In We Have a Messy Sandbox the consensus was that the best way to clean our Sandbox is to delete posted challenges but keep abandoned ones.

The consensus also seemed to be that:

  • These deleted posts should be edited down to a simple link to the real challenge (presumably with the title of the real challenge as the link text, like this). This is so users with high-rep don't have the deleted challenges cluttering their screens.

  • Proposals that are duplicates or highly down voted or infeasible/impossible should also be deleted. Presumably their content can also be edited to reduce bulk.

Thus "abandoned" means something that has been forgotten or never completed, but still has the potential to make a good challenge.

Can everyone agree on these rules? What other details should be mentioned?

I want this post to serve as a definitive guide for what people should and shouldn't delete in the sandbox. An obvious problem is that you can only delete posts that aren't your own if they are down-voted enough (maybe that changes at some rep level, I'm not sure), so besides the editing this seems like a mods only task.

Side Question: As many of you know I make a lot of challenges but almost never post them in the Sandbox so I'm not the best judge of Sandbox mechanics, I just think it looks messy. Do you think Sandbox improvements like this will really help new (or old) users post good challenges?

Sandbox Deletion Rules

(I just made up the specifics, feel free to edit or suggest changes.)

  • Once a challenge from the Sandbox has been posted to the main page it should be edited down to a single large header that is a link to the posted challenge, then deleted if possible (example):

      #[Title of Deleted Challenge](url of posted challenge)

    (What about comments?)

  • The following only applies to Sandbox proposals that have been inactive for more than 3 weeks:

    • Proposals that are clear duplicates of existing questions should edited with a link to the duplicate and deleted if possible:

        [Duplicate](url of original duplicate)
    • Proposals with a score of -3 or less should be edited to reduce bulk and deleted if possible.

    • Proposals that were otherwise already deleted should be edited to reduce bulk.

(Anything else?)

Meta: How Stack Exchange Deleting Works

  • \$\begingroup\$ Re "what about comments?": I don't think we should do much about them, because all comments without upvotes are collapsed in the Sandbox because it has a lot of answers. Because only upvoted comments are shown, they won't generate too much noise. \$\endgroup\$
    – ProgramFOX
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 11:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @githubphagocyte It doesn't really matter. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 11:49
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ As for your side question, I'm hoping it will at least make it more likely that we can find and reuse good old proposals. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 12:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ So it's not "deleted", but "compacted" or "minified". Another advantage: low-rep users can view them using edit history if they want to see the challenge development. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vi.
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 13:50

2 Answers 2


Normal users are not able to delete vote answers which don't have a negative score. So it would be great if one of our mods could go through the sandbox and delete every posted challenge.

The FAQ and Sandbox question should be updated to indicate that all future challenges should be deleted (by the author) after being posted.

That leaves inactive/incomplete/dropped proposals.

If they have a negative score there are usually some comments indicating that it's a duplicate, or just a bad idea or similar. In that case, I think everyone who can should delete vote (even at -1). Once they are deleted, I agree that they should be edited down, as well, to indicate the reason it was dropped and reduce clutter.

As for abandoned ideas, that were just forgotten or similar, we already have a consensus on the procedure for dealing with those - and if all the posted and dropped ones are deleted, it might actually be much easier to find the gems in the sandbox.

  • 16
    \$\begingroup\$ Huh, all the posted challenges seem to be deleted for some reason! How strange... \$\endgroup\$
    – Doorknob
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 12:03

Sure many will not agree but why not just delete everything that has not been edited in the last 6 months. That gives plenty of time for people to discover old, abandoned gems and will also get rid of anything that has been posted to main but not removed from Sandbox.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ -1 from me. I know I have posted challenges in the sandbox because I want to get ideas down but haven't had time to fully flesh them out. Sometimes they may sit there for a while and I would not be happy to find them randomly deleted. \$\endgroup\$
    – Poke
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Poke - I hear what you are saying but generally I keep a copy of anything I put in sandbox in a locally stored text file. If I didn't have time to do anything with it online and found it had been deleted after 6 months I would simply repost when I did have some time to do something with it. \$\endgroup\$
    – ElPedro
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 20:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also I'm not suggesting random deletion. If the rule is it is deleted after 6 months with no edits then you have plenty of time to go in and add a space, delete it and resave to buy another 6 months. I don't call that random. \$\endgroup\$
    – ElPedro
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 20:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ My issue is that I might think of a neat challenge idea at work and then work on it when I get home. I would not only need to maintain a text file with the markdown but also send it to myself or something so I get it on my home computer. Furthermore editing it in the sandbox just to keep it longer than six months has the unintended side-effect of bumping it to the top of the active list which I may not want to do if I haven't added any substance. That seems like a recipe for downvotes \$\endgroup\$
    – Poke
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 20:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair point about bumping it to the top. Agreed, that may not always be desirable. I'll stick with the offline approach if by some chance the 6 month rule is implemented. Dropbox (or your other online storage provider of preference) means I don't have to worry about sending it to myself. \$\endgroup\$
    – ElPedro
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 20:38

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