I was browsing through the questions and found so many abandoned [on hold] questions.

These wracks clutter up the site and pull attention away from the good questions on our site.

Can anything be done to remove questions that will most likely not be edited?


3 Answers 3


On hold/closed questions are removed one of several ways:

  • They meet the requirements for automatic deletion described in the MSE deletion FAQ. Probably the most important thing to remember is that "[t]he system will automatically delete closed, unlocked questions with zero or negative score having no positively scored or accepted answers or pending reopen votes, that were closed for any reason other than duplicate nine or more days ago and haven't been edited in the past nine days."
  • People vote to delete them:
    • 10k+ users can vote to delete a closed question 2 days after it was closed
    • 20k+ users can vote to delete a closed question if it has a score of ≤-3. (Remember that 20k+ users are also 10k+ users!)
    • The question author can delete a question if certain conditions are met, also outlined in the MSE deletion FAQ. If the question meets these requirements, it can be deleted instantly
    • Moderators can delete a question no matter what
  • The question is reopened. I know I've done edits so that other people's questions can be reopened, sometimes years after the question was closed.

As a user with deletion privileges, I tend to NOT vote to delete in these circumstances:

  • The question was newly closed and could be fixed by the author. You don't know who will respond to a comment.
  • Questions with good answers.
  • Interesting questions, especially those I can fix.
  • Duplicates. These can be very helpful when you're trying to find a specific question but don't remember the words used in that specific question.

If you're searching you can exclude closed questions with closed:no. You may also want to exclude locked questions with locked:no.


Once you get to 10,000 rep, you get the additional moderation privilege of voting to delete.

You can access many more moderation tools at the moderation icon in the menu or at the direct URL, where, if you have enough rep, you can vote to close, reopen, delete, undelete.


Questions meeting certain criteria are automatically deleted by a scheduled script.

Complete criteria are available at Enable automatic deletion of old, unanswered, zero-score questions after a year?, but the quick summary is that there is:

  • a daily check for abandoned closed questions (>10 days old, no net upvotes, no accepted answer, no recent activity)
  • a weekly check for abandoned questions (>365 days old, no net upvotes, no accepted answer, low view rate)
  • a weekly check for dead questions (>30 days old, no answers, negative score)
  • a weekly check for migration stubs (question moved to another site)
  • a weekly check for rejected migrations (question came from another site but was rejected)

If they're closed but don't fall into any of these categories, then as Mitch said, the best way to get rid of them is to Vote To Delete.

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