Closed questions, except for duplicates, are regularly deleted to clean up the site. I've done that often enough myself on the sites where I'm a moderator. But except for some extreme cases, I always try to leave the questions visible for long enough to give the community the opportunity to overturn the decision to close. My rough guideline is at least 12-24 hours for questions that I personally think have no chance of being reopened again. I tend to wait much longer for questions that have reopen votes, a reopening discussion in the comments or are otherwise in a rather grey area.

The question that sparked this post is the following (10k-only):

It's a question type that has been discussed extensively in recent times: identification questions that are not identify-this-game questions. One of the meta posts about that was also linked in a comment on that question. I don't want to argue here whether that question is on-topic or off-topic, but this type of question is at least somewhat controversial.

This question was deleted by one user and a moderator only 14 minutes after it was closed. The question has one reopen vote, though that could have been from the owner of the question.

I can't say whether questions are regularly deleted that quickly on this site as the tools for non-mods are just very limited for deleted questions. But that is somewhat the point of my post, deleting questions very quickly removes them from the view of the community, making a review of the closure nearly impossible.

I'm not saying that no questions should ever be deleted immediately, but I'd reserve that treatment for questions that are so blatantly off-topic that they have absolutely no chance of ever being reopened.


1 Answer 1


Fair enough, I undeleted it.

I generally don't delete so fast (honestly I don't remember if I saw the closure time in this one), but I don't like to see off-topic questions in the front page, I hate broken windows.

I will delete it again if it remains closed. I like your estimate of 12-24 hours.

I will delete it again if it remains closed after 48 hours or so.

  • 6
    How are "off topic" questions broken windows? How should users understand the boundaries of what off topic questions are without questions clearly marked as "closed" showing examples? Perhaps they should dig through a bunch of meta questions and piece together what policy is? I think the only questions that should be deleted so quickly are blatant spam posts.
    – Resorath
    Jul 27, 2012 at 16:41
  • 8
    @Resorath New users aren't going to see that the questions are off-topic. They're only going to see that the question got answered anyways. That will encourage them to post their own.
    – Frank
    Jul 27, 2012 at 17:19

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