I don't often vote to delete questions because I don't feel I have enough Stack Exchange experience to really know how to apply this ability.

As a site, what sorts of questions do we want to be:

  • closed/downvoted and edited
  • closed/downvoted but left around
  • deleted (after how long being closed?)
  • 3
    – yannis
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 20:16
  • 1
    @Yannis flagged for deletion. ;)
    – enderland
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 20:19
  • 1
    – yannis
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 20:23
  • just kidding :-)
    – enderland
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 20:26
  • if there would be grace period for deleted posts then I would say that cross-posts without answers should have been mod-deleted immediately. Without such a grace period though, a lot of things get more complicated than it could be
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


From the Workplace Meta-FAQ post about community delete votes:

Generally we only delete closed, low scoring posts with no answers or poor answers. Closed posts are all "candidates for deletion" but generally only irrecoverably off topic/poor questions without useful information in answers should be deleted.

The two day waiting limit is imposed on 2,000 rep users so there's a window where the asker can edit and improve their question, or at least see why their post was closed. Even if you have 4,000 rep, consider waiting until the user sees what was wrong with the question.

That is the standard I try to follow on all SE sites.

  • Closed
  • Low scoring
  • No answers, or nothing but poor answers
  • Irrecoverably off topic/poor question
  • No useful information in answers
  • Not recently active (at least >2 days since last activity), and no one is activly working to try to edit/reopen the post

If I come across a case where something doesn't match that list but I still think it should be deleted for some reason, I would discuss with the community and/or our human exception handlers (the moderators) first.

When voting to delete, I am voting to take content away from the entire community, and I take that responsibility very seriously and try not to let my personal opinion of a post affect my decision.

  • Here is a search I use when looking for questions that meet the above criteria. You have to start from the bottom of the list though. workplace.stackexchange.com/…
    – jmort253
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 22:52
  • The main thing is I hate it when we get streaks of bad questions so our front page is FLOODED with closed, -5 vote question. Do I vote to delete these? Maybe we need more "should we delete this post" questions on meta in these circumstances?
    – enderland
    Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 0:19
  • @enderland The front page shows active questions, and I disagree with deleting Active questions in most cases. Usually the OP just needs help understanding the site and rephrasing the question. Also, questions scored too low won't show up on the front page :)
    – Rachel
    Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 5:17
  • If the question is poor and the only answers contain 'destructive' advice, i would say it is also a candidate for deletion. Destructive advice could be anywhere from 'Quit' with giving no reasons why or alternatives to obvious destruction like 'Slap your boss'
    – user5305
    Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 18:37
  • Also @Rachel there are cases where the active questions page is fine, but the newest questions page is a stream of all negatives. Would you apply the same behaviour in those cases?
    – user5305
    Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 18:38
  • @RhysW Yes, I would. If someone posts a bad question I think its important we teach them (and others viewing the post) why it's considered a bad question, and give them a chance to fix it before deleting it. Simply deleting it teaches them nothing, and quick deletion of positively scored or useful posts can do the community more harm than good.
    – Rachel
    Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 18:46
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    @Rachel on the flip side, i feel that we keep around all of these bad questions as we feel 'deleting teaches them nothing' i feel all we are accomplishing is leaving poor examples for new users, especially when a lot of the time the users never come back to edit the question and never seem to learn anything from it
    – user5305
    Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 18:49
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    @Rhys - I'd like to see more people participating in voting to delete and undelete. Left to my own devices, I'm most likely just going to delete posts that match what was posted in the FAQ. With community participation, the decision to delete or not delete is made based on the wishes of the community as a whole and not just a single individual. It also helps with those boundary cases, which I prefer to leave to the community to decide. With that said, I do agree that if a post still has activity on it, we should try to see if we can improve it before removing it. Hope this helps!
    – jmort253
    Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 20:55
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    @RhysW I feel deleting posts quickly without giving the user a chance to respond and/or edit their post does the community more harm than good. There's even been some recent MSO posts from SE employees asking for solutions to dealing with premature deletions as well
    – Rachel
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 11:55
  • @Rachel agreed, im not talking about immediate deletion, but our approach to retrospective deletion doesnt seem to be working, were flooded with more and more poor questions each day, i rarely see a day now where there isnt stream of 4-5 negative questions one after the other. I think we need to be more proactive to our approach and less reactive. We've tried reactive and it isn't working as well as we hoped
    – user5305
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 12:18
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    @RhysW We've also seen a big increase in the number of users though. I think we need better user education about the site, not more proactive deletions. I went on a mini rant about this in chat recently... main ideas would be to change the tag line to be about our topic, and not our type of user and make a New User meta post specifically aimed at New Users
    – Rachel
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 12:34
  • @Rachel that seems logical, and i agree 100% on the tag line, i think that's a big cause of the misunderstanding on this site!
    – user5305
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 12:37
  • I vote to delete anything that asks for advice on illegal activity if the querent is asking how to break the law. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 20:19

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