On the occasion of this question, about losing rep over deletion of this one

Rubbish does not belong on the site. After a question has been marked as unclear, off-topic or too broad, one might consider to delete the question afterwards.

However, specifically if a question was marked as a dupe, we may very well assume that, even if it is a bad one, obviously either the title or the content is clear enough to understand that it is a duplicate of another existing question. Another question we bear on the site. Therefore, the question has some use as a sign post. If not, we should have marked it as unclear.

In such a case, imho, there are various reasons not to delete the question:

  1. As mentioned, the question or its title might be useful as a sign post to the canonical one.
  2. The community rules, but at the same time, the community should rule in a consistent way. If we first say the question is a dupe, we cannot say at the same time the question is unclear rubbish. In that case, we shouldn't have marked it as a dupe.
  3. Not everyone might agree, but; we should at least consider the fact that if a question was answered and not marked as off-topic, someone might lose rep for unjust reasons.

Alltogether, I think we should leave dupes alone, unless we have a very good reason not to.

  • 5
    I would take it even further: don't just show restraint, don't delete dupes at all. Not unless there's some special reason to do so. Just leave dupes alone.
    – terdon
    Mar 16, 2017 at 12:53
  • @terdon agreed. edited :) Mar 16, 2017 at 12:55
  • 5
    If the dupe target is closed as too broad/opinion-based, the original question is also too broad/opinion-based. I don't see how anyone losing rep over a question that could have been deleted as an opinion poll is any different from losing rep over a question closed as a dupe of an opinion poll. It is not unjust. Indeed, the main mistake seems to be mine. I shouldn't have gone for the dupe vote, thinking it might be of use to OP, I should have VTC'd POB/too-broad.
    – muru
    Mar 16, 2017 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


I asked a Meta Stack Exchange question about this recently.

I'm not eager to delete dupes at all. Dupes are awesome and deleting them indiscriminately or just for being dupes would be terribad. To quote myself:

I totally agree that it's good to have differently phrased versions of the same question around, even better if they have different details that help to show how broadly applicable the target is, or good answers that might, for example, be easier to follow than a highly detailed top answer to a canonical post.

But I do want to delete stuff that is bad

The post in question was undeleted, but the person who undeleted it said

That question is indeed rubbish

For me, that's the main issue. I don't want our awesome site to have any rubbish on it clogging up search results, whether it's duplicate rubbish or not. It might be argued that the ability to delete duplicate crap is the main reason to allow users with >10k to delete questions at all:

closed questions with no upvotes and no upvoted answers will be automatically deleted, unless they are closed as duplicates. This reflects the undisputed fact that duplicate questions can be extremely useful as signposts. I think this is right and good, but I also think that since the system does nothing to distinguish good dupes from bad dupes, it must be my responsibility as a user with >10k to try to clean up the mess, by voting to delete really bad dupes along with other stuff that deserves to go.

You say "unless we have a very good reason", and terdon says a "special reason" but we are talking about a post that could have easily been closed as too broad or primarily opinion based instead, and whose target is closed too.

Isn't being a poor quality duplicate of a bad question a good or special enough reason? The site has thousands and thousands of dupes. A tiny handful of them get deleted by voters. That suggests that we (the delete-voters) are being pretty selective.

this comment argued

Deleting makes it more likely that the same identical question will be asked again and we'll have to go through this all over again.

But, as I wrote in my MSE post I don't want anyone to land on low quality posts on our site, even on the way to a better question. I want the site to be awesome and free from crap, as far as I can make it so.

The argument that we should just leave the junk here to prevent people posting more junk just seems horrible to me, and negates the whole purpose of having delete votes. If some people want to have a site full of junk, then, I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

  • 2
    In a perfect world, we would have 100% quality on the site. However, We regularly see new users ask this type of questions. The deleted post is bad, but (mainly its title) is clear enough to guide at least some people to the "cannonical" one. That means less work for us to repeatedly close or delete similar stuff. Imho you will never ever make the site 100% crap free. The important thing is that we make sure good content is accessible in the best and quickest possible way. Leaving the deleted one as a signpost is not an obstacle in any way. On the contrary I would say. Mar 16, 2017 at 14:29
  • 3
    @JacobVlijm of course we will never make the site free from crap but I don't think that means we shouldn't bother to try. You say "we regularly see new users ask this type of question" - so having similar questions already is evidently not deterring them. Also, we have no problem getting rid of those new questions when they appear - questions like that are gone in a flash, they even get closed with hammers. Why should we give quarter to the old ones? You argued to keep dupes but you're arguing in favour of keeping all crap if you say let it be a deterrent.
    – Zanna Mod
    Mar 16, 2017 at 14:35
  • Indeed we should agree to disagree, but I am pretty sure "but (mainly its title) is clear enough to guide at least some people to the cannonical one" is true. If it prevents a few new users from reposting, "questions like that are gone in a flash" is not true. Five votes to close, three to delete is a considerable amount of reviewer's work. What is exactly the harm? Mar 16, 2017 at 14:43
  • 2
    @JacobVlijm nobody needs to vote to delete them if they are closed with no answers or downvoted (unless they are dupes) and "leave crap as a deterrent because we are too lazy to review" (not you for sure, but where are all the reviewers? I see the same people in the CV queue every day) is also not an argument I like. However, questions like that usually get closed before they make it to the queues. The harm of having junk on the site is exactly that: bad posts, bad search results, brings down the quality and usefulness of the site, that's all.
    – Zanna Mod
    Mar 16, 2017 at 14:48
  • Keep in mind that our subject does have answers, although not much of quality. Mar 16, 2017 at 14:56
  • 2
    I would tend to agree that signposts that say "Crap this way" -> are not something we need. For the most part however, I don't think that's what we have. At any rate, what concerns me most is 41k+ unanswered questions
    – Elder Geek
    Mar 20, 2017 at 18:33
  • @ElderGeek agree on all counts.
    – Zanna Mod
    Mar 20, 2017 at 19:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .