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I had a couple of mod requests to delete closed questions because they used an unwanted tag "psychology".

I felt that it was better just to remove the tag than to delete the question on the basis that closed questions provide a useful history and precedent of what are not acceptable questions.

Thus, my basic questions is:

  • When should we delete a closed question?

The main type of question I would delete are spam questions, but not much else.

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I flagged those because closed, low score unasnwered posts are deleted eventually anyway, it just so happens we're in a bit of extra pain in keeping them around. If I had I downvoted they would have been auto-deleted soon, but as is it would take them a year to disappear if they didn't have more than 2 comments, but as is they'll stay around forever. This is why it's fairly common for these to be deleted by mods as part of clean-up efforts. I've done it myself plenty.

Since they don't have answers and nothing helpful is in the comments (beyond discussion of why they're closed), they're good deletion candidates but they wouldn't normally require manual deletion. The problem is we want to be rid of the general Psychology tag, and digging through those brought up those closed posts.

Basically, when the post is providing 0 value to the community and won't ever (these have no answers and it's way past reasonable time to reopen them), deleting them isn't a big deal. It's a judgement call, but it all comes down to the mantra of Make the Internet a Better Place. If our site is slightly tidier by deleting some closed, 0 score questions that are providing no value, so be it. I've made this call on a few similar posts on UX as a mod.

And, as said, I could have basically "deleted" those posts by downvoting them. I just didn't think it was necessary to penalize the post owners.

  • Thanks for the background information on question deletion. I didn't know about those time-frames for deletion. I've deleted the questions. – Jeromy Anglim Apr 30 '12 at 1:01
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    @JeromyAnglim basically the system does it's best to assume content is valuable (has comments, votes, answers, eyeballs looking at it) because it can't know it's useless. If you KNOW it's useless it's not a big deal to get rid of it, though there's varied opinions on whether mods should delete at all. I'd have cast a delete vote myself, but being the only "10k" user aside from you, it wouldn't go very far :) – Ben Brocka Apr 30 '12 at 1:10

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