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Update: This policy is now in effect, and the question will be closed. The proposer should update the FAQ accordingly.

This is a policy question. The proposed policy in the question (or answers) will be adopted in the case that after 3 days it received at least 5 up votes with a 2/3 majority in favor. Please upvote or downvote this question based on your opinion of the policy statement as presented (not based on whether the premise of the question is reasonable)

We have had a number of instances that a question by a user is down-voted or closed, and the OP reposts the question in place of modifying/improving the original one. Sometimes the previous question is also deleted. I think this is a kind of circumventing the system, why are we down-voting or closing if the user is going to delete the question and repost it? It also takes more time from us because we have to read the post again. The comments are also lost.

The right thing that OP should do is to modify/improve the question and address the reasons the question is closed and then ask for reopening (if there is still a disagreement and OP is not happy with the result, the remaining issues can be discussed on the meta). (Is there any reason for deleting and then reposting a question other than hiding something?). Therefore I propose the following policy:

POLICY: A reposted question should be closed as soon as possible. They should not be answered. The OP should be asked to modify the original post in place of reposting the question.

ps: I understand that in some cases there might be acceptable reasons for reposting a question (thought I personally cannot think of any at the moment), if you have one please post it as an answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ it is traditional to cite specific examples with URLs so we can evaluate the merits of these claims with actual data.. $\endgroup$ Dec 21 '10 at 4:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Jeff: I cannot see the deleted questions since we have left beta, but here is one. Here are a number of cases by another user: $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Dec 21 '10 at 4:10
  • $\begingroup$ 1a 1b 2a 2b. There was also older cases by some other users but I have to search to find them (I clearly remember at least one other case). $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Dec 21 '10 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaveh: Is it possible to undelete a question by the user? $\endgroup$ Dec 21 '10 at 4:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Hsien-Chih Chang: I think the OP can undelete the question if they have deleted it as long as they are on that page, after leaving the page they cannot return and see it (so they have to notify the moderator). $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Dec 21 '10 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaveh: Thank you for the explanation. This also suggests that the sooner the reposted question being closed the better; since the user has a larger possibility to be able to undelete the previous question while it is still on the page. $\endgroup$ Dec 21 '10 at 7:35
  • $\begingroup$ pls note. because of the limited options when closing, I had to close as "off topic" when it's nothing of the kind. $\endgroup$ Dec 25 '10 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Suresh: I don't know which part of FAQ this needs to go, should I start a new section for policies? Or should I start a new post to keep track of policies? $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Dec 29 '10 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ the tag policy should suffice, combined with status-completed $\endgroup$ Dec 29 '10 at 14:46
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I'll provide a few examples.

  • This question was deleted by OP request, after this question was closed, and then deleted by the OP. The interaction was a little fraught as well.
  • This question had two previous incarnations that were both deleted by the OP after comments by the community. In case someone with enough power can view them, they are here and here. I think this is the case that Kaveh had in mind
  • This question was originally posted as this one, and after a number of suggestions was modified. I think this is a case when reposting actually worked.
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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for finding some examples, and linking to the deleted versions of the question. I had two other specific cases in mind, one was a case that I and Tsuyoshi commented under the new version after the original version was deleted, but don't remember the question. The second case was a repost and the new version was answered, but again I don't remember the question. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Dec 21 '10 at 16:21
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As Jukka wrote, sometimes reposting is a good thing, so I cannot accept the current wording of the proposal. I would like the policy of the form “If a question is reposted [under some conditions], it should be closed,” but I do not have a concrete proposal for the conditions now.

On the other hand, it may be better to include answers as well as questions into the scope of the proposed policy. There was at least one time where someone posted an answer which was eventually downvoted, he/she deleted the answer, and he/she reposted exactly the same answer. I flagged the reposted answer as a spam with an explanation of the situation as a comment, and the reposted answer was eventually deleted by many spam flags. I hope that this was an exceptional case, but it might be worth thinking about. (But after all, that situation was handled without moderator interventions, which may suggest that a new policy does not have to cover the situations like that.)

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the "no moderator intervention necessary" :) $\endgroup$ Dec 22 '10 at 9:59
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I strongly disagree. Reposts are occasionally useful. See Re-ask vs. edit + reopen for my view and prior discussion.

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  • $\begingroup$ of course the key is "links to the original, deleted question". Users can't provide links to deleted question, no ? or at least no one can view these links $\endgroup$ Dec 21 '10 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Suresh: There is not that often need to delete questions (unless it is offending, spam, etc.), it is sufficient to close the original question. $\endgroup$ Dec 21 '10 at 8:09
  • $\begingroup$ I agree. however, sometimes users delete the question to reclaim the lost reputation when it gets downvoted $\endgroup$ Dec 21 '10 at 8:14
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    $\begingroup$ Jukka, thanks for the answer. I read your post and actually found it an acceptable reason for reposting. We can state it as a modification to the policy and as an acceptable reason for reposting. But I would prefer if we have some restrictions on it like: 1.the original post should not be deleted, so people who want to know about the previous discussions can check it, 2.OP should state explicitly that it is a repost and link to the original version in the new post, 3.the user should explicitly state the reason for reposting, 4.the question should not be reposted more than (lets say) once. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Dec 21 '10 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ ps: I don't have a strong opinion on the restriction 1. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Dec 21 '10 at 16:23

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