A recent question was deleted off the face of SE (asking about Star Wars). This was clearly a popular question, but potentially unhelpful for the site. If the concensus that such questions are unfit for Sci-fi.SE, could they be made temporarily available to sub-10k users via Meta site, to allow those who can't view deleted questions to participate in meta discussion?

To Paraphrase DVK:

As a user he had no chance to review the question itself before it was deleted and make up his mind and participate in community discussion. I could be wrong but he used meta.SFF as a proposed "staging"/"log" place to avoid that problem, simply because there's no better solution for him - not because Meta is the ideal place for it.

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    It seems like what you are trying to say is that you disagree with this particularly question being deleted, but that's a completely different question than what you've proposed here. – Beofett Apr 2 '12 at 13:19
  • @Beofett I'm just brain storming. The Jon Skeet question on Stackoverflow is probably the best example of what I'm considering. – AncientSwordRage Apr 2 '12 at 13:39
  • Jon Skeet Facts? I take it then that you were referencing the "humorous" question that was deleted that seems to be the hot meta topic of the moment? I hate when April 1st falls on a weekend... I miss all the fun that way. – Beofett Apr 2 '12 at 13:44
  • @Beofett that's exactly what I was referring to. Both the Jon Skeet facts and the april 1st post. – AncientSwordRage Apr 2 '12 at 14:07
  • I see that as somewhat different than what you're asking here. "Fun" questions are a bit different than "consensus is that such questions are unfit for Sci-fi.SE", and the concept DVK mentions below about using Meta as a "staging" area for reviewing deleted questions is completely different than either of those. Perhaps an edit could help clarify which you're asking about? – Beofett Apr 2 '12 at 14:28
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    Viewed 106 times. 8 up-votes, 7 down-votes. You have... An exceedingly generous definition for "popular", @Pureferret – Shog9 Apr 2 '12 at 14:30
  • @Shog - hm... valid point though I'm not quite sure what our average/median is for popularity on SFF. Could it be that 106 views on a Sunday for non-HP/SW/LOTR question is a decent stat? BTW, I don't think that main site popularity should affect these issues in the first place. What I care about are voting stats on meta discussion, which - for this specific Q - clearly indicated a majority consensus in favor of the question being ontopic). – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 2 '12 at 14:34
  • @Shog9 that was the impression I was given.... – AncientSwordRage Apr 2 '12 at 14:35
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    @Pureferret then I'm guessing someone has greatly exaggerated the notoriety of that question. For comparison, both of the meta discussions regarding that question have had more participation than the question that sparked them. Meta-discussions. On a weekend. – Shog9 Apr 2 '12 at 14:38
  • @DVK: yeah, as I said in my answer, this is inappropriate for rather more fundamental reasons. But it's a tempest in a teapot regardless. – Shog9 Apr 2 '12 at 14:59
  • @Shog - Aren't meta discussions on a weekend a sign of a vibrant community? :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 2 '12 at 15:23
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    I edited to remove red herring topics (e.g. Skeet) - please feel free to roll back if my edit harms the Q. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 2 '12 at 15:34
  • FWIW, MSO created a Popular Deleted Questions List. There is also stackprinter.com/deleted for finding deleted questions. Granted you still need 10K rep to view these questions in both cases. – Xantec Apr 6 '12 at 15:26
  • There is also the proposal on MSO to allow direct links to deleted questions to still work, which unfortunately seems to have been a near still-birth. – Xantec Apr 6 '12 at 15:33
  • We also have the proposal to add a de-listing option, which while not completed as originally requested, does provide a way for removing a question from the default lists while retaining accessibility. – Xantec Apr 6 '12 at 15:39

There are two ways to look at this. The first way is this: A question with a (fresh!) meta-discussion regarding its scope going on, shouldn't be deleted, anyway. It can be closed of course, and deleted (if appropriate) after the discussion decided so. Therefore this meta question wouldn't even be applicable.

However, there is a different way to look at this. If you argue that my position above is wrong, in the sense that mods should in fact delete questions they deem unfit while a discussion is going on, then it would probably make sense to include (i.e. hard-copy) the question-body in the discussion, so everybody who wishes to participate in the discussion has a chance to do so.

Unless, non-mod users do not have a say in it anyway, and the mods are supposed to decide on a whim, whether questions should be allowed. If that is the case, the whole meta-discussion could be closed as well, while deleting the original question. But do we want this kind of a community?


This would be similar to the way the Jon Skeet facts are 'preserved' on StackOverflow.

Not really. Sure, Skeet Facts is popular. Sure, it's of historical interest. But most importantly, it's also extremely meta - it's a list of "facts" about a prolific author on Stack Overflow, not a programming joke question. Like the community FAQ, it's one of those topics that would have been posted on Meta originally, if Meta had existed at the time.

Point being, Meta isn't now, and has never been, a graveyard for every question someone wants to hold a candle for. Its purpose is spelled out in both the name and the FAQ:

This site is for meta discussion about scifi.stackexchange.com.

Back in the day, certain overzealous users did attempt to migrate a popular "joke" question from SO to MSO. Jeff reversed the migration and offered to suspend anyone who tried to do it again...

  • Is there an appropriate solution? People who aren't 10k+ are basically being prevented from being able to participate in a community discussion that they didn't have a chance to join in the beginning, due to probably having a life. Should we copy/paste original content INTO a relevant META discussion? Again, the goal here is not to preserve the content for posterity, but to help community members participate in a discussion that a mod's hasty delete decision blocked them from (that's why I used the word "cache" elsehwere in this post) - it's meant to be temporary, until the discussion settles – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 2 '12 at 15:27
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    another solution would be (hey, I can dream) is prohibiting mods from deleting a post that is under unsettled META discussion unless the post is 100% clearly and unambiguously real-time harmful (of course in the latter case, we as community do a decent enough job of cleanup, IMHO) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 2 '12 at 15:31
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    The appropriate solution is to discuss the post on meta, providing sufficient information at the start of that discussion for the community to come to a consensus, and then abide by that consensus. Moderators should do the same, of course. If that's not happening, there's a problem... But I'm really not sure an April 1st joke question is a great test case for this. – Shog9 Apr 2 '12 at 18:04
  • it seems to me that most people in meta disussion were of the opinion that the question was on-topic regardless of April 1st. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 2 '12 at 18:25

I don't see any benefit to this.

Meta is for discussion about how the site should work, not a catch-all for whatever doesn't belong on the main site.

Without knowing the specifics of the question you are referring to, if the consensus is that it doesn't belong on the main site, what is the benefit of hiding it, but keeping it anyway? If the question was deleted because it really did not belong on the site, then it seems pretty clear that, well, finding some way to keep it on the site isn't really beneficial.

Edit (in response to the inclusion of DVK's comment in the question): I think there's quite a bit of contradiction in your question. If there is consensus that a question is unfit for the site, then moving it to meta makes no sense. Period. If you want to be able to review the question and participate in the discussion after the decision was made to delete it, then the mechanism to accomplish this already exists: users with 10k+ reputation can see deleted questions, and even review a list of recently deleted questions with the moderator tools. While this is a fairly high threshold, it is a better mechanism than using meta as a "dumping ground" to open up the discussion so lower-rep users (such as myself) can participate.

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    Actually, the consensus (sans moderators) was that it DOES belong on SFF. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 2 '12 at 13:56
  • The point that I believe Pureferret is trying to make is that, thanks to moderators hasty decision, Pureferret - as a user - had no chance to review the question itself before it was deleted and make up his mind and participate in community discussion. I could be wrong but he used meta.SFF as a proposed "staging"/"log" place to avoid that problem, simply because there's no better solution for him - not because Meta is the ideal place for it. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 2 '12 at 13:58
  • @DVK that is exactly what I couldn't articulate before. – AncientSwordRage Apr 2 '12 at 14:08
  • @DVK Check Pureferret's actual question: "If the concensus that such questions are unfit for Sci-fi.SE". As he posted this it is a pure hypothetical, with the explicit premise that this applies only to questions where the consensus is that it is not appropriate. Your comments belong in your own discussion, and bitmask's question. They aren't relevant here, unless Pureferret changes the scope of his question. – Beofett Apr 2 '12 at 14:08

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