It has long been the case that negatively-scored closed questions with no answers get auto-deleted after a month. (That's what "deleted by Community" usually means.) As part of recent changes to deletion, auto-deletion is now more likely. This is not a bad thing, but we've gotten occasional flags to undelete these, so I wanted to get a sense of how the community feels.

As described in this post, questions will be auto-deleted after seven days if all of the following are true:

  • Closed more than 7 days ago
  • Not closed as a duplicate
  • Score <= 0
  • Not locked
  • No answers with a score > 0
  • No accepted answer
  • No pending reopen votes
  • No edits to the body or title of the question in the past 7 days

What should we do with auto-deleted questions that somebody wants to keep? Is a single request (for example, via a flag) enough to undelete? If it should be at moderator discretion, what guidelines should moderators follow? Or should we wait for three 10K users to cast undelete votes?


If the question has been voted down into negative numbers, and no one has answered anything (and the other criteria mentioned apply), it is an indication that the question needs improvement. [Even if it was a difficult question that had no answer, it would still be voted up if it was a decent question.]

The onus is on the questioner to improve the question. The community has let him know they feel his question is not worthy in its present state. If seven days have passed without the questioner doing anything to improve the question, it shows they don't care enough about it.

If they just want to reopen it without improving the question, reject the request. If they've improved the question sufficiently, accept it.

  • 2
    Is it possible for the author of a deleted question to edit it? If so, I think this is a good standard. If not, I'd suggest requiring at least an indication, along with the request to reopen, of what the requestor plans to do to the question to make it worth re-opening. If the mods find this expression of intent at least minimally credible, they should go ahead and undelete. – Isaac Moses Apr 29 '13 at 16:41
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    Thanks. What about third-party requests for undeletion? Same burden -- show how it will be improved (or propose an edit if sufficiently privileged)? – Monica Cellio Apr 29 '13 at 16:45
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    IsaacMoses, Yes, it's possible. I just tried that with a test question on Meta, at @msh210's suggestion. – Isaac Moses Apr 29 '13 at 17:11
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    @MonicaCellio, sounds good to me. – Isaac Moses Apr 29 '13 at 17:11

I say you should let it lie unless a user has specifically flagged for revival.

  • Thanks. If a single user does so flag, is that enough to undelete in your opinion and experience? – Monica Cellio Apr 29 '13 at 14:58
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    @MonicaCellio I dunno about my experience, but in my opinion it's worth giving them a second shot. Either way, it's rarely going to be so widespread a problem that mods will be bogged down by it. – Aarthi Apr 29 '13 at 15:01
  • @MonicaCellio Yes, I think a single undelete flag should be enough. We don't have anywhere near enough 10K users to expect more than that. – Ariel May 1 '13 at 5:48

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