If a question is closed due to being off-topic then it should be deleted, because it doesn't belong there.

Why is it kept there in closed state when it has been established already that it's in the wrong place and no one is allowed to contribute?

That defeats the purpose of trying to maintain the high quality of content of site. Be it closed or open. As long as it's there it's still part of the content.

  • 1
    IMO it does not defeat any purpose.... it's very clear the question is off topic and when it was migrated, there is also link to its new location. There are cases when it's hard to tell where the question belongs (e.g. Stack Overflow or ServerFault) so having the message "this question belongs there and not here" does help to clear such confusion. There is automatic purge, as far as I know it doesn't look for closed question just questions with negative votes and no answers. Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 15:02
  • Sometimes the question wasn't off-topic when it was asked, got good answers, and then got closed later when the site's scope changed. My profile is still the easiest path to my questions and answers thus affected, and we can't see (old) deleted questions there. So that's kind of an unfortunate consequence of deleting them, and probably why we have historical locks. Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 21:24

3 Answers 3


Ideally, off-topic closures (as well as most non-dupe closures) should get deleted. The reason they're not immediately deleted is because sometimes they can be fixed to no longer be off-topic. Closing's purpose includes given the author, or other users, the opportunity to fix an unacceptable question and consequently get it reopened. That's why they stick around. How long they stick around is dependent on who is running around performing the necessary deletions.

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    So the deletion is not automatic you mean. It should be automatic then albeit after some time as you mentioned. Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 15:51
  • 6
    This. Closing is supposed to be your wake-up call, your last chance to take your question seriously. Deletion will follow...
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 17:17

At least in theory, closed off-topic questions serve as a signpost for future posters and show what questions aren't accepted. There are sometimes comments on those questions that add further detail into why the question was closed.

Similar questions asked in the future can be closed as duplicates of the original as well.

I believe eventually closed questions get purged, but I'm not entirely sure on when that happens and whether it's an automated process.

Edit: the question can also be re-opened if 5 people (or a moderator) think it was closed for the wrong reasons. Reopening the question is easier than undeleting, as more people have access to a closed question than to a deleted one. While I agree that questions that are clearly off-topic should be removed, I don't think such removal can be reliably done automatically without deleting questions that can be edited (if needed) and reopened.

  • Closed questions can be purged if people choose. Most are lingering.
    – random
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 14:44
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    That defeats the purpose of trying to maintain the high quality of content of site. Be it closed or open. As long as it is there its still part of the content. Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 14:50
  • @Hasan I updated my answer to include another condition. I agree that clearly off-topic questions should be removed, but I don't think doing so automatically is the way to go.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 17:15

Us deleters usually delete the off-topic questions once they're past their two day wait period. I always vote to delete the way off-topic questions.

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