Some cleanup tasks need to be done on an ongoing basis as new questions/answers/etc introduce cruft to the site.

The aim of this question is to compile a list of tasks that:

  • Fall outside the scope of the standard review queues
  • Need to be done to keep the site nice and shiny

I maintain a similar post over at Meta.Anime.SE. Much of this question and its answer is (at least initially) drawn from there.

  • I think we should tag this as featured
    – Mr. Alien
    Jul 7, 2014 at 19:44
  • @Mr.Alien If we want to do that, I say give it a few weeks - so far, I've only copied some of the queries I use at Anime.SE. I haven't written any of the Hinduism-specific ones (mostly for finding inconsistent spelling and large blocks of untranslated text and stuff like that); maybe once I get around to that it might be worth featuring.
    – senshin
    Jul 7, 2014 at 19:45
  • Makes sense....
    – Mr. Alien
    Jul 7, 2014 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


(Note that though all users may propose edits, you must have a certain amount of reputation for your edits to go through immediately without review - 1000 rep for edits to questions/answers, and 4000 rep for edits to tag wikis.)


  • Answer unanswered questions! - given that this is a question-and-answer site, perhaps the most unseemly thing would be for us to have a large number of questions without answers. Scroll through this list every so often (perhaps looking only at questions in tags where you've already answered a number of questions) and see if you can't answer a question that hasn't been answered.
  • Handle questions that need retagging - some questions end up tagged with or . If these questions are on their way to deletion, you can just leave them be, but if not (e.g. if they are closed as a duplicate or something), you should assign an actual tag to the question.
  • Evaluate questions with existing deletion votes (requires 2000+ rep) - this is part of the standard set of moderation tools, and allows you to see questions that have received at least one deletion vote in the past 30 days. If you think the question should be deleted, cast your vote. If you disagree, leave a comment explaining why or otherwise make the question better. You can also look at questions that have recently been deleted and cast undelete votes where appropriate. In general, you should only vote to delete posts that are either 1.) very old and reasonably bad; or 2.) egregiously bad and utterly beyond salvation.
  • Find questions that could probably use copy-editing - this query uses a number of proxies for finding posts that could probably do with being overhauled in terms of capitalization, spelling, grammar, etc.
  • Find questions that use code formatting - there are some legitimate uses for code formatting (e.g. simulating tables), but they are few and far between on this site, since this isn't a programming-related site. Users often incorrectly use code formatting when they should use quote formatting; use this query to identify those instances and clean them up.

Tag wikis and excerpts

  • Find tag wiki excerpts that probably contain markdown - since the page for editing a tag wiki doesn't include a preview for the excerpt, some users will use markdown (mostly italics) and expect it to render correctly. However, tag wiki excerpts do not permit any sort of markdown. Click through the links in this query and edit out any markdown you find in the excerpts (and fix anything else you find while you're there!).
  • Find long tag wiki excerpts - tag wiki excerpts should be reasonably concise. Look over this query and remove excess verbiage from excerpts if you can do so without making the excerpt unclear. Pay particular attention to those that have a "YES" in the "Truncated?" column.


  • Find images that aren't hosted on imgur - users sometimes hotlink images from other sites in their questions and answers, which can be a problem for us if the hotlinked site takes down the images at some point. These images should be rehosted on stack.imgur.com (hit Ctrl+G when editing). Note that this query won't catch images hosted on sites beginning whose URLs begin with the letter i, e.g. imageshack.
  • Add alt-text to images that don't have it - for the sake of accessibility/searchability/whatever, it is generally helpful to have some sort of alt-text for images. Click through the posts in this query and add alt-text to any images that don't have any.

Comment cleanup

  • Find comments that might be obsolete - while I'm not a fan of aggressively deleting comments, some comments are obviously obsolete and not worth keeping around - for example, comment chains that go like "You should include this fact in your answer" / "I have included this fact, thanks". Look through the comments shown in this query, and evaluate which of them should be flagged as obsolete. This query is not perfect - do not go through and flag all of them willy-nilly!
  • Find comments that use code formatting - some users on this site misuse code formatting for emphasis in their comments. Moderators can edit comments to fix this; regular users can flag comments (select "other...") to indicate that a fix needs to be made.


  • Excellent list!
    – cheenbabes
    Jul 7, 2014 at 21:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .