From time to time, I find some interesting questions with one or two delete vote counts. For example:

Antonym of “distributed” as in “distributed system” [closed]

Even though the question received three down votes, its top answer received 18 upvotes. My questions:

  1. Will it be deleted if I click on the delete button?

  2. If I clicked on the delete button, would my action be justifiable? How many upvotes in the answer do you think could justify leaving a question undeleted?

  3. Is there any general guideline on deleting posts on ELU?

  • 1
    I think this question is interesting and have voted to reopen. The question specifies the context of computing, with an example of "distributed system", and the top answer "centralised system" isn't necessarily obvious.
    – Lawrence
    May 26, 2016 at 17:37
  • 1
    @Lawrence Hi, Lawrence. That's why I said "some interesting questions". The problem is the question seems to lack context and I think close-voters and delete-voters shared the same view. I just wanted to ask this before I decide what to do about it.
    – user140086
    May 26, 2016 at 17:47

1 Answer 1


Deleting a question will automatically delete all the answers posted on that question, irrespective of the number of upvotes each answer received.

That is why in the moderator tool guidelines, users are asked:

Before voting to delete, please check whether there are any good answers; if so, then the question should be flagged for moderator attention as a potential merge candidate. We don't like to lose great answers!


Also, be cautious when deleting questions closed as duplicates; they can serve as a signpost, directing users to useful answers on another question.

It takes 3 votes, minimum, to delete a closed question. However, the number of delete votes required scales to the number of votes on the question and all its answers.

I have seen many great answers — but this is a very subjective area — that have earned only a handful of upvotes. Answers which have earned 50 or more upvotes are not necessarily "great", but they may have been perceived to be the "right answer".

  • 2
    A very good answer, and a strong explanation of why closing is a better choice than deletion for many questions that fall short of site standards for one reason or another. Another consideration is that a closed question with a good answer may suffice to dispose of a new questioner's question before he or she asks it; but a deleted question just leaves a hole in the site's coverage of the underlying issue that may prompt a series of additional (and similarly inadequate or off-topic) questions.
    – Sven Yargs
    May 27, 2016 at 6:38

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