I asked a recent question on this meta about the deletion of a recent thread, and I think the responses there are useful but not quite as conclusive as I'd like, to a large extent because (as I realize now) the question wasn't worded anywhere near as conclusively as it should have. Still, it was very useful in putting the core terms of the debate on the table, but I'd like something more general and stable.
In that regard, Kyle's answer there is the perfect kicking off point - he makes some valid points, but I think it is extremely important that we have a clear community consensus around what does and does not fly for the community moderation on this site.
Thus my core question here is:
Typically, if a question is
- sufficiently downvoted (e.g., $\leq-3$)
- closed for at least 1 week (so in actual closed state, not 'on hold')
- unedited since closure
does that form sufficient grounds for deletion? if so, what is the basis and rationale for this?
I would ideally like to see the two alternative views on this issue (i.e. yes, they should, and no, they shouldn't) provide answers here, so that the voting on those can give us a better idea of how the broader site community feels about this.
The reason I think this is extremely important is that question deletion is one of the places where community moderation is lacking the most in terms of mechanisms for checks and balances:
- To the bulk of the moderation-active population on this site, for the foreseeable future, if a question is deleted, it drops right out of the map, and its deletion is basically undetectable.
- The analytics on these statistics are absolutely terrible. Even if one does have the reputation to access the stats (i.e. the 10k Tools page), they are very hard to read and extremely hard to use effectively as a tool to audit what questions are and are not getting deleted (example).
I don't think this means that nothing should be deleted, but I do think it means that we need an affirmative site consensus that some questions should be deleted, with clear boundaries on what that class of questions is.
In particular, it also means that statements like
I reckon my standards are higher than average
should be treated with extreme care in this context. Everybody is entitled to their own standards, and for e.g. question closure, that is perfectly fine: if people disagree, they can detect it and vote to counteract it. Since here the latter mechanism is broken, I think we need a tighter ship in terms of standards. In that regard, I think the criteria set out by Kyle and quoted above are a great description of the class of questions involved, but I think we still need a wider agreement that they are actionable.
For full clarity:
This is a discussion about deletion, not closure. The on-topic-ness of the question involved needs to have already been decided, in the negative, for the considerations in this thread to begin to be applicable.
In particular, if your answer concludes with "such answers should be closed" or "such answers should not be closed", you're not answering the question I'm posing, by a country mile.
If your answer includes "such answers should/shouldn't be deleted", then you're in the right track.
As for my personal take - I don't have strong feelings either way. But deletion is a very delicate issue (particularly for some unrelated classes of questions) and I care about having strong community processes where it's on the line.