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When reviewing my profile, I noticed I have around 30 seemingly on-topic questions with a neutral score that had been deleted by the Community user. Reviewing the deleted questions FAQ, I realized these questions had been deleted because they were 365 days old with 0 votes, 0 answers, and low traffic.

Looking at my own posts, many of these deleted questions seem to be about older or more obscure games. (Ex: Lifeline 2, Alien Crush Returns, Vignettes, NBA Street). I added undelete votes to a few of these questions in hopes of getting them reviewed, but it seems nobody else has voted on them.

As someone who enjoys seeking out overlooked questions, I wonder how many perfectly valid questions have been marked "abandoned" and deleted. One of my favorite aspects of this site is how questions can be asked about any game, no matter how obscure, and potentially get answered years later.

As traffic on Arqade declines, is the automatic deletion of 0 score, 0 answer questions a good thing for the site?

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    Mods can search for deleted questions, so I thought I'd shed some light. Doing a search of deleted:yes score:0 is:q answers:0 closed:no locked:no returns just over 5000 questions, which, when taken over the 11 or so years the site has been around, is not a huge amount. Dropping score to -1 ups it to ~8000 posts. Note this is a "back of the envelope" calculation and not entirely accurate, as it includes all deletes, including self-deleted, mod/10k deletes, spam/rude/abusive etc. There's no way to just search for "deleted by Community". The actual number will be lower than that.
    – Robotnik Mod
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 2:58
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    Relevant Meta Stack Exchange post: Decrease the required view count to prevent Roomba deletion when score = 0 on smaller sites Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 11:55
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    It was about time I too made use of some of those privileges (I very rarely look into the Tools section, even on the site I moderate). It seems all your posts are undeleted now.
    – Joachim
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 8:57
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    I wasn't aware of this, I have a couple of automatically deleted questions and I really didn't know. One has 130+ views which is not a low number for Arqade.
    – pinckerman
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 11:51
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    @pinckerman yes it's ridiculous. Feature request: Notify the OP when a question is about to be removed by Roomba. I have had over 200 questions removed by Roomba across all SE sites (maybe even over 300 by now), and typically they have a score of 0 and are not closed. Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 9:12
  • A single vote is all you need to stop a question from getting Roomba'd.
    – Mast
    Commented Dec 2, 2023 at 8:37
  • @Robotnik Adding to your comment, any user can find questions potentially in danger of auto-deletion with score:0 is:q answers:0 closed:no locked:no created:1y... You can optionally remove the created:1y.. if you only want questions older than a year that may not have been deleted due to view count or comments.
    – Stevoisiak
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 7:06

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It probably isn't the most ideal system, but its been that way for a long time, and I don't think we can change that for our site alone.

While there is a community process in place to undelete posts, as you alluded to, with less traffic to the site and also because you need 20,000 reputation to participate in undeleting posts, you seldom will get enough undelete votes - if ever (there are only 70 users on all of Arqade with that much reputation)...

I'll also say its made more difficult by the fact that there isn't an "undelete review queue", its all through the "moderator tools" only (the tools you unlock at 10,000 reputation), which if I am honest, even I barely look at, and I suspect the same from the other active users above 20,000 reputation (there aren't many really now-a-days).

What else can you do?

If you look at the Deleted Question FAQ that you linked to, there is a Meta SE post that goes into discussion of it, and the second most voted answer simply states the obvious - re-ask! In probably most cases on this site, this is probably the best course of action. The other and accepted answer to that post says:

If your question was deleted as abandoned, then not only was it unanswered but it also wasn't upvoted. Maybe that's because it's a super-obscure topic and few people even read it -- or maybe it means there is room for improvement in the question. The best course of action, then, is to edit to improve it and then request undeletion from users with the undelete privilege. On the sites I frequent, this is usually done via a request on meta.

At least in the examples you linked to, I don't think an edit is needed in anyway. So that leads to the next point - if you really feel it should be undeleted, you can request so via a Meta post as well (using the tag). I see nothing wrong with that. But keep in mind, it's entirely possible it can be automatically deleted once again (like a question I asked once was).

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    I have said it in the past - Delete/Undelete should be review tasks the same as Close/Reopen.
    – Robotnik Mod
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 3:01
  • @Robotnik I think it would definitely make a difference if they were
    – Timmy Jim Mod
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 3:01
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    The worst part is the chicken and egg problem. If you don't know what's deleted, how can you argue for it's reinstatement? 10k'ers should have access to the deleted search option, IMO. Or if it's an expensive operation, make it 20k'ers. Currently, if you have 10k you can view deleted posts, but only if you a) Visit the 10k tools page for recent deletes, b) Have the exact link to the post in question, or c) If the post is one of your own you can get to it from your profile.
    – Robotnik Mod
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 3:09
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    @Robotnik If the issue is privacy, it may be worth distinguishing posts a user deleted themselves vs a post deleted via vote or by community user.
    – Stevoisiak
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 4:24
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No.

The automatic deletion of "abandoned" questions is generally not a good thing for Arqade. I think the current criteria for Community bot (Roomba) deletion, especially the view count criterion, are too strict and should be adjusted or removed entirely for smaller sites like Arqade.

There is a relevant, highly upvoted feature request on Meta Stack Exchange that proposes to decrease the required view count to prevent Roomba deletion when score = 0 on smaller sites. This request argues that the current threshold of “view count <= the age of the question in days times 1.5” is based on Stack Overflow’s traffic and voting patterns, which are not representative of smaller sites like Arqade.

I think this is a reasonable suggestion, as it would allow more questions about older or obscure games to stay on the site and potentially get answers in the future. Arqade is a site that welcomes questions about any game, no matter how niche or obscure, and I think that is one of its strengths. Deleting questions that have not received the required amount of views or answers in a year seems counterproductive and discouraging for both askers and answerers.

The view count threshold for auto-deletion should be lowered or removed.

I have also voted to undelete the questions you linked, but I’m afraid they will be deleted again by the community bot unless they get some upvotes or answers. I hope we can save these questions from being deleted.

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    Unfortunately, seeing that that Meta SE post is a few years old now, and given recent events, I don't think any change will be coming any time soon for it.
    – Timmy Jim Mod
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 14:23

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