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In the last few days, I've come across four instances where a non-answer was left by a new user, that answer was deleted by the system after six Recommend Deletion votes in the review queues, then the poster promptly reversed that deletion with a single vote.

In each case, the answer had piled up quite a few "not an answer" or "very low quality" flags, which were all cleared the instant the answer was deleted by the system. However, the poster was able to single-handedly override all that when they undeleted their non-answer with a single vote. This required others to go and re-flag the answer and for a moderator to step in and delete it so that they couldn't restore the answer.

This seems like a bad design. A user should not be able to by themselves overturn deletion of their answers that were removed by a community vote in review.

I propose that answers deleted via five Recommend Deletion votes from the review queues require the normal three undelete votes that posts deleted using regular community delete votes do. This would prevent users from bringing back their non-answers after the flags on them had been cleared, potentially allowing non-answers to come back and clutter up the site.

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As a reference (for moderators, developers, and 10k users), these are two of the answers this happened to: stackoverflow.com/a/22653159/19679 stackoverflow.com/a/22596361/19679 . I'll see if I can find the others I encountered. –  Brad Larson Mar 27 at 16:25
    
How does the system behave when deleted by 3 20K users outside of the review queue? Are they undeleteable? –  psubsee2003 Mar 27 at 16:26
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Potentially have an option for the author to put the post back into the queue where it can be undeleted, much like the reopen queue (except it need not be a separate queue, really). –  Servy Mar 27 at 16:26
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@psubsee2003 - Normally, questions and answers deleted by 3 20k users require 3 undelete votes to bring the post back. That seems like the approach that could be used here. –  Brad Larson Mar 27 at 16:27
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@BradLarson yeah, that would work. The author's binding vote should only count for self deletes. Frankly, this feels like a bug and not an intended design. –  psubsee2003 Mar 27 at 16:29
    
omg the cookie monster is asking questions on SO. –  Won't Mar 27 at 17:57

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Jarrod has implemented animuson's suggestion:

Now that we have that new "disputed low quality review" flag, can we use it for this purpose? The OP undeleting their answer is like disputing the reviewers, so whenever this happens, why not raise an auto-flag so that a moderator can take a peek at it? That way the undeletion doesn't just go unnoticed since all the flags have been cleared.

This, coupled with an explanation for the deletion in the post's history:

Post Deleted From Review

...should together make this already-rare occurrence less potentially troublesome.

Note that posts deleted by 3 trusted users will continue to require 3 votes to undelete.

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And that just caught one: stackoverflow.com/a/22877755/19679 , so it's working. –  Brad Larson Apr 6 at 3:40

The reason this hasn't been fixed yet is twofold:

  1. It doesn't happen that often
  2. Fixing it in the way you describe requires stuffing reviewers names into the deletion record - that is, we can't just attribute the deletion to Community, or undeletion is locked. It might actually make more sense to just unlock Community-deleted posts (that is, allow 3 trusted users to undelete them), but we never followed up on that previously because there were such a small number of these in play (see #1).

But it's been a while since I last checked this, so... Here are some updated stats:

  • Total review-deleted posts: 39,368
  • Review-deleted posts that the author then undeleted: 849
  • Review-deleted posts undeleted by the author and then re-deleted: 438
  • Review-deleted posts undeleted by the author and then edited: 357
  • Review-deleted posts undeleted by the author, edited, then re-deleted: 99

Related:

Full list of the remaining 411 posts that were undeleted:

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If someone needs the Vox Populi badge: this is your chance! I reviewed the first 10. Most of them are still bad. –  Patrick Hofman Mar 28 at 16:46
    
Thanks. Figured it was a bit of an edge case. I'll work through that list when I get a chance. –  Brad Larson Mar 28 at 17:02
    
Are you listing them out individually as a hint-hint, nudge, go and flag them for close again if they haven't been significantly improved? If so, why bother, since these individuals are motivated enough to go back and undelete them? (Ironic, since they weren't motivated enough to write a decent answer to begin with.) –  Grant Winney Mar 28 at 18:24
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@GrantWinney - If a moderator deletes them, they stay deleted. I've already cleaned up a few non-answers from this list. Not all of these are bad answers, though. –  Brad Larson Mar 28 at 18:26
    
Oof, there are some real winners in that list: stackoverflow.com/a/22633824/19679 . Good that we can at least clean these up. –  Brad Larson Mar 28 at 19:39
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@Shog9 Now that we have that new "disputed low quality review" flag, can we use it for this purpose? The OP undeleting their answer is like disputing the reviewers, so whenever this happens, why not raise an auto-flag so that a moderator can take a peek at it? That way the undeletion doesn't just go unnoticed since all the flags have been cleared. –  animuson Mar 29 at 22:23
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@animuson that's a good idea - making that change now. Also going to add a new post history event, "post deleted from review", for better visibility in the revisions list. –  Jarrod Dixon Apr 3 at 1:52

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