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I recently read the post describing the criteria used to purge the site of the least worthy of the identify-X questions. The criteria used was:

  • They have a score of +5 or more.
  • They have at least one answer with a score of +3 or more.

That criteria seems excessive. Why didn't we preserve all questions with a positive score and an accepted answer? That would have preserved good questions with known answers. Furthermore the criteria didn't take into account questions that were favorited. If a question is favorited it can be assumed people want to return to that question. Shouldn't that carry some weight?

As a decidedly biased example see my identify question (Screenshot below for low rep users). It has a positive score, an accepted answer, and 2 people have favorited the question (I didn't favorite it). I admit I'm biased but why shouldn't this question/answer be saved?

My id question

In another meta question there was an off-hand remark that said this is similar to the criteria used on Anime & Manga but didn't source that comment or give any reason why we should use their criteria (emphasis theirs).

Therefore, we need some fair criteria that remove the majority of questions that are of no future use to anyone and keep the ones that the community fit into shape and answered satisfactorily. Therefore, we will delete all questions which don't have a score of more than 4 and an answer with a score more than 2. These criteria are similar to the ones employed by Anime & Manga when they went through their process of deprecating ID questions and would keep about 1,000 of them in existence.


I think it is important to note that I'm not campaigning for my question in particular. I don't have the rep to view deleted questions beyond my own so the only example I could provide was my question. I'm trying to understand why this criteria was chosen instead of a more inclusive criteria.

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    As a side note: "If a question is favorited it can be assumed people want to return to that question." - Including for casting delete-votes? In geneal, I'd beware of ascribing any kind of significance to favouriting, let alone a positive interest. All it means is that people keep those questions under surveillance for whatever reason. – Napoleon Wilson Feb 15 '18 at 19:55
  • Why didn't you offer any alternatives to those reasons or contest them in any way? Like, a single little complaint, a one-line comment so to say.? – Napoleon Wilson Feb 15 '18 at 20:00
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    @NapoleonWilson I'm not constantly monitoring meta. Like I said I just noticed the deletion meta post. Also this post is an attempt to discuss the criteria. I included my suggested criteria in this post as well, so I have offered alternatives, and contested your criteria. – Erik Feb 15 '18 at 20:04
  • Also, you were active on meta a while ago, when that post was already up. I give you that you're not active there every day and you don't have to. But when actively discussing that very same topic, "I didn't know" stops flying at some point. We can't just constantly pester everyone in comments to make sure they finally start participating in an issue that by that time was clearly hot and in the doing phase, or do everything in rehearsal just because noone actually complains until stuff gets done. – Napoleon Wilson Feb 15 '18 at 20:16
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    @NapoleonWilson yes another meta post had my attention. I naively assumed that a meta post titled "closure" after the questions had been ruled off topic was primarily about closure. Not about deleting existing questions. Naturally if the questions are off topic then they should be closed so I didn't dig into that post at the time. I noticed the part I quoted when I researched for this meta question. I get that you're frustrated with my timing. I also know that decisions are reversible so even if this discussion is too little too late for you it isn't too late to make it right. – Erik Feb 15 '18 at 20:27
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    I certainly wished question with an accepted answered had been kept! Because if the argument was that the questions were to vague for anybody to identify it (which many admittedly were), the fact that someone actually had found what the asker had requested and accepted it, ought to have been enough to keep it. – Baard Kopperud Feb 25 '18 at 4:28
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Criteria needed to be chosen - from keeping nothing to keeping everything.

Starting from the Anime and Manga criteria (question score of 4 or more, answer of 3 or more) the moderators discussed the criteria we would propose.

The arguments for tighter or looser criteria are well documented in the linked 'Cleanup' post. I don't need to repeat them here. We started from the Anime and Manga criteria, as they had been through this process before us and wanted to take advantage of their experience.

@NapoleonWilson put that proposal into a meta question which received no answer with a counter proposal and +9/-5 votes. With no counter proposal, this was the scheme that was enacted.

You asked why didn't we choose some other criteria. There are good arguments one way or another to keep more or keep fewer of these (now off-topic) questions. In good faith we chose a criteria, as part of a well advertised process, and received no constructive counter proposal.

You can reference the Anime and Manga chain of events working backwards from this post.

  • I get that a decision had to be made about whether to delete some posts or keep everything. I also get that regardless of the decision made someone invariably would feel like it wasn't the right choice. I also feel like asking for a debate about deletion criteria in a meta post that was ostensibly about closing questions that were deemed off topic wasn't the right decision. If feedback was truly desired about deletion criteria then the focus should have been on deletion criteria including the all important title. – Erik Feb 15 '18 at 20:58
  • The subtext that I'm getting from your post is a compassionate version of, "Erik this is a closed issue that has already been decided, so deal with it." Is that accurate? From the moderation team's point of view is there no space to adjust the criteria? Also for the record I do believe that you and the moderation team as a whole do try to act in good faith for what you believe is best for the site. – Erik Feb 15 '18 at 21:03
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    Never say never ..... but its pretty much closed if I am completely honest. We'd have to go back to the staff of SE and say that the criteria have changed, and get them to resurrect the questions and I think they would try to talk us out of it unless we had an open rebellion on our hands. Some actions are probably too late, like the migration of ~50 questions to SciFi. I'm honestly sorry if you feel you didn't get enough of a say in the process. – iandotkelly Feb 15 '18 at 21:10
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    That's disappointing but I appreciate your honesty. Odds of an open rebellion are small considering we couldn't gather enough fervor to keep the questions on topic in the first place. I wish it were handled differently. It is remarkable to me that they decided to be more gracious on Anime & Manga where not even one active user was fully in support of the questions. I wish we were in a different place but I understand how we arrived. It's hard to protect the interests of what you dislike. – Erik Feb 15 '18 at 21:27

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