I read this: Enable automatic deletion of old, unanswered zero-score questions after a year?

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

has a score of 0 *or* a score of 1 with a deleted owner
has no answers
is not locked
has a viewcount <= the age of the question in days times 1.5
has 1 or 0 comments

... it will be automatically deleted.

These checks are run every week across all sites.

Then I ran this query: https://askubuntu.com/search?q=created%3A2012..2013-08-06+is%3Aq+closed%3Ano+answers%3A0 https://askubuntu.com/search?q=created%3A2012..2013-08-06+is%3Aq+closed%3Ano+answers%3A0+comments%3A..1+score%3A..0

Which came up with some questions like this one: https://askubuntu.com/questions/216511/sound-fails-when-i-switch-users - score 0, answers 0, comments 0, views 62, created Nov 2012. It satisfies all of the criteria for automatic deletion, so why has it not been deleted?


Thanks to Oli and Terdon for pointing out that those questions all had a balancing upvote. So it seems that if a question has a single upvote then it will never be automatically deleted, regardless of the total score. Thanks to Shog9 for confirming that upvotes do not matter, only the total score matters.

But what about this question: https://askubuntu.com/questions/205682/installing-usr-5422-on-ubuntu-12-04 (score -1, no upvotes, oct 2012, 42 views, no answers, no comments) ?

And what about the (30 days, -1 score, unanswered) criteria for deletion?

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

has −1 or lower score
has no answers
is not locked


it was closed and migrated to a different site

... it will be automatically deleted.

Query: https://askubuntu.com/search?q=created%3A2012..2014-06-28+is%3Aq+closed%3Ano+answers%3A0+score%3A..-1 (140 results)

Example result: https://askubuntu.com/questions/323489/problem-after-installing-ubuntu-12-10 (1 year old, score -1 with a single downvote, no answers)

The question will not be deleted under the 365 days rule since it managed to attract 3 (!) comments. But shouldn't it match the 30 day rule?


2 Answers 2


I tweaked the query so that it only shows questions with a score of zero. All the non-deleted ones have one thing in common: they've had upvotes and downvotes.

I suspect the query is discounting these controversial posts because somebody thought them good enough to stick around. That also has the side effect of preventing somebody from being able to run around deleting a load of +1 questions just by downvoting them (a free action).

Just to pull in some detail from the comments:

  • My suspicious above currently isn't true.
  • When votes happened matters.
  • The cleanup script is currently down
  • 2
    That'd be clever, but we're not doing that - we're just looking at the score. Or we would be looking at the score if these scripts were running at all
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 16:34
  • I think it should be doing that. That is, once somebody's flipped the Roomba right-side-up.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 17:47
  • @Shog9 No? Then why haven't the posts been deleted? A very recent breakage can't be the cause, since a post like this one would have been eligible for deletion any time since Nov 8th 2013.
    – bain
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 18:16
  • No, because that post had a score of 1 until 8 days ago, @bain.
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 19:43
  • @Shog9 How about this question - created October 2012, one downvote, never upvoted, 46 views, no comments?
    – bain
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 21:20
  • 1
    That one had an upvote until the voter was deleted yesterday, and didn't get a downvote until a week ago, @bain.
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 21:29
  • There was talk about a vote "hiatus" so that someone couldn't easily kill questions on roomba day, is that still going to happen?
    – Mateo
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 20:14
  • Eventually, @Mateo. BTW, this kicked in finally and should've cleaned up the backlog here.
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 0:24
  • Ah, cool. So not a accidental kickstart of the feature
    – Mateo
    Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 0:26

The two search queries are now returning 0 results and 2 results respectively, so it seems that the issue I noticed was just a combination of:

  • the broken weekly cleanup scripts
  • a large number of questions that only became eligible for deletion very recently

    It is possible to see when a question was voted on by looking at https://askubuntu.com/posts/${QUESTION_ID}/timeline e.g. for a heavily voted example question: https://askubuntu.com/posts/56104/timeline

Regarding the larger issue of criteria for automatic deletion, there is a currently open question: What should the system be deleting automatically that it already isn't?.

There is another open question regarding old question issues specific to AskUbuntu: How should Ask Ubuntu handle old questions and answers?

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