Due frequent misunderstandings on when to do what and under which conditions, lets remember why we vote to delete stuff.


People have the privilege if deleting in order to be able to remove posts that need to be deleted. This is a quasi-moderation privilege so treat it with the same respect we do.

If we're talking about questions, the close system should be used first. This allows a poster to revise and reopen their question. And closing it without answers or positive score will see it automatically deleted. Duplicates feed into a SEO system which deleting can hurt.

If we're looking at answers, there's a bit more to do here in that it's far more common there's a "non-answer" posted in the answer section than a question asked that needs to be urgently deleted.

Save your votes for things that cause harm.
Leave the "does no good" for the system.

  • 1
    Obviously the stuff getting deleted is the one that are already closed. Is not answering my question, when should I delete stuff? When it does do harm? Who decides when it does harm if they shouldn't be asked here in first place?
    – Braiam
    Mar 16 '14 at 0:02
  • "And closing it without answers or positive score will see it automatically deleted." I'm not sure I follow. askubuntu.com/questions/400044/… was deleted automatically even though it had 3 answers. Do you mean "without upvoted answers" when you say "without answers"?
    – landroni
    Mar 21 '14 at 15:31

Since you are copying the meta SO thread here, we should also include the (very) important exception to the guidelines you cite. This is a screenshot, taken on March 16th, 2014 of the second highest voted answer from the same Q&A:

enter image description here

So, follow the rules above in general but avoid deleting questions closed as duplicates because they are useful "guideposts". The more duplicates there are, the wider the variety of possible queries that will lead a user to their answer.

  • Yeah, but a Q about "how to repair my system" linked to "how to report bugs" seems kinda pointless duplicated
    – Braiam
    Mar 16 '14 at 0:07
  • 1
    @Braiam those would be closed as too broad, not dupes. Or at least, they should be.
    – terdon
    Mar 16 '14 at 0:08
  • 1
    Aha! Got you ;). The key word here is "should" which they aren't. They can and are potentially harmful since it directs traffic to us that should get somewhere else..
    – Braiam
    Mar 16 '14 at 0:11
  • 2
    @Braiam since you've let this comment stay, no, if the're incorrectly closed flag for mod attention, they can close them correctly, again don't delete. If they're incorrectly tagged, fix the tagging, don't delete. There is never anything gained by deleting information. Only harmful/garbage should be deleted. Other things should just be closed. There are exception, but very few.
    – terdon
    Mar 16 '14 at 14:53
  • I'm not referring to "tags" here, but duplicates which unregistered users (and google) just get redirected to the duplicated.
    – Braiam
    Mar 16 '14 at 14:59
  • 2
    @Braiam I know, I referred to both. As you well know, my point is that deletion is a last resort. If something has been closed wrongly, fix that don't delete posts unnecessarily. Deletion is not a solution.
    – terdon
    Mar 16 '14 at 15:01

You delete a post when the content no longer adds anything to the site. Posts are closed for a variety of reasons, so let's look at each close reason and whether they should likely be deleted:

Exact Duplicate:

It depends; Look at the context of how they are asked.

You'll want to keep the post if the wording provides another way for a search query to find the content. It's a bit like a "see also …" entry in an index.

Delete it if the duplicate does not add terminology or alternate phrasing to find the question. It may not be worth cluttering up the system with this exact duplicate. There are several poorly phrased questions that will not direct traffic to us.

Off Topic:

Almost always delete it.

Off topic usually says "This shouldn't have been posted here in the first place." So, not about Ubuntu (read, Mint, kali, Debian, Fedora, etc.), solved bugs or bug reports, no reproducible stuff that nobody knows why or how was the issue solved, or EOL, just let it burn!

Too broad:

Delete it if it says "this is nothing but a 'broken window' and we should get rid of it." This includes list of question where the only information is about 2 lines of text per answer or wikipedia/internet dumps.


Always delete it.

Closing it before deletion provided ample time for the author (or community) to fix it up. If it wasn't re-opened by this time, it should probably go.

Primary opinion based:

See "Too broad".

This was adapted of Robert Cartaino's answer since some old terminology (not constructive, NARQ, Too localized) is no longer applicable. Also note, that an answer that is not an answer (if you strip the markup, doesn't answer the question) is not a party stopper to delete it.

  • 3
    With respect to Robert's answer, it was posted before a lot of the automated clean up tools were implemented. Most of what you're describing here is now needless busywork.
    – Oli Mod
    Mar 16 '14 at 0:06
  • @Oli then I would never use my delete votes?
    – Braiam
    Mar 16 '14 at 0:09
  • BTW, downvoter, this is a CW presicelly because you can improve it if you find something wrong...
    – Braiam
    Mar 16 '14 at 0:11
  • 2
    We get a ton of clear non-answers every day you could be voting on.
    – Oli Mod
    Mar 16 '14 at 0:11
  • 1
    @Oli and I do... but I see more important stuff that is not deleted by community (that gathered a single upvote or a crappy answer) which are the ones that I want to address
    – Braiam
    Mar 16 '14 at 0:13
  • @Oli on the other hand I am not talking about non-answer, but questions.
    – Braiam
    Mar 16 '14 at 0:26

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