The Help Center says:
Questions that are extremely off topic, or of very low quality, may be removed at the discretion of the community and moderators.
This kind of question deletion is carried out quite often on other sites: as an extreme example, if you try to post something off-topic on Meta Stack Exchange, your question will be gone in a few minutes. In contrast, this has only ever really happened a handful of times on Chemistry.* In general, the moderators have shied away from doing this.
I want to consult your opinion on us using these deletion powers more widely. The main reason why I want to do this is that there are a few classes of unsalvageable questions which tend to linger around the front page for a long time. In an ideal world, these would be downvoted to −4, thus hiding them from the front page (note that closing doesn't hide questions). In reality, questions rarely get downvoted that much, which leaves a lot of stuff sitting around at −1 to −3 that people don't really want to see. I really suspect that this fosters some amount of negativity on the site.
At the same time, I realise that this kind of power can be abused. It is also impossible for the community to provide any kind of oversight. So, I wanted to also draw up guidelines which would clearly delineate what kinds of questions can be instantly deleted. I am happy to flesh these out more fully if the community is largely in agreement, but roughly speaking, I propose that:
- The classes of questions which can be instantly deleted are:
- Homework copy-pastes (example). That is, literally only the question. If there is even a shadow of "effort", then this should not be instantly deleted.
- Completely off-topic questions (example). This does not include biology or physics questions.
- Clearly opinion-based questions (example).
- Clear-cut personal medical questions (example). This does not include general "safety" questions.
- Every instant deletion must be accompanied by a comment explaining what went wrong and why the question is being deleted. This comment can be taken from a set of predefined templates, in order to minimise cognitive effort.
Finally, I also note that users with 10,000 reputation and above can also cast delete votes under certain circumstances. I therefore think it logical that these users should be "permitted" to cast delete votes on these classes of questions (if such permission was needed).
Please let us know what you think about this—it is something I have been thinking about for a long time and with our new additions to the moderator team I think we may be able to carry this out better than we could before.
* Note that Spring Cleaning is a separate matter entirely, which is focused on old questions: more like a human Roomba than anything. In this post I am referring to new questions.