20

This was just brought to my attention by this question.

From meta.se a question can be removed

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

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

Does this not seem extreme? Questions can be answered months later and, as pointed out in the previous question, this can be easily exploited.

If I did not like a question, I could just wait 30 days, vote it down and it would be removed?

Is it just me, or is this far to heavy handed?

I am not advocating for a change exactly but I would really like to here others opinions on this rule, do you like it?

Perhaps 90 days or -3 would be better here?

Please discuss.

  • 4
    If the bar was any higher, we would have a LOT more bad, unanswered questions hanging around :( – Zanna Dec 24 '16 at 16:30
  • @Zanna: If the question is bad, shouldn't it has more than one downvote or be closed? Allowing one downvote to remove a question is pretty much the same as allowing one close vote to close the question: only mods or 1k-tag user may close a question with one close vote. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 24 '16 at 16:32
  • @Zanna Sure but I don't think unanswerd question are bad necessarily, my concern is more for how open to exploitation this is, a single vote is just too low IMO. – Mark Kirby Dec 24 '16 at 16:34
  • I agree with this comment here – Zanna Dec 24 '16 at 16:35
  • @Zanna: I think that's a different question. We are talking about 30 days here, and the impact of downvotes. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 24 '16 at 16:39
  • 1
    But what do you mean by exploitation? If it's malicious behaviour, then it's about the user doing it, not the system. In the vast majority of cases, what's happening is that abandoned, poor quality questions are being cleaned up automatically, which is a good thing. If your question gets deleted, and you still have the problem, you can ask it anew (without it being marked a duplicate) and it is thus more likely to get an answer – Zanna Dec 24 '16 at 16:40
  • 1
    @Zanna: regarding the exploitation: Serial downvote: how to make it stop? Tired of having my questions deleted – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 24 '16 at 16:46
  • @Zanna: "If your question gets deleted, and you still have the problem, you can ask it anew (without it being marked a duplicate) and it is thus more likely to get an answer": they are two issues: 1) users are not notified when a question is deleted 2) questions older that 60 days that get deleted cannot even be retrieved by the user unless they have over 10k reputation points or have saved the links to the deleted questions (Wayback Machine may also help, but still, really not very convenient). It is not fun to have to write again the same question. It takes time. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 24 '16 at 16:47
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    so I think what should happen, is that users should be notified when their question is deleted @FranckDernoncourt – Zanna Dec 24 '16 at 16:49
  • 1
    @Zanna: I would be ok with that solution. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 24 '16 at 16:49
14

I think it's good that the system does this, and I don't think it should be more difficult for questions to be deleted automatically.

I think that what happened in Franck Dernoncourt's case is terrible and I really hope that it gets sorted out quickly. But I think that case is exceptional, and should not be considered a flaw in the system, but rather a case of one person behaving maliciously, which is something that hopefully moderators can deal with.

Since traffic is rather high on Ask Ubuntu, most questions don't get enough attention. Reasonable questions do get missed because they require knowledge that relatively few members of the community have. In general, maybe we should be a little bit more generous with votes on questions; as You can vote - do it! suggests, I think we (the whole community) should be voting more - if a question appears to have value, then please consider upvoting it, to help attract some attention to it.

On the other hand, if a question is of poor quality, sometimes it will get closed and sometimes it will just get ignored. Requiring -3 to delete a question would make it very unlikely that poor questions would ever get deleted, because very few attract so much negative attention (I do some cleanup, and I find a lot of bad, unanswerable questions with no votes either way - further to what I said about upvoting in the previous paragraph, please consider downvoting questions if warranted too!) and poor quality unanswered questions are just a dead end in search, bringing down the overall usefulness of the site.

In those cases where a question gets a downvote that causes it to be deleted, the asker is free to ask the question again if they are still having the same problem. New questions have a much better chance of being answered than old ones. Franck Dernoncourt pointed out in his answer that users are not notified when their questions are deleted. I think it would be better if users were notified in that case, so that they could take action.

  • 4
    I think you hit the nail on the head. I've had many users tell me they have "high standards" or "save their votes for really great stuff". These are almost always high rep users, many of whom enjoy attempting to rep cap or the like. The very mechanism that keeps them motivated they refuse to use for others. All this to say voting is the lifeblood of the site; the entire mechanism literally falls apart when you don't vote. So VOTE! I can't tell you how many times I've seen a question with a 5 score accepted answer but no votes itself. If it's good enough to answer, it's good enough to upvote! – Seth Dec 25 '16 at 0:59
  • 1
    There's even a gold badge for voting, especially on questions! – Seth Dec 25 '16 at 1:03
  • 4
    @Seth on the other hand, I don't hand out downvotes as much as I should, because I know some random idiot will come along and give a sympathy +1, not only negating my downvote, but also granting rep. In may case the only time I now give 0-score post a downvote is when flagging it as spam automatically nets it one. From my PoV, there are more idiots handing out sympathy +1s than I care to work against with downvotes. – muru Dec 25 '16 at 3:59
  • 1
  • 2
    @muru yes, that is an entirely different problem. Not sure there is anything that can be done about it though. – Seth Dec 26 '16 at 22:55
  • @Seth :D thanks a lot for taking the time to comment and making the argument so well - I agree entirely. (Re the frustrating sympathy upvote issue, I'm sure there is already at least one meta post urging people not to do it sigh) – Zanna Dec 26 '16 at 23:30
  • 1
    +1 for this "If But I think that case is exceptional, and should not be considered a flaw in the system, but rather a case of one person behaving maliciously". And a question can be always be asked – Anwar Dec 31 '16 at 13:17
  • @muru If three people downvote quickly, the sympathy voters are unlikely to see the question in the first place. – Raphael Jan 3 '17 at 8:19
  • @Raphael :) how can we build downvoter solidarity? – Zanna Jan 3 '17 at 8:22
  • @Zanna Seems to me there are enough people who care around here... – Raphael Jan 3 '17 at 8:30
  • 1
    @Raphael just from the main page - the questions page still shows them. – muru Jan 3 '17 at 8:37
3

Is it just me, or is this far to heavy handed?

I agree it is too heavy handed. I agree that amending the threshold to -3 would be better.

Some considerations:

  • downvoters use it to delete questions on purpose
  • users are not notified when a question is deleted
  • questions older that 60 days that get deleted cannot even be retrieved by the user unless they have over 10k reputation points or have saved the links to the deleted questions (Wayback Machine may also help, but still, really not very convenient).
  • it's easy to get one random downvote: three downvotes are much more significant. Allowing one downvote to remove a question is pretty much the same as allowing one close vote to close the question: only mods or 1k-tag user may close a question with one close vote.
2

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?".

If it's a really bad question it would be close voted.

If it's a good question it will be voted up.

If it's a question with hardly any views, one down vote, no answers and it gets deleted, does anyone really care? Perhaps the criteria can be amended to include the number of views? ie < 10.

Optionally questions that currently get auto-deleted could instead go into review queue and people could vote to leave open or delete.


Edit

A good point is made below that users are not informed their question is about to be deleted due to down vote. This brings up a point of etiquette. When downvoting a question with the intention that it will be eventually deleted post a comment under it advising OP as such.

The OP will read the comment (unless he's abandoned the site) and ping the down-voter to retract the vote based on reason "______" (fill in the blanks).

  • 1
    Many decent questions do not get any upvote. There are over 80k questions on askubuntu with a score of 0. That's over 30% of all questions. And many questions with a score of 0 get deleted after one year: if we take it them into account, the majority of questions have a score of 0. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 24 '16 at 23:49
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    @FranckDernoncourt That is more of a problem with lack of voting than it is with the system, although I do agree the current system is less than ideal. Seriously, people should vote more. – Seth Dec 25 '16 at 1:04
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    @Seth I agree, the "If it's a good question it will be voted up." claim is incorrect. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 25 '16 at 1:18
  • Hmm I would not advise adding such comments... – Zanna Jul 24 '17 at 18:04

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