I was sorry to see Can there be a stack exchange for casual, rural bike riding and remote touring free of the fanaticism of professional bike riders? was deleted.

I thought it served as a useful placeholder, for a given point of view and our response to that.

Of course, it really belonged on this site (meta).

I'm not requesting undeletion. I'm hoping to hear views. Part of my interest here is that I feel that our current definitions of what's on or off topic are under strain at the moment, so the more discussion the better.


Now that Gary has undeleted it, all users can see it for themselves. Also we can see that it's had (at time of writing) 143 views. Not a lot, but more than many legitimate questions.

It's clearly off topic, but the (implicit) real question I'm asking is Should we delete such off topic posts? Do they serve any purpose?

I think that off topic posts add value to our site by showing examples of what is off topic, of poor quality questions. They could even be used as duplicates when closing related questions.

At the time of writing, the debate is on the side of Gary's initial judgment and the view expressed by Móż.

  • Most of us can't see that question any more, Andy.
    – PeteH
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 12:06
  • Yes. But I didn't think I should reproduce it. I think the title says enough :-)
    – andy256
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 12:21

4 Answers 4


I was the mod who deleted it, primarily because it had been flagged for review again. I assumed it was too old to migrate as it had been on hold for over a year. In response to the flag on the question, flags on comments and the general "rantish" tone of the entire set of posts, I deleted it.

Speaking for myself, I try to be very judicious with the delete key. I looked up the user's details and history and noted that he had been seen on the site exactly for exactly one day in 2015, dropped this post and has never been back. It didn't seem like it added any value to the site and when viewed by other users was a target for flags that we as moderators have to burn limited time and brain cells to handle.

Since reading this meta question, I have un-deleted, re-opened, unsuccessfully attempted to migrate (confirming it was too old), and re-closed the question. I'm fine with leaving it on hold if that is the desire of the community.

  • 1
    That was basically my thought process. It's way too late to migrate, the user isn't contributing, sadly their rant has to go.
    – Móż
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 22:59
  • Thanks Gary. So far the debate is on the side of your initial judgment and the view of Móż.
    – andy256
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 6:57

I suspect it should have been migrated to meta or Area51 rather than closed. But it should have been edited into less of a whine and more of a constructive question. As it is there's no positive answer possible, just the one-word "no", or the slightly less discouraging "not really, no". Note that the problem the OP had was not "my preferred questions are hard to find", it was "questions I dislike exist", and that's never going to get a good response.

The more general question of "what is on topic" is tricky. What I'm finding difficult right now is the duplicate questions and the difficulty of trying to come up with canonical answers.


What parts of cycling was he requesting specifically? To paraphrase it as "I want to ride not race, and don't want to read questions about racing" does that catch the core?

The only cycling things we exclude are valuations, and shopping questions, neither of which have an urban focus.

This site is not "skewed toward professional metro riders" as he implies. Are SE stacks allowed to overlap significantly? I suspect that would work against the newer area51 suggestion.

In short - I don't know where OP got his ideas from, but without supporting evidence they're baseless, pointless trolling by someone who wants to argue about something rather than contribute to it.


I think deletion is never an attractive option.

If a moderator deletes something, then presumably that is because it has broken one of the few rules we have. However, I'm sure if that happens, it is done so with care and, importantly, with accountability.

But what concerns me is that someone with a high enough reputation value is granted the power to delete/undelete posts. I get that these people are presumably considered trusted users by virtue of their rep, but by the same token SE is also giving them the power to be an unelected censor. Even editing a post shouldn't be taken lightly. But I do think deletion should be a last resort, and it would worry me if other people thought differently.

Maybe something we could do, not to fix but to defer this problem, might be to set deletion rights to, say, 1000000 (i.e. a rep which nobody has, or is likely to have in the near future). Let's leave moderation to moderators!

As regards this specific question, do we know who deleted it, and why?

  • 1
    It was deleted by our mods. I do understand why, but thought we should be talking about the issues.
    – andy256
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 12:23
  • having a privilege that by design no-one has is pointless.
    – Móż
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 22:58
  • fine by me to turn it off altogether, if that's possible
    – PeteH
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 6:43
  • 1
    Reading past the rant, I'd have to agcee that it raises an interesting point. Are we too elitist? I do try not to be, but I do judge quite a few questions as poor quality. Maybe that's wrong?
    – PeteH
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 16:49

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