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In the last few months we've been receiving quite a few off topic questions, which clearly cannot be salvaged with editing. They typically are closed in a timely manner, but they still sit on the homepage providing no value and possibly confusing new users as to the purpose of this site for 7 days until the "roomba" deletes them.

Is there anything better that we can/should be doing with these questions?

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I would suggest that we delete these questions after leaving a comment to explain to users why their question is off-topic. This would have to be largely done by moderators, but I don't think that would be a problem seeing as most of these questions are closed by moderators anyways.

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I agree with @thesecretmaster that these questions are a net negative on the site. They bury good questions, and for people who don't know what [on hold] means, they can also mislead new users about what is acceptable here.

As our volume increases over the long term, this becomes less of a problem, but leaving them up now just to give the Roomba time to decide to delete them seems silly; if the question is obviously unsalvageable, delete it, and let the homepage reflect topical activity. I think that, at our activity level, there is some harm to leaving them in place

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Just "thinking aloud" here. One advantage of leaving them visible is that they serve as examples to others about what isn't desired.

But they are really only distracting, I think, when overall activity is low, such as now, and we have lots of closed questions, so the really active ones get pushed down.

I wonder if it is possible to adjust the parameters on the Zamboni so that it works faster when activity is low and slower otherwise. That would, at least, automate it.

Another possibility, perhaps, is to leave them on the "newest questions" tab, but hide them on the "active" tab.

I realize that might all be "feature requests" though.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think adjusting the roomba, while probably technically possible, is very unlikely and it'd much easier if we could figure out something to do ourselves. Hiding from the homepage but showing on the new questions tab is something that occurs when a question reaches a score of -4 (or -6?), but we don't really have enough voters to do that. $\endgroup$ – thesecretmaster Jul 13 at 15:13

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