule, it would get another 30 days, and so on.

Remark: That the wish of the community was enough strong to undelete the question, it does not always mean that they could or want to produce of the required votes to save it. They cannot always produce the required amount of up/accept/reopen votes. Furthermore, wanting a question undeleted does not mean that we also would want to vote it up or vote to reopen.

  • 11
    I wonder why multiple people would undelete a post, yet do nothing to prevent it from being deleted by Roomba again?
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jan 15, 2021 at 17:55
  • 2
    @Tinkeringbell They can not always do that, on two reasons: 1. They can not always provide the required amount of ups/accept/reopen votes 2. That they want a question to exist again, does not mean that they would want to vote it up.
    – peterh
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:00
  • 11
    I think in this case, it would be a good idea to have a very, very great example of a question that does not deserve any upvote at all, yet is so critical to a site that it needs to be visible to more than just the OP of the question. Because right now it sorta sounds like keeping questions around just so they can be downvoted even further :P
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:05
  • 1
    @Tinkeringbell How could I give you an example for a question which was really good, but re-deleted by the roomba? :-) Here is a list of the top100 highest scores questions which were deleted by it, but existed again at the last SEDE dump. Note that the top scored question was deleted by the Roomba twice, and undeleted twice, and it has now a 200+ score.
    – peterh
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:11
  • 4
    if anything I would say it gets another term in relation to its category. So if it was deleted under the 9 days roomba, the question gets another 9 days to prove itself, deleted by the 30 days criteria, live for another 30 days, 365 days rule; live another year. Exempting posts from roomba ever again is not a good measure. That keeps low scoring stuff on the site and that should not be our goal.
    – rene
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:32
  • @rene Absolutely not - none of the Roomba rules have anything to do with previous deletion events (ref), currently they are deleted again in the next roomba run (next day or next week), independently from their history. Also the timeline of this post shows that.
    – peterh
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:35
  • 7
    Um... that's sort of a bad example to use. The question was negatively-scored both times it was deleted and it didn't get even a single upvote until it was answered. The question was undeleted by a mod due to a flag requesting undeletion by the OP, who had self-solved and was planning to answer but didn't in the period between when the undeletion happened and it was re-deleted. I agree with @rene Giving it some grace period would be good but exempting it is not.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:39
  • 1
    You are misunderstanding my comment. I know how the roomba works. I'm offering a way how I could support your FR. At the moment I won't.
    – rene
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:40
  • @Catija I can give exclusively bad examples, because exactly the expert questions get lower attention -> exactly they have the least chance for an undelete. This problem was mentioned already here.
    – peterh
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:45
  • @Catija I suggest to find multiple times roomba-deleted questions posted by high-rep users (ideally, at the time of the post), and you will see it.
    – peterh
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:47
  • @rene Yeah, so I understand! I inserted it into the question.
    – peterh
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:51
  • 1
    Perhaps it is time to do some information gathering to see if the roomba is deleting some questions too quickly, or if the system could save some of them from the abyss by bumping them (or doing something else) prior to deleting them. Maybe some questions close to the algorithm’s threshold could go into a “scheduled for deletion” review queue. I don’t think twiddling the roomba criteria over a few double deletions without doing some sort of fact-finding makes sense.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 15, 2021 at 19:17
  • Considering the answer you have here, I'd edit this to only request solution 1, i.e. that undeleted Roomba-deleted questions be altogether exempt. This way, you or someone else can request solution 2 in a separate post, and it'll be more likely to be considered by the team and receive a staff response. Jan 15, 2021 at 23:05
  • @SonictheCuriouserHedgehog (2) was rene's suggestion (in a now deleted comment). I think broadening the options would increase the probability of the acceptance - which is low, because staff already reacted and it seems she did not like the idea. Actually I like (1) more, but I think (2) is an acceptable compromise. In the not very probably case that the idea would be implemented, I think the staff will say the details.
    – peterh
    Jan 15, 2021 at 23:30
  • Related thread on MSO about this problem: "Community" bot deleted my reopened question
    – peterh
    Jan 16, 2021 at 23:42

1 Answer 1


Your query was pretty helpful. I've been cherry-picking some examples that show up as being deleted twice. Let's take a look at the timeline of the highest voted post there:

  • It was deleted by the roomba
  • It was undeleted by a vote from OP and another user.
  • There was a comment by the OP: "Not sure about the downvote - there seems to be a problem with hashed/unhashed entries in known_hosts. I'm going to dig into it a little further and answer the question."
  • It was deleted by roomba again
  • It was undeleted again by OP and another user.
  • It was self-answered

After that, it was never deleted again. This is the timeline of the second-highest voted post that shows up twice. Again, it was deleted, undeleted, nothing else happened, it was deleted again, then undeleted, then it got a bounty and finally an answer blocking further deletion. And this is the only other post I found with a positive score that was deleted by the roomba twice: First for being a closed question, then for being 30 days old.

Another one, that's still scoring 0 and is closed, was also deleted and undeleted by a mod twice. But, looking at the vote summaries, it had an upvoted answer before it was deleted and undeleted. It seems more likely the Roomba was already wrong the first time it was deleted! Another one that was deleted twice: Asked and answered by the same person, but with only 60 views after 5 years.

All in all, there are 7 questions on that query that were deleted by the roomba twice. And only 3 now have a positive score. On a site the size of SO... that's negligible.

With the exception of the three positively scored questions, I'm not sure how valuable these questions actually are to people. And I'm not sure how much value there was in undeleting them in the form they were in. First step to me would be making sure that if a question that was deleted by the Roomba is undeleted, there's a good reason for doing so. This would include having a discussion somewhere on meta about reopening it, or having a self-answer ready for posting the minute it is undeleted. In short: when considering to undelete something deleted by the roomba, do something to make it ineligible for a second roomba deletion.

If it is really that impossible to make these posts ineligible for Roomba deletion forever in the short time they are undeleted, give them a longer time before being deleted again. But don't make them ineligible forever. If they were deleted as e.g. RemoveAbandonedQuestions, make undeleting count as 'resetting the timer'. That way such a question will have a whole year again to attract upvotes and an answer. If it was deleted as RemoveDeadQuestions, give it another 30 days. That should be more than enough time.

  • As I mentioned already twice in the comments below the question: "I can give exclusively bad examples, because exactly the expert questions get lower attention -> exactly they have the least chance for an undelete. This problem was mentioned already here".
    – peterh
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:54
  • Probably you can not search by the mod tools for deleted questions posted by high-rep users, but deleted by the roomba multiple times. If you can, probably there are your examples.
    – peterh
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:56
  • @peterh-ReinstateMonica I was writing an answer and going through the posts you linked, I didn't exactly keep track of the comments. I see the solution I was writing down was also offered there. But I do think I got all the posts that were deleted twice from your query... If the expert questions get so much less attention, how do they end up with scores less than -4? Because that's the lowest score rn in your query...
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:57
  • Not all, the query shows only the 100 highest scored posts. This query shows the currently existing questions deleted by the Roomba at least twice, and undeleted twice. Again, probably also these are not good examples, because I can not give examples of currently deleted questions.
    – peterh
    Jan 15, 2021 at 19:03
  • 3
    @peterh-ReinstateMonica At this point, I'm starting to think we're moving into a different problem: That of Roomba deleting questions that you think should not be deleted for some reason, despite them having a negative score, no views, and no answers. I think if there are currently deleted questions that should be left undeleted, you'd do better by e.g. discussing increasing the negative score a post should have to be considered for RemoveDeadQuestions before it is actually considered for Roomba cleanup that way. Better to prevent it from getting deleted in the first place!
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jan 15, 2021 at 19:10
  • Exactly. These questions are the expert questions (mentioned alread here), typically hard problems which can not be answered by the first user working on that field and googling for the correct keywords. These questions tend to attract lesser views, lesser reactions - simply because only few people can provide useful content for them. However, the attention what they attract, is typically the attention of better skilled users, with both the privilege and focus to save and answer them (≈ higher rep). The roomba is not for these questions.
    – peterh
    Jan 15, 2021 at 22:53

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