I had written an answer pertaining to a question about a reader having read Richard Dawkin's book, The God Delusion. I find now that it has been quietly deleted. Why? Shouldn't the questions and their answers be retained for historical reasons?

  • 1
    It could be the question was closed for not meeting the site's policies. After a specific duration, the closed question will be deleted from the site. Hence, the answers will be deleted with it too.
    – Sohaeb
    Aug 9, 2014 at 16:19
  • That's very unfortunate, since even closed questions should be retained for historical reasons though they may be marked as such and may not appear in the main search results. Complete deletion is a bit drastic.
    – Najeeb
    Aug 9, 2014 at 16:23
  • Thank you @BleedingFingers. I think the question must have been closed (as it was) but for being too broad. But the individual Dawkin's arguments against religion can be posted in form of questions demanding counter arguments.
    – infatuated
    Aug 11, 2014 at 3:56

2 Answers 2


I doubt the process was silent. If the question was previously closed, that was the feedback process. It sounds from your post like this was an old closed question. The close reason and any comments that went along with it are the feedback process. Old close questons are not nececarrily kept around. If they are not fixed to be in line with site guidelines and openable they are eventually removed. Downvotes ones can be automatically removed by te garbage collection routines. Upvoted ones can be removed by a moderator ifit is apparent that they are not being fixed.

The only exception is duplicates. These are generally kept around as they serve as pointers to open questions. All other closures should be considered tracked for eventual deletion. The feedback process has already happened, no additional feedback should be expected.

  • Some questions although off-topic and not showing sign of being brought in line, have pretty detailed, effort driven and positively voted answers. I think they can be kept around just as information/knowledge and increasing internet's s/n ratio not necessarily encouraging users that such questions are welcome, given the closed banner. Aug 10, 2014 at 19:42
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    @BleedingFingers That does happen sometimes but it is not the normal pattern for SE, nor is it something you want to optimize for or let people become acoustomed to. Making that a pattern will work against the site in the long run.
    – Caleb
    Aug 10, 2014 at 21:11
  • @Caleb this question was deleted by the moderator not garbage collector.
    – muslim1
    Aug 13, 2014 at 16:56

I would answer this as well as I find it can be very frustrating when someone puts effort in question/answers and then they get deleted and no one answers why. Here is the original question.

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It had one up vote(net), one close vote and was closed by moderator for the following reasons

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Perhaps it could have stayed or may be better deleted. Taking help from @Caleb answer as he states, if answer has no room of improvement or any chance of being reopened, they are deleted. This question perhaps had some chance of improving/re-opening but then no effort was made to clarify what the book actually said.

Perhaps it could have stayed closed (and not deleted) for historic reasons. It is an interesting question anyways.

  • What does "maybe later deleted" mean? The date on the post and closure is a year and a half ago. Normally I would suggest about 90 days and if no improvement is made, it should be deleted. Also "interestingness" is not really a factor here. Suitability for the SE format is, and that question is neither suitable in its current form nor likely to be easily fixable. It's a discussion question and not even directed at Islam. The user has also deleted the account so is unlikely to formulate a replacement question. Deletion was totally the right call here.
    – Caleb
    Aug 14, 2014 at 15:08
  • @Caleb I don't see where I said maybe later deleted. I have said may be better deleted. Not sure if you read it wrong? I have not been strongly judgmental here. I have proposed, it could have stayed for historic reason just because it is an interesting question. On Stackoverflow there are tons of questions that are closed as off topic but they generate a lot of hits and have stayed on the site. In general if it is really not against the site and useful in some sense, it could stay. Just my opinion.
    – muslim1
    Aug 14, 2014 at 20:18
  • In any case, can I have a copy of the question or at least my answer? I had spent quite a bit of time formulating that answer. I would really appreciate it.
    – Najeeb
    Aug 17, 2014 at 16:13

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