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Normally, if you try to view a deleted message or a message from a private room, you will not be able to view its content. Deleted messages show as "(deleted)" in the room itself, are absent from the transcript (http://chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/ + ID of message) and give a 404 if you try to view history. Ordinary users cannot access private rooms directly or through the transcript, and history for those messages gives a 404.

But if you know the ID of the message you want to view (and this is guessable especially on low-traffic chat sites like meta.stackoverflow), you can view the contents, needing only 20 rep to be able to post a chat message. To do it, post a chat message

http://chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/ + ID of message

on any chat site, and the message will be oneboxed.

For example, from chat.meta.stackoverflow.com (where I am not a moderator), I can view the contents of a deleted message by entering http://chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/8037950:

bug

Similarly, I can view a message from the private Trashcan room, and even a deleted message from the private Trashcan room:

bug

I can even view a message from the super-secret moderator-only Teachers' Lounge room by writing http://chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/10.

bug

The message contents are visible from when logged-out, by browsing to the chat room. See http://chat.meta.stackoverflow.com/rooms/38/conversation/exploit.

Related: When deleting a comment, it remains in the chat

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Uh... Am I missing something, or did you just post as bunch of messages that you, as a mod on chat.se, already had access to? –  Shog9 Feb 9 '13 at 7:53
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

That's a bold claim, but it's wrong.

You need more than just 20 rep on Meta for causing those messages to onebox. You also need access to the message – which you incidentally have, since you're a moderator on linguistics.se and thus on chat.stackexchange.com.

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