It was explained to me, in detail, that this was to preserve the focus and quality of the site.
So I left. It says a lot that 6 months later I am still the #6 user by all-time karma.
The few trickle of questions they have left deal mostly with trivia.
I think SO/SE's moderation policy has gone a step too far. Once it lightly highlighted quality. Now it stamps on most questions.
The problem comes with a huge site like SO, because there are so many "not welcome here" topics which get closed, with no suggestions about where to put those questions, and without great explanations about why those topics aren't welcome.
It's not as thoroughly toxic as some aspects of wikipedia are, but it's not pleasant for some people.
 for various values of some, including "all" for a few users.
Any ideas why they were closed so early?
The guidelines that lead to this are quite reasonable, but as with anything as complex as deciding fitness for inclusion there will be corner cases. A moderator not intimately familiar with the topic, or a moderator who is in "cleanup mode" may end up deleting/closing something that actually would serve the community but technically violates the guidelines.
Far too often on S.O. I'd see a question and excitedly click on it, only to find it had been closed on some technicality. I understand (and appreciate!) the desire for S.O. to keep a tight focus on objective information, but sometimes I think the mods are too strict.
This is a human/community problem, and has no trivial solution. We should also remember that these issues do not mean that a large number of closed/deleted items are erroneous. In fact, both wikipedia and S.O. people do a pretty good job overall. We can and should point out the failures and try to make the system better, but it doesn't mean the system is hugely broken.
The main reason this was closed is because determining what or what does not constitute a hidden feature is highly subjective. Depending on the audience, some features that are considered common knowledge could be considered hidden features. We generally want to focus on the domain of questions that have solid, objective answers, or rather, that solve a clear problem that people have, whereas this question is more focused on trivia.
Furthermore, "List of <X>" questions, as we dub them, generally aren't well-suited for the Stack Exchange format, especially when the question is as popular as this one. Note that navigating the list without OP's quick-link breakdown is a pain because of the way that each individual's answer is separated.
I'm sure there's some personally type that experiences a deep need to organize and delete (and it's probably over-represented in the SO community), but that's all this is. I find it highly unlikely that deleting these posts is having any effect on the quality of new questions asked.
Also, this particular post is locked, not deleted. Google will still find it.
Let the search engines figure that out! It's their job!
Is there any evidence whatsoever that deleting/closing questions like these make SO a better place and improves the rate with which people can find answers through search engines?
I suspect there's none.
Ummm... right. You go ahead and keep posting noise to your site and let the search engines figure it out. Let us know how that works.
That's very nice, except much of the discussion here indicates clearly that deleted posts are not noise but are useful, valuable resources to the participants. So the "must reduce noise" explanation doesn't work here.
Neither do you. I'm the moderator who undeleted and locked that question so it can't be deleted again (after ten community members voted to delete it). I've argued in the past in their favor, but the community (not moderators alone) decided that this type of question isn't a good fit and we don't want to encourage more of them by keeping the old ones open.
Here's the old discussion about these questions where I defended them: http://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/56669/should-hidden-...
As for them not being a good fit for the software, frankly they're not. Just look at the "Hidden Features of C#" question. There are over 300 answers. Many duplicates had to be deleted because no one is going to take the time to read them all to see if their answer was already posted. This isn't really the kind of thing we (again, the community, not just moderators) want on Stack Overflow. We want to focus more on questions that have one objectively best answer.
My general claim is merely that the closing of these questions is not implacably imposed by the software, but is instead a community choice.
I don't think we disagree on this being a 'religious' issue. I am clearly an SO apostate.
So, SO say it doesn't fit on their website (fair enough, their server, their rules) but it's a great question for someone, and there doesn't appear to be anywhere to ask it. (Maybe HN??).
What about a series of "Stack Exhume" sites where the "deleted" information gets moved to? (Trash can?) Even though they are "noise" when trying to find specific answers to concrete questions, they are still interesting information in their own right, in much the same way queries are interesting.
I've noticed lately that a Google search brings me to SO as the top result, but then the post itself is locked and marked off-topic or (the one I find more puzzling sometimes) "not a real question." If it's not a real question, why does it have a real answer which seems to answer my own question? Can't we just edit the question to make more sense, if it wasn't clear to the mod?
I'm not saying that locking or deleting posts isn't appropriate. But crippling or removing SO questions that appear high for particular search queries seems like a silly way to run a website, unless the question and answers really wouldn't be helpful to the incoming search traffic. (In which case, better to not show up at all than to appear but be unhelpful or incorrect.)
> Can't we just edit the question to make more sense, if it wasn't clear to the mod?
Yes, of course. Anyone can suggest an edit to a question, whether it's open or closed. If you find a question and its answers helpful, go ahead and edit it. Flag it for a moderator to consider reopening when you're done.
Also, if you found a Stack Overflow question through a Google search, then it's not deleted. Deleted content isn't visible to search engines.
I wonder if I should have posted a Google cache link instead of the original, to prevent exceeding their quota.
This application is temporarily over its serving quota. Please try again later.'
It also searches for similar questions when you enter the title to a question.
You can also use google (e.g. google.com/search?q=site:stackoverflow.com variables) which is what the founders had in mind.