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First, I strongly feel that we still need the reaper. Janitors don't have the power to reap nodes and I don't think they should (at the very least not single-handedly, though perhaps three-at-a-time makes sense, especially if they can reap nodes with a positive rep for cleaning up true duplicates). I also feel strongly that we need to adjust things.
I don't want to just up the number of votes required to delete, nor to just lower the number of votes required to keep. I've seen nodes that should be deleted not get deleted and nodes that should be kept get reaped (and nodes that should be reaped get reaped with about the right amount of work). But I think having a bit more complex formula will help.
I propose that the "delete" votes reaching 5+3*(other votes) when the node's reputation is negative (I was thinking we should allow reaping of zero-rep nodes, but I've changed my mind) should cause the node to be reaped. So a node with 1 vote to keep and 2 votes to edit would require 14 votes to delete before it could be reaped.
Update: The current rules are that 5 votes to delete works as long as their aren't 2 or more votes to keep. So votes to edit play no roll and there is no ratio involved. So once there are 2 votes to keep, there is no way the node will ever be reaped (except if vroom does it by hand, which is always possible). 1 vote to keep and 5 votes to delete is currently enough (if the rep is right when the 5th vote to delete is cast) while my change would require 8 votes to delete in that case (or more if there are also "edit" votes).
vroom already has the power to unreap mistakes and he has used it. I don't think giving that power to editors is required.
I think a lot will be helped by just getting the word out that it isn't appropriate to reap nodes just because they aren't the best node on the subject (and this word needs to get out or we'll still be reaping the wrong nodes even with all of the other changes I've proposed). If someone asks a question that was just asked yesterday, they shouldn't have their node reaped. They probably shouldn't have their node approved, either, but a polite pointer to the previous question and some hints about learning how to use the site will usually get posted soon enough.
There are always going to be similar answers posted at about the same time (even if "we" implement something like the improvements I've outlined for reducing the creation of such duplicated effort). I see absolutely no value in reaping any of such duplicates and will continue to vote "keep", even when the original author asks to have their own answer deleted for that reason (actually, right now I vote "edit" so that I have a hope of eventually "unconsidering" the node).
I'd like for reaping of a reply to check whether the parent has been reaped. If so, and the parent has no replies of its own, the parent should be rereaped so that it will be removed from NodeReaper's list of nodes and can't be accessed any more. The rereaping would also check for a reaped parent node so that an entire thread can be reaped off of the site. This is only meant for trolls.
Currently, anyone (even a troll) replying to a trolling causes that trolling to be accessible forever. I agree that we want to keep bad nodes around as a part of history and/or as examples of bad nodes. But I don't think we should keep examples of trolls around. I think that would just tend to give a troll a sense of accomplishment and give new trolls ideas.
I could see raising the level limit for being able to vote on considered nodes, but I wouldn't raise it much. I'd really like to see, on the Nodes to consider page: