I'm aware that we have a robot called "Community" that performs various chores, including removal of abandoned questions. I've also read the policies for removal of questions. That's all well and good; cleanliness is next to godliness, and all of that.

My question: Is there a "manual intervention" procedure allowed to overrule the robot? I ask because: a) I'm curious, and b) Community recently resurrected a question that I feel merits such a manual intervention. [From a helping friendly moderator: The content of that question has since been rolled back to the original.] According to the policy statement referenced above, because this question has two "answers", it will remain on the site for another 9 months. And it still may not be deleted after a year (in the unlikely event someone up-votes the question). Yet, neither question was accepted by the OP, and the question was changed such that it became quite confusing (IMHO).

No big deal in either case; I can easily ignore that question for quite a long time :)

  • 1
    I've rolled that question back; unfortunately another user did ask the OP to edit the question and add details, but this is inconsiderate (and confusing) if it invalidates existing answers. In future if this happens flag the question -- although the best way to avoid it to ask for clarification first, "Are you willing to use the Chromebook in developer mode?" is a bit paranoid and your initial answer was totally reasonable.
    – goldilocks Mod
    Aug 2, 2018 at 12:37
  • 1
    That's more than fair, and thanks for taking the time.
    – Seamus
    Aug 2, 2018 at 13:16
  • A quick aside on it bumping "unanswered" questions that I probably should turn into a full blown question - bumping stuff like raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/q/62947/10590 only seems to be useful in that really its already answered, but the system doesn't know!!
    – Wilf
    Aug 6, 2018 at 4:36
  • Good point. It really seems the algorithm/ruleset should consider the OP's status. Some users ask a question, and then disappear - perhaps forever. Yet their questions remain, in some cases getting bumped by "Community" back into the active list. Saw such a question yesterday, and some are still asking the OP clarification questions more than a year after posting his question, and his status is given as: "Last seen Jun 15 '17 at 0:42". This seems a waste, in some respects.
    – Seamus
    Aug 6, 2018 at 11:35
  • It is worth noting the bumping isn't really in order to help the OP, but rather to encourage other users to check that the answers are correct for future readers. In that sense it doesn't really matter so much whether the OP is coming back or not—like most things here, it's designed with the invisible users coming from search engines just as much as it is for the OP. I wouldn't worry that the question is old and apparently abandoned; the answers could still benefit from review regardless!
    – Aurora0001
    Aug 6, 2018 at 13:59
  • Aye, and for some questions this makes perfect sense. For others, the ones that are ambiguous, or need clarification, they may drift around for years it seems. But there's no perfect system, is there?
    – Seamus
    Aug 6, 2018 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


The question you linked isn't eligible for deletion by the Community user regardless of the votes:

If the question is more than 365 days old, and ...

  • has a score of 0 or less, or a score of 1 and a deleted owner
  • has no answers
  • is not locked
  • has view count <= the age of the question in days times 1.5
  • has 1 or 0 comments
  • isn't on a meta site

... it will be automatically deleted. These are termed "abandoned" questions (RemoveAbandonedQuestions).

(source: /help/roomba)

The question you linked:

  • has answers
  • is on track to have more than (365 x 1.5 = 548) views—it stands at 446 views already
  • has more than one comment

... so it's not eligible for deletion for several reasons. It'll happily sit there forever without the Community user deleting it.

Community will bump any question with only zero scored answers every so often to encourage other users to review it and vote as appropriate.

Moderators can override the Community user, in some sense—if a question gets deleted, moderators can undelete it. However, if the reason for deletion is still present, the Community user will just delete it again a few days later. Unless the reason for deletion gets fixed, it will keep happening.

Anyway, both answers seemed like good suggestions to the original question as asked; it's unfortunate in this case that the OP added additional constraints after the fact, but I'm sure they'll help other people in future (that's the point of all of this, after all!).

It is usually discouraged to significantly edit your question in a way that invalidates existing answers—if it turns out you missed a constraint and you cannot fix your question without making the existing answers invalid, you should generally ask a new question instead. I think the ship has sailed for this question, but if it happens in future, you can politely let the OP know that it's not what we do here if you want.

  • I appreciate the clarification. I'm amazed there have been that many views, but I guess there are many factors (including randomness :) that influence views... ironically, one of these factors is calling the thread out for removal! :P
    – Seamus
    Aug 2, 2018 at 13:47

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