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Lots of questions get closed, yet they linger for ever. This is of little significance, except when one searches for something.
May we consider the practice of not only closing questions (I have in mind those which are not of the contentious type...) but also actually delete them?
10k+ rep users can vote to delete closed questions (that have been closed for at least two days), so I thought I would get some idea of which questions you wanted to delete by looking at the delete tool (viewable by 10k+ rep users), but there aren't currently any questions with delete votes.
I've tried to (vote to) delete a couple of the spammy questions by Ross, but I can only do that after a couple of days, it seems.
I agree that the waiting period to delete already closed questions seems quite inconvenient, almost to the point of defeating the purpose of the feature. Why wait two days to do something that you want to do now?
Six spam flags will also delete a question.
@Pete: I assume to prevent us from deleting questions that should be salvaged. Given that there is some concern about hasty closing, I don't mind the built-in un-hasty-ness for deletion.
But I wonder if the computer could be coaxed to let closed questions slowly "fade away" if they have no activity.
It would be nice if there was an option for users that when set, MO would not show all closed questions but only the recent ones.
Charles, you are correct. However, since it is very hard to reach a 6 person consensus in 48 hours, the number of spurious deletions of this type is minimal. In fact, I think the spam/offensive flags are somewhat underused by the community since almost all deletions have been due to moderator intervention in the end.
To add to what François is saying: if a post gets 6 spam flags and is deleted as spam, the 100 point penalty can be removed by a moderator with a rep recalc. If a question gets 3 spam flags, it stops showing up on the home page.
If you really feel that a question should be deleted quickly, you can always flag for moderator attention. We can delete it at any time.
I am pulling this back to the front page because, as a new 10K user, I feel some obligation to do my part to keep the site "clean". In perusing deleted and undeleted closed questions, I do not get much of a sense of how people decide on which closed questions to delete. Of course, spam obviously should go, but generally Anton gets rid of spam quickly. Questions that do not make sense don't belong, IMO. I believe that homework type questions and undergraduate level questions should go. Do you agree with me? What other kinds of closed questions should be deleted?
Bill, I'm glad you have decided to use your new moderation privileges! So far, deleting questions has mostly been done by moderators, but it's usually not highest in our priority list. We would be happy to see more high reputation users take on such maintenance tasks.
It takes 3 votes to delete a closed question and there is a 48 hour waiting period after closure before deletion votes can be cast. Since candidates for deletion lose visibility fast, it's a good idea to occasionally check the deletion list in the moderation tools. Candidates for deletion can also be brought up on meta to increase awareness and discuss borderline cases.
For spam, it is best to flag as spam. After 6 flags, the question is deleted and the poster gets a 100 point penalty. It only takes 15 points to have the ability to flag as spam and there is no 48 hour waiting period.
Thanks, Gerhard & Francois. I knew that it took 3 votes to delete, but that fact seems not to appear explicitly on the faq page or on pages that only 10K users can see--I deduced it from looking at votes for deleting closed posts.
I have reservations about drawing attention on meta to a large number of closed posts that perhaps should be considered for deletion.
One of the reasons that those who can don't delete much is that one can only vote to delete after a couple of days after closure. The most obvious things to be deleted are also easiest to forget about in two days.
Another reason is the "delete" page is its own page in the moderation tools. I tend to only look at the "stats" page, sometimes the "close" page. Until this week I think I've only looked at the delete page once.
It is the "closed" page which is relevant, Ryan. Well, pages; there are 160 (sic) of them!
Thanks, Andy, for taking the lead in cleaning up.
I've just killed quite a few. It is a surprisingly soothing activity! :D
Don't ignore ones that do not have any votes to close. I cast the first vote on a bunch that I thought were clear cut cases, but got worn out after a while.