The question is now Undeleted

I am very grateful to tchrist, who undeleted the post.
P.S. Several answers, consisting of one liners, have been deleted because they fail to reflect the site's standards that is expected today.

Is there a word for someone who really has their act together?

I happened to remember this question and the many answers it received, and I wanted to find it again today. I needed a word or expression that fitted this description. Impossible. The question has been deleted.

Luckily I had posted an answer, so with a "search operator" that I discovered on SE Meta, I managed to track it down.

For users who do not have 10K the post is not be visible, so let me describe it briefly. The question attracted 68 upvotes and 1 downvote, and 32 answers were posted. The highest upvoted answer (+81 and -9) suggested hoopy and frood. The second and third answers earned 35 and 20 upvotes respectively. Out of 32 answers, only three earned 0 upvotes.

This is the question:

Is there a word for someone who really has their act together?

Someone who has their time well-managed, is focused, works out, has ambitions, eats right. Not necessarily success, but there's a kind of trait that leads to it, that I can't quite put my finger on.

There's strong overlap with people who are competitive or are overachievers, but it's not exactly the same thing. "In the zone" is close, but I'm looking for a more long term or permanent kind of thing — the opposite of a slob or slacker.

Maybe there isn't a word, but there should be.

The post was closed by a mod for being "too broad" in August 2013, two years later it was deleted singlehandedly by a different mod. I don't want to name names, besides their names are visible to 10K users, and I'm pretty sure there must be a rational explanation for the deletion.

SE dictates that an answer or a question deleted by a mod, can only be undone by another mod. So casting a vote to undelete the question above will resolve nothing.

  • I understand that the question was too broad, that kinda makes sense, but I disagree with its deletion. I would like to know what the SE policy and criteria for deleting questions is, especially posts which have been upvoted and received numerous answers.

  • Why was this question deleted–no reason was provided–and is it possible to undelete it in the not too distant future?


This needs to be stressed; the question was closed by one mod, not by voting. The question was deleted by a different mod, not by voting.

The Help Centre page says:

Moderators can delete any question, and users with sufficient reputation can cast delete votes on closed questions.

It fails to mention that users cannot cast their votes to undelete a question previously deleted by a mod. If the question closed is “extremely off-topic” (e.g. proofreading), has attracted more downvotes than upvotes, has no answers or answers which have no upvotes, then THOSE are the very questions which should be deleted by the mod team. But a question with 68 upvotes and 32 answers? Can we not agree it is not the same as a wall of text asking users to proofread it? The request is in a completely different league. This is not your typical low-quality question.

How many closed questions are there on EL&U?

Currently, there are 22,208 closed questions. According to the canonical SE Meta post unearthed by tchrist♦ (specific information which is sadly missing from the Help Center) we learn the following:

Therefore, you should generally view a closed question as one that has been nominated for deletion. If you think there's a good reason for it to stick around, say something.

This is me saying something. This is me asking why a mod deleted a popular and useful question without explanation. Was it unintentional? And finally, can this decision be reversed today?

Please upvote this post if you believe the aforementioned question should be undeleted. Thank you. UPDATE: Currently there are three users who have cast their undelete votes. The question cannot be undeleted by non-moderators, but heartened, I too have cast my vote to undelete. Every little bit helps...

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    The mod who deleted it doesn't usually do much mod stuff. It may have been a slip of the finger. His fingers have slipped before, complete honest errors, on different issues. – Dan Bron Jul 9 '17 at 10:36
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    I just went through it, its answers and comments, and I don't see anything that would have given that particular mod offense, so far as I'm familiar with his motivations and predilections. Perhaps he deleted it and didn't understand, or deleted it and didn't quite know how to reverse that action. Anyway I agree the Q should be undeleted, at a minimum, and I'm glad you raised this Meta-Q. You must have had the Q bookmarked to find it again like this, after it was deleted? – Dan Bron Jul 9 '17 at 10:43
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    @DanBron no, I didn't. I just remembered this SWR question, I remembered liking it and wanting to compile a personal list, but then I couldn't find it. I recalled that I had posted an answer, so I searched on Meta, and found the following "search operator" which is the following: deleted:yes . It displays all your deleted post in one page, very handy. Great little script, or whatever you computer nerds call it. :>) – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 '17 at 10:49
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    @DanBron imagine one day, four or five years from now, discovering your Swedish ax answer is deleted. Gone. Because a mod accidentally deleted the "...word beginning with “y”? question. It could happen, shouldn't there be some form of safeguard against this. Unless, there was a specific need to delete the post. – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 '17 at 10:59
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    I think you have triggered the safeguard: alerting the community and other mods, politely but firmly, with a dossier of evidence supporting your case, in Meta. I am glad you did so. I'd not seen the Q before, but now that I have, I enjoyed it. I also think it should be undeleted (I +1'd this Q for that reason about 30 min ago). – Dan Bron Jul 9 '17 at 11:04
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    +1 What Dan Bron said. I was about to say the same when I saw the mod's name over there. "It may have been a slip of the finger." That mod is usually not involved in moderation activities. The diamond is sort of honorary, (although it was earned by an election). – NVZ Jul 9 '17 at 12:20
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    The deletion, two years afterwards, was simply a clerical act, removing a closed question (closed questions, if there is no activity to improve them, by design of the SE system, should be deleted eventually). The concern, if you want this question to be preserved, is whether the question is worthy of reopening. Can you make a case for the question at hand to be reopened? If so, and you can get enough people to vote on it (here on meta) I'm sure that a mod can, clerically, undelete it to allow voting to reopen. – Mitch Jul 9 '17 at 19:44
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    But note that nobody spent time trying to fix the problems with the question that caused it to be closed in the first place. – Mitch Jul 9 '17 at 19:44
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    But note that nobody spent time trying to fix the problems with the question that caused it to be closed in the first place @Mitch. Yes, well I would cast my vote to undelete the question to begin with but I can't. And judging by the comments there are two or even three other users who would like to do the same. – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 '17 at 20:42
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    @Mari-Lou 1 - tchrist addressed closing vs deleting and help center. 2- your focus is on deleting, but I'm saying that you should be concerned about closing because those votes are about the content, which is presumably what you really care about.3- Why deleted or closed when so highly voted? Because there are three kinds of voting: question up/down votes, an closing, and question deleting. Three different situations/3 diff kinds of assessment. Usually correlated, not identical. Everyone can vote, highrep people can vote to close, higher to delete. Higher rep expected to think long term – Mitch Jul 9 '17 at 21:03
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    Mods are part of the community, not separate from it. – tchrist Jul 9 '17 at 22:08
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    @tchrist Fair enough, you're absolutely right, but as Mitch commentated you have "superpowers", and we expect each one of you to use those super-powers wisely. If you can singlehandedly delete questions then start with the questions that have no upvotes and no answers. The really bad stuff. – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 '17 at 22:12
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    @EnglishStudent regardless of whether I think it should be reopened, after all, it attracted 32 answers, there's not much more you could add. You don't think a question with 68 upvotes and that many answers will get deleted. You think, OK, it's closed but it's in the archives, not the end of the world. No, instead a closed question, even a good question, can be deleted by a single individual. Anyway, now "some" users know that questions and answers are also ephemeral, not just comments. – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 '17 at 22:49
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    @Mari-LouA - There is a degree of discretion in what mods do, and I think they are just doing thier job. If the user base disagrees, they have their own discretion too in VTC, VTR etc. If this question will not be reopened, it can be re-asked and I doubt it will end up closed and deleted again. – user66974 Jul 10 '17 at 19:10

Based on advice from the help center on question deletion, as well as from these SE Meta discussions...

...it seems well-established that a closed question "that cannot be improved and reopened" and has been inactive for a long period of time should be deleted.

So it seems to me that the most relevant question is whether this question ought to be closed when many other single-word-requests that appear equally broad and have more than one possible answer seem to survive.

Some examples might be these:

These three examples were easily selected by random trial and error, and I have a hard time seeing what makes them less "broad" than the question referenced by the OP. All three appear to me to have zero close votes and are protected with many "guessing-game" style answers.

I would propose that EL&U might not be adhering to a strict standard for closure on single-word-requests. Should more be closed, or should less? Should the one being discussed here be undeleted and nominated for reopening? Those are questions the community (and moderators) should stick to a consistent standard on, for the sake of fairness to all questions.

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    Consistency is good; notice how when the question was closed, the Too Broad close-reason read: “There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.” Its 32 answers sure feels like it’s “too many possible answers”, eh? Beyond that, most answers are not “in several paragraphs”: they’re one-liner suggestions, sometimes with dictionary copypasta, and certainly not the high-quality expert answers that will help future visitors to our site. – tchrist Jul 9 '17 at 16:45
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    The following question is broad (28 answers and counting) and, arguably, off-topic. The majority of answers are not high-quality expert answers either. Most suggestions are copy and paste answers from a dictionary. Shall we tell the users who posted an answer that if the question does get closed, their contributions could, one day, be wiped out by a single individual? Shall we tell them that? One of those 4 close votes is mine, I am now going to retract it. – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 '17 at 17:35
  • @Mari-LouA: If you think it necessary to tell users that low-quality answers to a question we decide we don't want are liable to be deleted, you have a low opinion of users' research skills. If you are suggesting that bad posts should always be retained, then why? – Tim Lymington Jul 9 '17 at 22:35
  • @tchrist that makes sense. But number of answers seems like a dangerously arbitrary measure of whether a question should be closed (and in this case deleted). Is being too broad at the whim of users who answer with copy-paste one-liners? Shouldn't the fact that "most" of the answers were low-quality make their count less relevant to the usefulness of the question? – RaceYouAnytime Jul 9 '17 at 22:38
  • You say and I quote: _ I would propose that EL&U might not be adhering to a strict standard for closure on single-word-requests. _ However this is a message not for moderators but for inconsistently (close)voting members, and does not apply to single-word-requests alone but to all questions. Very pertinent answer overall, @RaceYouAnytime! – English Student Jul 9 '17 at 22:41
  • @EnglishStudent true and good point, but since in this case the question was closed by a moderator, not by voting, the point is somewhat directed at both. That's why I wrote Those are questions the community (and moderators) should stick to a consistent standard on – RaceYouAnytime Jul 9 '17 at 22:45
  • @RaceYouAnytime I get you; but to be fair to moderators, their action to close a question is rare and usually has good reason. The community (I mean individual members) need to be far more consistent in casting close votes, which is not just a privilege but a responsibility. The crucial thing is that you can see hundreds of questions very similar to closed questions, actually remaining open. – English Student Jul 9 '17 at 23:25
  • @EnglishStudent I agree with all of that. Your point that many similar questions remain open is indeed the crucial thing. I've posted a separate Meta question opening the floor for discussion on when single-word-requests are too broad because I think the standard is especially inconsistent with that particular tag. They're very distinct from other types of questions. – RaceYouAnytime Jul 9 '17 at 23:30
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    @RaceYouAnytime Many SWR questions have no true answer and therefore remain unresolved. But it is a hobby for many and greatly increases participation & site traffic at ELU. What really complicates it is that a disproportionately huge number of upvotes and reputation points are earned by everybody including myself from our answers to single-word-requests. – English Student Jul 9 '17 at 23:32
  • @EnglishStudent I'm not really suggesting that single-word-requests should necessarily be reduced, just that the standards for when they are or aren't closed ought to be consistent and as objective possible. Then it would be easier to tell whether the question in this post should have been closed or not. – RaceYouAnytime Jul 9 '17 at 23:35
  • @RaceYouAnytime It certainly requires serious discussion, so I await the community response(s) to your related meta question. – English Student Jul 9 '17 at 23:37
  • Psst...the question is undeleted. Yay! Thank you for your answer, you made a huge contribution. Thank you! – Mari-Lou A Jul 12 '17 at 21:22

What’s the policy on deleting closed questions?

Closed questions should ultimately be either deleted or else fixed up so they can be reöpened. The one referenced in this question simply went the former route: deleted two years after closure. Here’s another example of one of those. And also this one.

All three of these accord with the guideline that closed questions should in the long run end up being deleted from the site. Upvotes are not a solid criterion for non-deletion. We have around 35k deleted questions as of this writing, very many of them with upvotes. Most should stay that way; sometimes some of them should not, so it’s a valid question to raise here.

The question is still whether it should stay deleted and closed — and given that it’s closed, why shouldn’t it be deleted?

While there can always be exceptions, Stack Exchange has actually provided some general guidance for these situations. Over on Meta Stack Exchange, there’s a canonical answer to this provided by one of our august Community Managers:

Do closed questions get deleted automatically after some time?

If there's no activity, questions with a score <=0 can be deleted automatically after a (fairly generous) period of time.

Also, once closed, users with >= 10K reputation points can vote to delete it after 48 hours, and users with 20K can vote to delete immediately.... Moderators can and sometimes will delete questions at any time - closed questions are often deleted on sight as part of a cleanup effort.

Therefore, you should generally view a closed question as one that has been nominated for deletion. If you think there's a good reason for it to stick around, say something.

So our guidance from the Powers That Be is that you should generally view a closed question as one that has been nominated for deletion. Let’s keep that in mind.


To make an argument for undeletion, one must argue that the referenced deleted post really is the kind of question that adds to our growing library of expert answers on our “site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts”.

That argument has not been made — quite possibly for good reason. In any event, it remains to be demonstrated. If that attempt is made, one would do well to consider these points:

  • Why would we wish a closed question undeleted if we still intend to leave it closed?

  • Before someone raises the possibility of a lock, we don’t much care for historical locks and this question does not seem to merit one.

  • It’s marked Community Wiki, so it’s not like anyone’s rep would be affected were it to be undeleted.

  • It has 32 answers, which are all over the map.

  • Its quondam protection did little to stem the tide of random answers.

Perhaps if there were eventually a Stack Exchange site whose raison d’être were to create a home for these sorts of English-language guessing games and requests for writing advice — call it EnglishRequests.StackExchange, shall we? — then we could entertain the notion of someday sending it thither. Yet even new sites deserve to create their own community standards about what is and what is not on-topic there. (And even if we wished to, it would take an employee to migrate it because it’s far too old, and I’m nearly certain they would decline the request.)

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    Perhaps some culling of answers might be in order, but I think this, from the Meta question, counts as an argument "that it's the kind of question that adds to our growing library ...": "I needed a word or expression that fitted this description." (I think we'd agree that the OP is a "serious English language [enthusiast]"). – Lawrence Jul 9 '17 at 14:54
  • Somehow the deleted Dalai Lama joke with 160 upvotes was asked in ELL by one of our senior mods 2 years later and it has the same score there. ell.stackexchange.com/q/224/29183 – NVZ Jul 9 '17 at 15:41
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    The question which I am referring to was not deleted by the community, but by a single mod. The community, in theory, can vote to undelete a post any time they want or see fit, but this is denied when a post has been deleted by a mod. I did not put forward any argument to reopen or undelete the OP because I was unsure whether the deletion was accidental or not. Until I know the truth, how am I supposed to persuade you that the OP was useful? But it was, to me. Can you say for certain that it will not interest or help any future visitor? – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 '17 at 17:11
  • @Mari-LouA I'm still gathering input right now; there are pings outstanding that may help if answered. – tchrist Jul 9 '17 at 17:13
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    In the meantime, if the deletion was not accidental, this means any mod can decide to delete any closed question without telling anyone. I don't consider this procedure to be democratic or correct. Why did the mod choose to delete this particular post? Did (s)he feel it was worthless? Or was it a mistake? – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 '17 at 17:19
  • @Mari-LouA If closed questions were deleted by tchrist, I'll accept that because tchrist is a very experienced user in moderation activities even before earning the diamond status. But regarding the deleted question under consideration, I don't think that that mod deleted it after careful consideration. My best guess; it was a slip of fingers or something. – NVZ Jul 9 '17 at 17:53
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    These are all really good meta-meta points about closing deletion to help decide about the particular question. I think there should be some content supplied by people on both sides, pro/con about whether to reopen the question according to the points laid out here. To your first point, deletion is simply the next stage after closing. If enough people really want to have new answers to the question or use it as a reference, then I think it is only an administrative move to undelete. – Mitch Jul 9 '17 at 19:37
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    Maybe you should take this to meta.SE Since you seem to be bothered by the general workings of how the system is designed (mods are supposed to have super-powers). – Mitch Jul 9 '17 at 21:10
  • What does mod removes wiki mean? Does it mean a mod can reverse a Community Wiki status? i.e. none of the answers automatically become CW because the limit of 30 answers was surpassed. That limit no longer exists, so nowadays we can get questions with over 30 answers and no one loses any rep. – Mari-Lou A Jul 10 '17 at 20:27
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    @Mari-LouA Was the question closed by the community, or unilaterally? I wouldn't fault a moderator for deleting a question that was inactive and closed for more than 2 years. Closures are done by experienced community members (3000 rep), up-votes (15 rep), not so much. – ColleenV Jul 10 '17 at 21:34
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    @ColleenV It was originally closed by a mod back when the SWR requirements had just been refocused, under those guidelines. Two years after that, another mod deleted it in response to a flag on it. It would have otherwise taken 10 normal delete votes. – tchrist Jul 10 '17 at 21:37
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    @Mari-LouA Yes, I think that's right. It used to trigger automatically under various circumstances. – tchrist Jul 10 '17 at 21:41

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