At this point, 5 people are able to vote for deletion of closed questions and answers. Within a few days that number will be closer to ten. Only three votes are required to delete, but the more eyes the better.

We currently have 46 closed questions.

However, the notes at https://opensource.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/moderator-tools make it clear that voting to delete should not be taken lightly.


  • Is it time to start cleaning up the closed questions (starting with those with large negative scores)?
  • Do we want to discuss specific delete candidates in our sole chat room; or
  • Should we create a new chat room for discussing delete votes?
    • If so, can entry to that room be limited to those with delete privileges?
    • And if it can be restricted, should it be?

A similar question arises about a room for close vote discussions

The following search will show some candidates

closed:yes answers:0

  • Thanks for raising it in meta, but I think that this should go in the chatroom. Looks like some heated debates about to arrive. Perhaps, a separate chatroom? - Voting on close and delete votes?
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 15:28
  • 2
    Yep, that's my suggestion above as far as chart rooms are concerned. But I think the community needs to chime in on whether it's time to even start. And frankly, the chat room isn't that well populated
    – kdopen
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 15:38
  • 1
    I'm hesitant to cast delete-votes, as I'm unsure inhowfar the sites get better through it. Sure, Spam and abuse should be deleted, no question. Probably faster through a flag. But what is the gain in deleting question. The risk is high, as many now will be unable to view it, and it may offer help to someones problem.
    – Mnementh
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 15:44
  • @Mnementh feel free to make that an answer :)
    – kdopen
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 15:49
  • I have one that I would recommend: opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/617/…
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 15:50
  • yep, that was one of the candidates
    – kdopen
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 15:52
  • And indeed it's now gone
    – kdopen
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 17:08

6 Answers 6


Closed questions aren't essential to delete.

To delete a question, there are some system-imposed restrictions, and there are some considerations that deleting users need to be aware of.

The question must have been closed for at least 48 hours, apart from for trusted users (currently 2000, public beta 4000) when it scores -3 or lower.

The question should not be dupe-closed: duplicates serve as signposts (I've used them myself several times.

The existence of good answers should preclude deletion: we don't want to lose them.

All of these points can be found on the privilege page, which also says we should delete questions "of no lasting value". Lasting value is not defined, but includes things that are off-topic and spam.

If you find something you think should be deleted, please drop it into chat and if others agree, then it will be.

In short, yes, but be careful what we're deleting.

  • Hence the question :). I contemplated pasting a lot of the advice on that page into the question, but figured those who were interested would follow the link and get it first hand
    – kdopen
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 15:55
  • Good point about duplicates being useful signposts - they were asked in the first place because the question they duplicate was not easy to find. Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 2:13
  • I also think off topic questions are useful as a guide to the scope - deleting them takes away the community statement that they are off topic. Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 2:14
  • 1
    @trichoplax I agree with that, but if they are blatantly off topic, then I don't mind recommending deletion
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 14:35

I don't think this is necessary, for a few reasons:

  • Closed questions with negative score and no upvoted answers are automatically deleted eventually. Which questions do you see, that do not fit those criteria, should be deleted? Which questions do you see must be deleted sooner than the automatic process?
  • In my experience, most deletions happen on answers which are obviously rubbish. Therefore, looking in the closed question pile isn't the best approach.
  • What benefit does "cleaning house" achieve? How does the existence of negative score closed questions harm the site? Are the existing vote score and search functions failing to filter out these questions?

There are cases where deletion is the obvious choice, such as when the question is pure spam, or harmful, and in this case it is worth raising the issue so it can be deleted swiftly. However, I don't think the list of closed questions is the right place to look.


I'm hesitant to cast delete-votes, as I'm unsure inhowfar the sites get better through it. Sure, Spam and abuse should be deleted, no question. Probably faster through a flag. But what is the gain in deleting question. The risk is high, as many now will be unable to view it, and it may offer help to someones problem.

On the other hand we haven't gotten this right without reason I think. So if someone would make it more clear for me which questions should be deleted and why, I might support it.

  • I'm asking more about the process at this point, than specific questions. Let's agree on principle first ;)
    – kdopen
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 15:54

Generally I'm all for deleting closed questions, because following a sign that says “get your answers here” only to see “hah, gotcha! This question can't be answered” when you get there sucks.

But closed questions should only be deleted once it's clear that they won't be reopened. The early beta is a time to revise questions and question assumptions, so what is closed today might be worth reopening tomorrow. Knowing what was closed also helps when forming the first site policies.

So do vote to delete obvious cases, but I think a coordinated cleanup campaign should wait for a few weeks. When the site acquires appointed moderators, they'll be able to delete without needing to coordinate votes anyway (Stack Exchange lacks good tool support for mod-free deletion).


From my perspective (I suspect I will reach 1000 rep soon(tm))

  • Yes, but I doubt it will be needed to delete a lot. There is nothing wrong with having closed questions at this point IMO. They can serve as a signpost for what is and what isn't on topic.

  • Why not? As long as the chatroom has sufficient bandwith. Right now, I don't think chat is too busy to interfere with, or be interferred by delete discussion.

  • We could revisit and create a separate chat if the need actually arises. YAGNI.


I don't think we need to start thinking about spring cleaning yet - I think until public beta we should focus on producing content and defining what is on topic.

Even when we do start to think about deleting closed posts, I think it's important to consider that some of them are linked from meta posts as examples of off topic questions. I would be hesitant to delete a question that will then cause a dead link in a meta post. Links from meta are a useful way of providing examples that can help to make a point clearer.

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