I've seen many fantastic questions in proposals that wound up lost when the proposal was deleted (such as due to inactivity). Often only to see the concept restarted with a new name, perhaps a slightly adjusted topic area, and then eventually succeed.

I'm involved with quite a few proposals which are borderline for getting started, and believe they'll eventually come about. I don't mind at all repeating the work to try to get followers and activity... but the disappointing part is the time put into coming up with unique and interesting questions. Certainly no qualms on not allowing them to be answered until the site makes Beta, but the questions to me seem to often be like wrapped gifts waiting for the morning when they can be finally opened; the proposed questions often are much of what draws me in to commit to a proposal, when they show just how interesting the questions can be. Yet they get lost to the abyss.

Could we get some way to at least keep our own posted questions, if not also a list of other questions we had interest in? It could be stack exchange wide, a text only list of posted questions that have been deleted. Or it could be somewhere here. I agree we don't want to overly encourage just regurgitating questions when a proposal restarts... but it's also a real pity to lose some absolutely fantastic questions.

  • For that matter, I've never been involved in any proposals that have become betas... do the questions also get deleted in those circumstances? It's a pity, because a central part of creating a proposal question is making it as interesting and unique as possible. These questions are considered to be the very definition of scope for the Beta, and what the whole definition process is centered around. If they're subsequently lost, that seems to be counterintuitive?! Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 10:28
  • Possible duplicate of Add old proposed questions to new proposals? Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 13:31
  • Boy, I must've done a poor job searching similar questions, as I see the related list at right contains the same topics. Perhaps this should be closed, I apologize :-/ Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 13:32
  • 2
    You are still bringing up a good point. How hard could it be to generate a text file and email it to the users who cared enough about it to participate (rather than go through the work of doing it manually)? Also, this would be a great way of politely informing users who care that the proposal is closed.
    – John
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 13:52
  • 2
    @John see related Notifications for closed proposals? Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 9:04

1 Answer 1


The questions on Area51, are example questions to define scope of a proposal. They are not viable as real questions on a launched site, as they are missing the detail that is required to fully flesh them out and make them good SE questions.

If you had copies of them and want to use them you would be missing the other key piece, the person who wants to know the answer.

There are several ways to harvest the questions, everything is licensed Creative Commons, (see bottom of every SE web page). You can copy and paste them to a document or you can harvest them directly from the servers (you should be able to find several places that show how to harvest).

If you want the questions, take copies of them. But the copies do not add value that you can pass to another proposal or site. The person with the question is the value.

  • Can they be harvested from deleted sites (perhaps from old dumps?) No need to go into great detail, if I really have such an itch, I'll ask a separate question. It's unfortunately debilitatingly complex, but at least would be good to know they're still out there somewhere. Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 13:08
  • And, definitely I understand they're incomplete. But certainly on my questions, most I'd find worthwhile to expand. And even some others... it turns out I'm the one who wants to know the answer. It wouldn't be that different from editing someone's good but stub question to improve it. The person is the value?? Perhaps the question as an entity is the value often. We're here to distribute worthwhile knowledge, right?? Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 13:11
  • If the person with the question is truly the value, why vote on "interesting" questions on existing sites :-D Don't want to see a bulk auto-asking of questions or such. But if I liked one or two of the questions answered, it would seem worthwhile to the sites. For terminated proposals that have been restarted, I doubt I would try the same questions, the restarting would be motivation to seek different question avenues. But I'd certainly like to have them around to come back to if they are in the scope of the eventual site. Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 13:15

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