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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:

If the question is more than 30 days old, and ...

  • has −1 or lower score
  • has no answers
  • is not locked
  • has not been migrated from another site

...or...

  • it was closed and migrated to a different site (i.e. it is a migration stub)

...or...

  • it was migrated from a different site, and then rejected

... it will be automatically deleted. Internally, these are termed "dead" questions (RemoveDeadQuestions, RemoveMigrationStubs in the case of a migration stub, or RemoveRejectedMigrations in the case of a rejected migration).

For this criterion only, when calculating the question's score, only downvotes that were cast more than two days ago are considered. This is to prevent serial downvotes from causing automatic deletions and allow the voting fraud scripts to run before the checks above run.

If the question is more than 365 days old, and ...

  • has a score of 0 or less, or a score of 1 or less in case the owner's account is deleted
  • 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

... it will be automatically deleted. These are "abandoned" questions (RemoveAbandonedQuestions).

These checks are run every week across all sites.

If the question was closed more than 9 days ago, and ...

  • not closed as a duplicate
  • has a score of 0 or less
  • is not locked
  • has no answers with a score > 0
  • has no accepted answer
  • has no pending reopen votes
  • has not been edited in the past 9 days
  • has not been migrated from another site

... it will be automatically deleted. These are "abandoned closed", and show as RemoveAbandonedClosed:

example of "deleted by Community" notation

This check is run every day across all sites.

See also: The official "How does deleting work? What can cause a post to be deleted, and what does that actually mean?" FAQ meta post.

Jeff Atwood
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