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I am trying to delete one of my own questions but this messages pops up, "To allow for possible reopening, you may delete in 18 hours". If I asked the question why can't I delete it at my discretion? Why should I lose that right once its posted. The question was meant to benefit me and people I know. If it no longer benefits us and even causes risk to us why should it be allowed that time frame?

The best thing I was able to do was edit it to prevent consequences and repercussions to everyone the question would affect and flag it. Any help answering this is greatly appreciated.

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migrated from Dec 20 '12 at 16:17

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

I am still new to this site. Could you direct me to that? I don't know what it is. – Jason Sobel Dec 20 '12 at 16:15
Well someone migrated the post for you. StackExchange is made up of several different sites each geared toward a specific function. Go to the very bottom of the page and you will see links to all of the various sites. At the top of each page is an FAQ link that explains the site you are on. – Miguel-F Dec 20 '12 at 16:20
for future questions, Use a SSCCE and don't tell your life's story in the question – Sam I am Dec 20 '12 at 16:26
I am very new to everything and I appreciate that, but are you referring to another question. I think I would have to put more in to be doing that. Personally, I think I just clarified my circumstance and brought up important concerns. I now know how things work at StackExchange but that doesn't make this specific and entire question all fluff and no substance. – Jason Sobel Dec 20 '12 at 16:39
If you are referring to my old question on StackOverflow I was very tired and wrote a lot very fast. I am normally not so verbose. Though I used to be, it has improved considerably over the years. Did I intend to write my life story? No. Did I have a lot I wanted to say? Yeah, in my head. Unfortunately it came out in type + on the site. Not my intention at all + immediately realized upon posting. At least, I can own up to my mistakes. I wanted answers that help inform me and others in my situation not suggestions that borderline on attacking me. In the future, I'll be better. – Jason Sobel Dec 20 '12 at 17:08
up vote 7 down vote accepted

amanaP gave you the right approach.

I'll try to explain why it's needed.

Strictly speaking, you licensed your content to Stack Exchange (as per the Terms of Service, section 3. Subscriber Content). So you don't have a "right" (in the legal sense) to get the content deleted. That doesn't mean that it won't be deleted, if you have a good reason, but it means that you can't "demand" it.

More importantly: questions and answer on SO (and the entire Stack Exchange Network) are not just for the benefit of the asker. In fact the people who benefit the most are not usually the ones who ask questions.

The people who benefit the most are the ones who find the questions others have written (via Google) and can read and profit from the answers they where given. If every asker deleted their question after they got the answer, that value would be severely reduced.

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I certainly wasn't demanding it and if it actually causes harm outside of StackOverflow into the real world I don't see any reason they'd want to let it remain. – Jason Sobel Dec 20 '12 at 16:25
@JasonSobel: I understand, I also understand your situation, I just tried to explain (in general) why that rule is in place. – Joachim Sauer Dec 20 '12 at 16:26
I know questions can benefit other people and that is one of the greatest benefits of these sites but at this point it benefits very few people if anybody I assure you. I know it's not up to me to decide the validity of that statement though. Aren't limits relaxed and the process sped up in certain circumstances though whatever the end result might be, deletion or not. I would think that's how it works. But, I will be patient and accept whatever the consequences are whether they be good or bad. – Jason Sobel Dec 20 '12 at 16:46

First of all you should not post a question that might cause risk to you. If you want to know what type of question you should ask on the site, you can refere to the F.A.Q section of any Stack Exchange sites.(In this case StackOverflow).

The delay is, as explained, To allow for possible reopening, you may delete in 18 hours.
If the question isn't pertinent or doesn't belong here it won't be reopened and therefor, delete in 18 hours. As you pointed out yourself, you can edit it to prevent damages and possibly flag it to get a moderator's attention. Explained in detail why you want it to be deleted right away and he might delete it for you before the delay.

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I did not realize it might cause risk until it was brought up to me by the person I wanted to help. That is careless on my part for not thinking it through, but I am still new to this site, school guidelines, and programming itself. I think a leeway should be made for beginners + people in such circumstances. I am willing to wait for the process to take its course but I find it very one sided. I am not a spoiled brat who wants it his way or the highway. I am not demanding. I simply want an explanation and a quick resolve to all of this. I'll certainly learn from the experience if nothing else. – Jason Sobel Dec 20 '12 at 16:33
@JasonSobel You can always try the chat section if you have a question like this and need imminent attention. But I understand your concern. Although I don't remember how uch rep you need to access the chat. – ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd Dec 20 '12 at 16:35

The question was meant to benefit me and people I know

That's your problem; it's not what the site exists for. It's not just to help each person answer their own question. The purpose of the site is to benefit the entire world through a repository of useful questions and answers that can be indexed and searched. The guidelines of the site are designed with that goal, rather than helping just one person getting their question answered.

To help reach that goal, obstacles are placed to deleting questions. You may not have anything left to gain from the question staying around, but others might, and so the site will work to ensure that valuable content isn't deleted just because you don't need it anymore.

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I am perfectly aware of that but there is literally no benefit to anyone else. That question only harms me and the people I attempted to help. It can affect someone's standing in a class! It has now been heavily edited anyway to the point that even if there was some small benefit it is no longer in the updated question. – Jason Sobel Dec 20 '12 at 16:28
@JasonSobel The whole point is that it's not up to you to decide whether or not it's of benefit to anyone else. Moderators, or users with over 20k reputation, can vote to delete the post, and users with 10k can vote 2 days after closure, when you can. (It has indeed been deleted now.) I wasn't saying that it was a high quality post that shouldn't be deleted, just that it's not your decision to make, it's "the communities". – Servy Dec 20 '12 at 16:31
@JasonSobel Next, there is a revision history of all past edits, so editing a post doesn't remove the information, and even deleted posts can be viewed by mods and high rep users. Editing your question to remove all valuable content and say it should be deleted is inappropriate, and such edits will be rolled back to previous revisions as they are vandalizing the post. – Servy Dec 20 '12 at 16:32
Most of the edits were clarification to make the question more concise and easier to understand. The original question was unintelligible hence heavy down-votes and a surprising condescending attitude from one person (most were helpful and understanding). Once I realized there was a problem and was away from my computer I was no longer editing it. It certainly was inappropriate for the community and he had every right to vent his anger out in that last edit even if it was directed at the wrong audience. I am also aware certain people can look but those I want to prevent cannot. – Jason Sobel Dec 20 '12 at 16:51
Most of the edits were clarification to make the question more concise and easier to understand. I wasn't referring to those edits, I was referring to the last two edits where you removed all valuable content and replaced it with "please delete this". – Servy Dec 20 '12 at 16:54
As I already stated, that wasn't me. They were from the person I was trying to help. I was away from my computer when the issue was brought up and attempting to go through the process with a smartphone was too ineffective. So, I gave him access to my account whereupon he chose to go to extreme measures to ensure deletion and avoid any chances of an issue. I wish he had been a little more proper, remained calm, realized he was probably blowing the issue out of proportion, and researched the process as I am doing, but I can't predict how people will react all the time. Again, I apologize. – Jason Sobel Dec 20 '12 at 17:00

The other answers are covering the why this timeout is in place, but you have two avenues to get personal data deleted:

As the moderator team is volunteer and the site users far outnumber the staff - you might need to wait until the 18 hours have passed - so an appeal should be for something really personal or clearly in error. In either case, explain what happened and they might assist deleting it for you.

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There was no personal data on the post, he simply posted a homework question and didn't want the professor finding out that he got help online doing the work. – Servy Dec 20 '12 at 19:02

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