While I am trying to rid us of the tag, I come across a couple of questions that have a negative score and thus could be classified as bad or a bad fit for our site. Usually such questions will be removed eventually as abandoned unless they attract an answer.

Sometimes these questions get a very good and conceptual answer, where the author of which goes the extra mile, making it useful for future visitors of our site. Obviously such questions need to be salvaged to the best of our ability, i.e. reformatting and retagging without changing the general meaning, so that they can easily be found with the common tools.

I am more concerned with questions, which attracted not too helpful answers. By that I mean that the highest voted answer has a score of one or less. This is unfortunately more often the case than the previously mentioned. Sometimes the questions are hard to understand and therefore an answer reads more like a comment to the original statement than actually answering a conceptual query. In some cases they turn into long comment threads, which is not helpful for anyone other than the author of the question. (And since this issue seems in most cases to be resolved, they are of no further use.)

Since there is sometimes some reputation at stake, I am hesitant to delete them although they will not be of much use. So far I tried to salvage them as best as I could, but I am fairly certain, that in the long run this might not be the best action. In 2016 about 10000 questions have been asked, a third of which have since been deleted, and about half of the remainder has been answered. You can imagine that questions like these turn into noise, showing up for similar queries because of certain keywords, but eventually are dead ends. We always try to maintain a high quality on our site and I think some of these questions actively harm this goal.

I don't think my concern warrants immediate action, but I'd like to hear opinions on the matter on how to deal with them in the long run. For now I'd like to ask you to keep an open eye and don't let this turn into a problem.

(While some of such questions are still open and could be salvaged with a conceptual answer, many are also closed and lie there like dead wood.)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A nice solution is upvoting me until I reach 10k so I can delete-vote all of them . . . Yes, I'm indicating they should be deleted. If the question isn't worth it and was gonna be deleted by Community and the answer(s) is/are the only thing(s) stopping it, and if the answers aren't especially good, deleting the question shouldn't be a problem. I'm guessing this would help the unanswered ratio as well. The only potential problem is the edge cases, and they can be discussed on meta if needed to. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ What I am personally concerned about is just deleting questions based on our own judgment. I would love to delete questions that I think are lousy, but I am scared that doing that without some kind of independent oversight can lead to a slippery slope. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ Does this query capture the kind of questions you're looking at? $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ Query updated; new default query link. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 2:27
  • $\begingroup$ Too lazy to read through all of that, but is this status-completed now? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 5:20
  • $\begingroup$ @GaurangTandon That will never be completed and a discussion has obviously not developed here. However, we are using this approach to some extend in the spring-cleaning chat, but very consciously. Since there is nothing official to do here, this question will simply remain as is. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 5:24


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