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Do 10k (and moderator) users have the ability to read deleted comments (are comments deleted forever, or never really deleted like questions and answers)?

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up vote 20 down vote accepted

No, 10k+ users cannot read deleted comments, so a deleted comment is as good as gone.

The comments do, however, still exist in the database and ♦ moderators can read them and see who deleted them should an issue arise.

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3  
Do they end up in the data dump? – Adam Davis Dec 11 '09 at 4:27
3  
@Pollyanna: I imagine only non-deleted comments appear in the dump – Kyle Cronin Dec 11 '09 at 4:28
    
At least some of the previous data dumps have included comments (including those with Bad Words). – Tom Hawtin - tackline Dec 11 '09 at 17:13
    
(Indeed, @Pollyanna, in the past deleted comments erroneously showed in the data dump: Data dump includes deleted comments.) – Arjan Mar 9 '11 at 11:47
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According to Michael Mrozek in a comment: This is out of date now; it's possible for mods to see deleted comments, but they have to ask for them specially (they're hidden normally) – Arjan Jun 25 '11 at 13:17
2  
@Arjan: Confirmed (I'm a mod), and answer updated. You can remove your comments now. :-) I've also voted to close the other question as a duplicate of this one. There's not much point in having both of them around. – Cody Gray Apr 17 '12 at 6:35

No, we (10k+ users) don't have that ability. They are as good as deleted forever (at least to non-moderators—those diamond folk can still see them).

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1  
According to Michael Mrozek in a comment, moderators can now see deleted comments if they want to. – Arjan Jun 25 '11 at 13:21

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