@IvoFlipse was looking for a query to find old unanswered inactive questions with low views/votes. Because those kind of questions clutter the site and keep the unanswered question ratio high, it is a good idea to keep the site clean from questions like these.

It's very unlikely that someone that asked a question (about a problem) that has been inactive and not popular for more than a year, will still be very active and have the same problem now.

So, we worked on a query to find such questions. As flagging doesn't allow mass deletion, we opened this meta question where we can list such questions. So, we invite you to flag and list those questions that should be deleted, as per moderator approval.

There is also a chat room now for discussing the removal of low-quality old questions and promoting high-quality but unanswered old questions.

  • 5
    This is amazing... Great job @IvoFlipse @studiohack and @TomWij Jan 25, 2011 at 2:41
  • @KronoS: if you look at the revisions, you can see how many @IvoFlipse has deleted already!
    – studiohack
    Jan 25, 2011 at 2:42
  • 6
    This is quite possibly one of the most productive things ever done on Super User... Jan 25, 2011 at 2:43
  • 2
    I've made my own version of the query, for a different perspective on finding the questions. It only returns questions here the owner hasn't been on the site in the last 6 months, otherwise is broadly similar (but sorted differently, etc). Can be found here: data.stackexchange.com/superuser/s/842 it's saved so if it needs modifying let me know and I can tweak it.
    – DMA57361
    Jan 25, 2011 at 10:05
  • 4
    @Ivo and/or @Tom - posting this query on MSO for all sites to use would be great.
    – ChrisF
    Jan 25, 2011 at 11:01
  • @ChrisF: Done. :-) Jan 26, 2011 at 10:56
  • Awesome work chaps.
    – boehj
    May 21, 2011 at 0:48

3 Answers 3


Can anyone give me a good reason why to keep closed questions around after a certain grace period for appealing the closing?

Every question that's off-topic, not a real question or argumentative/subjective becomes a dead end.

Keeping them around to serve as an example for new users apparently doesn't work, because guess what? If new users haven't read the FAQ, they surely don't understand why the question was closed in the first place.

Also, not having any closed questions around serves as an example of the quality we strive for and the zero-tolerance for crap.

As a reference I like to point to Elitist Jerks who dump every post that's deemed 'not worthy' into the Banhammer

Those who A.) can't contribute; or B.) have broken shift keys; or C.) think atleast, ofcourse, noone, or lol are actual words, will eventually find themselves in here.

So I propose that we clean up Super User a bit!

  • 2
    After a certain grace period, I certainly agree. My view on it is that those clutter search engines and new users might just continue asking anyway because the very old duplicate doesn't answer his question. Or, they might just not care reading the question because it was closed. This indeed is a good way to show "that we don't want those questions here, not even closed". So, I don't think this will have any effect towards the current situation. But, to be sure, let's indeed wait for someone to come out with a reason... :-) Jan 27, 2011 at 20:01

Please note that the Community user now automatically deletes all questions meeting the following criteria network wide:

Enable automatic deletion of old, unanswered zero-score questions after a year?

  • less than (question age in days * 1.5) views
  • 0 score or lower (or a score of 1 with a deleted owner)
  • no answers
  • 1 comment or less
  • asked more than 365 days ago

This is in addition to deleting unanswered, negatively voted questions with zero answers after 30 days, which has been in place for a while.

Since the Community user is considered a moderator, it isn't possible for post authors to undelete posts that have been autodeleted in this manner, so they'll have to flag.

  • What about, for example, this - it has a couple of comments but, since the author's update, it is obviously a non-question and will never be answered. yet it has 2 comments so will never get auto-deleted May 15, 2011 at 9:14
  • 2
    @red flag such things for moderator attention. Not everything can be handled algorithmically. May 15, 2011 at 20:03

I don't understand this obsession with "cleaning" the site. The internet is not running out of ink!

Making good questions/answers more visible is a good idea, but removing stuff is never useful, and it's actually harmful: you never know when someone is going to stumble on the same problem in a few years and Google it.

I hope the next SU elections will be the occasion to get rid of the overzealous mods.

  • 3
    It's considered better that people with the same problem open their own question rather than trying to revive a very old question that is not theirs and failing when doing so. Please note that those inactive question did not have any solutions and thus really are to be considered "internet rot", in comparison to those forums that leave such "threads-you-found-on-Google-with-no-answers" we decided that we don't want such results to show up on Google as they are not helpful at all. Feel free to elaborate why we need to get rid of who, because I don't see any particular bad mod... May 24, 2011 at 12:01
  • Sounds like someone had a question closed (probably by the community) and is now angry at the mods... Getting rid of all the mods would just bring in more mods that do the same thing... read the faq it's just how the site is run... no one wants another yahoo answers. May 24, 2011 at 13:41
  • 1
    I know the FAQ and am familiar with the site. I'm not angry, but I disagree with the way the few addicts who mod the site do it. There is a reasonable middle ground between Yahoo answers and excessive moderation.
    – Peltier
    May 24, 2011 at 13:50
  • @Peltier - The middle ground is to try and answer the questions if you find them. Unfortunately a lot of them are very specific to particular device versions/problem spaces and are therefore unlikely to help future visitors at all - they would be better off asking their own question. That being said, If you stumble across a 3 year old problem that you know the answer to with no solution, be that solution!
    – Robotnik
    Jul 3, 2014 at 3:56
  • @Robotnik : sometimes even knowing that someone else has had your problem can be helpful.
    – Peltier
    Jul 3, 2014 at 7:40
  • @Peltier true, but showing up in search results and not having an answer damages the site's reputation. It makes SU look like those sites which have an answer for everything, usually followed by links labelled "direct download", "no SMS" and "full version" Jul 28, 2015 at 21:28

You must log in to answer this question.

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