I stumbled (to my utter amazement) on a question which was linked to a comment posted on Meta, namely https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/10659/what-does-tldr-mean
For those who do not have the rep to see deleted questions, it is as follows:
What does “TL;DR:” mean? [closed]
I found two different sentences that were prefixed by TL;DR:.
What does it mean?
TL;DR: "I've been here for quite some time, spent considerable time and effort in shaping the […]".
The question was asked by a high-rep user and was posted on
Jan 30 '11 at 13:46
There were six answers posted in response to that question. The top answer received 59 upvotes. The entire question, along with its answers, was deleted by seven users on
Sep 19 '12 at 2:02. Five of these are still very active today.
The reason it was first closed was because it was deemed as "general reference". The original wording was:
This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.
Now, we should all be aware of the fact that a little over two weeks ago, an identical question was asked on EL&U: What does 'TL;DR' mean and how is it used?
Why wasn't that closed as "general reference" (especially by those very users who deleted the previous question)? Will that recent question plus its five answers be deleted one day? Until today, I would have argued that that was an impossibility, but I'm not so sure any more.
I ask because I once voted to close a question for being general reference—which it was. It had nevertheless received an excellent and detailed answer; the answerer was a newcomer who, being justifiably concerned, queried if his post was doomed for deletion. I reassured him that posts which had received at least one upvoted answer could not be deleted. Was I wrong? If the rules governing closure can be changed (as seems to be the case), is that good answer at risk of being deleted one day?
Furthermore, I strongly believe that the aforementioned TL;DR: question should be undeleted and marked—ironically—as a duplicate of the more recent one. If the original post hadn't been deleted, the second question would have been closed in an instant as being a duplicate.
I'm all for deleting GR questions that have accrued no upvotes and no answers in the space of, say, four weeks. They achieve nothing besides cluttering up the EL&U site; they should consequently be obliterated. Similarly, if the recent question was never (to the best of my knowledge) at risk of being closed, and it remains open to this day, then the older question should be reopened.