I was reading this question Is there any programming language with a “negative” type system? (10K link), when the system informed me the question had been deleted.

The question was deleted by a moderator within seconds of closing it.

My question is, what made the question so bad that it needs to be deleted without a say from the community if the question should really stay closed and/or be deleted and without any recourse for the community to contest the decision. As the question got deleted by a moderator, you cannot even vote to undelete it.

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    I just noticed in question timeline that it was hanging in hot network questions for several hours. This means its positive score hardly has any relation to its quality - it rather shows how many SO users having association bonus (and no idea about our site quality norms) happened to "like" it, Facebook-style – gnat Feb 24 at 19:35

The policy to fast-delete any post that falls into one of the off-topic reasons has existed for several years now and was based on a suggestion from one of the Community Managers. I believe the context was improving the quality of the homepage to users who are not logged in or who have low reputation, around the time of refining our scope, perhaps even around the time of the name change from Programmers to Software Engineering.

Since I fast-deleted it, the question before edits was about finding a programming language that matched certain criteria. Since it was essentially a resource request, it was up for closure and already had two close votes on the question. Since resource requests are one of the off-topic reasons that are difficult to salvage, it was fast-deleted as per the policy mentioned above.

It's also not true that there is no recourse for the community to contest the decision. Anyone can flag the post for moderator review or post about it on Meta. Most mods (and I believe all of the mods here) have a policy to not handle flags on things they are participating in unless there's something very, very wrong, so that's a good way to get another review on it. Posting here on Meta lets everyone with 10k+ rep chime in as well.

To summarize:

  • Fast deletion of off-topic posts is a standing policy, but one that can be further discussed in general if people want to.
  • It wasn't a unilateral decision to close since there were two other close votes already on the question. The deletion comes from the close reason.
  • The post author and any involved user has opportunities to contest the decision via mod flags or Meta.
  • I disagree with you. A vote is not a decision, a vote is just a vote. You decided it. Also, the deletion was made after the edits. – user218158 Feb 24 at 18:42
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    @AndréMarcondesTeixeira A vote is a decision. And the post that I saw was clearly in the request for resource category. There can be a lag between edits being made and a notification of those edits. So I made a decision to remove it because what I saw was not suitable for this site. If you don't agree with it, flag it or ask about it on Meta. – Thomas Owens Mod Feb 24 at 19:00
  • Thomas, since the OP edited the problematic wording out, after the deletion, shouldn't the community now get a chance to vote about the question again in a more democratic way? – Doc Brown Feb 24 at 20:50
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    @DocBrown Of course. That's the whole point of this Meta thread. Looking at the question, the initial reason no longer applies, but I'm not yet convinced that it hasn't evolved into "how do I write code that meets this requirement", which is also off-topic here. As it stands now, I don't see a reason to undelete and reopen, but by posting on Meta, all mods are also pinged so others can take a look and anyone in the community can weigh in and maybe point out something I'm missing. – Thomas Owens Mod Feb 24 at 21:18
  • @DocBrown I am somewhat uncomfortable about undeleting the question without doing anything about answers that were invalidated by a "salvaging" edit. Are we going to let them hang in there and make example for site visitors that it's OK to post stuff that looks barely related to the question asked (I bet inexperienced readers won't drill into question edits history to find out that these answers were posted when it looked very different) – gnat Feb 24 at 21:53
  • @gnat: if that's all what is bothering you, I think that can be solved. I added a sentence to the end of the question which makes those answers more valid again. Now the part of the question asking for other languages is still in there, but no longer the primary focus. – Doc Brown Feb 24 at 22:13
  • @DocBrown I need a bit more time to chew it more thoroughly but at the cursory glance your edit looks like what doctor ordered. Seems it managed to "re-sync" the invalidated answers without making it slide back into blatant language recommendation, neat. Granted, the question per se looked better prior to this edit (less of invitation to list of things) but as a means to keep all existing answers this is probably best that can be done – gnat Feb 24 at 23:19
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    @DocBrown I read over the latest edit. I think it's OK now. The only potential worry is it turning into a big long list question. I'm going to try to undelete and reopen, but if it collects a lot of answers, it could hit a point of needing details or clarity to focus the answers (the old "too broad" reason - answers are too lengthy or there are too many "answers"). – Thomas Owens Mod Feb 25 at 0:12
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    Thomas additionally please consider removing the question from hot network list, in order to lower the risk of its degrading into too broad / many answers – gnat Feb 25 at 0:50
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    I disagree with you that a question which can be salvaged with such small edits is so blatantly off-topic that it needs to be removed on-sight. I am less bothered with the closure and share your concern that it might be a bit broad. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Feb 25 at 9:03
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    @gnat, I was referring to both the edit done by the OP and the one done after by @DocBrown. To me, they (together) don't turn the question semantically upside down, but they just remove some trigger words that cause people to interpret it as a resource request.` – Bart van Ingen Schenau Feb 25 at 13:52
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    @BartvanIngenSchenau: to be fair, in retrospective these two changes may look small and simple, but I can also understand that Thomas perceived the original version as "difficult to salvage" and did not try to fix the problem by editing the question himself. But that's why we are here on meta, to fix such issues together. – Doc Brown Feb 25 at 14:35
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    This question was never intended to be about programming language recommendations (although it may have appeared to be at certain points) - it was about programming language design & type system features (the initial revision was "How feasible would be an "exclusion" type system?"; it was then edited in response to comments). The latest version has turned into "How can I simulate a “negative” type system?", which may be perceived as better suited for the site, but is not what the question was about. – Filip Milovanović Feb 26 at 13:30
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    "It wasn't a unilateral decision to close since there were two other close votes already on the question" - "unilateral" doesn't mean one-person decision, it means one-sided decision; for it to not be unilateral, the OP (being the "other side" of the conflict/issue) would have to had some explicit say (e.g. agree to delete the question). – Filip Milovanović Feb 26 at 13:33
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    @gnat - that maybe so, but that meaning does not describe what the OP was complaining about; they likely (1) didn't expect the post to be deleted, (2) didn't understand what warranted such a seemingly drastic action, and (3) didn't see a way to contest the decision. That's why it felt unilateral to them. I'm not saying that posters should have veto power, just that maybe it's sometimes reasonable to keep them in the loop and give them some time - even though it's not something a moderator technically has to do. – Filip Milovanović Feb 26 at 19:55

I disagree with Thomas. I don't know how this stuff works. The thing is, it may look simple to you because you have 70k rep. But I have no idea how to contest such stuff. And yes, it was an unnilateral decision, because YOU deleted it. Also, you deleted the question AFTER I made the edits to make the question compliant. So what?

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    question timeline is visible to 10K users and it clearly shows that edit was done 2 hours after deletion and not vice versa (screen shot for readers under 10K). Also (the question and answers are visible to 10K users) the edits invalidated two answers so that for inexperienced site visitors these answers would now look like popped out of thin air, very confusing – gnat Feb 24 at 19:00
  • Like the timeline of you questions is an example of pureness and holyness, c`mon... – user218158 Feb 24 at 19:06
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    your comment seems to read somewhat defensive, why. I merely pointed that edit and deletion were made in the order opposite to how you described. And that as a result of this edit two answers (written prior to it) were invalidated – gnat Feb 24 at 19:13
  • I will delete my profile. Thank you guys the hospitality (irony) – user218158 Feb 24 at 19:42
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    @AndréMarcondesTeixeira: some community members here interpret our rules for topicalicaty very strict. This can be sometimes annoying, but it is IMHO appropriate, and I recommend against taking this personal. As you see, by a slight edit your question was be brought in-line with our rules, was undeleted and reopened again. – Doc Brown Feb 25 at 7:44

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