Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

(And why are they obliged to see them?)

It should be an option togglable in your account settings that doesn't require any amount of reputation. I think some of the deleted questions, even if considered "noise" by most, can be interesting to others. What's the downside of allowing everyone - if they want to - to see them?

Edit: as I said in the title I meant deleted by the community through the vote process. This does not apply to:

  • Questions deleted by the OP
  • Questions deleted by a moderator
  • Answers
share|improve this question
"I hit 10k and all I got was this lousy retagging tool." – Jon Seigel May 25 '10 at 23:53
Don't know if you remember it, but when the ability was introduced for 10K users there was a bit of a ruckus - lots of folks weren't terribly comfortable with posts they thought they'd deleted being visible, even if the visibility was limited to a small subset of users! I suspect that reaction would be nothing compared to the angst poured out should "deleted" posts suddenly be visible to the world... Some people actually do want to delete things. – Shog9 May 25 '10 at 23:54
What would it mean for a post to be "deleted" if it were still visible? – Ether May 25 '10 at 23:55
@Ether - Delete is such an ugly word. Let's call such questions, "Unicorned" and make sure people understand that the questions were sent to a magical land where they are allowed the freedom to frolic they richly deserve, to live out their days in bliss. It's not a bad thing - it's actually quite an honor to have your question selected to be unicorned. – Adam Davis May 25 '10 at 23:58
@Pollyanna: I disagree. I think we need an even uglier word than "deleted", like "pancaked". – gnostradamus May 26 '10 at 1:39
@Ether, isn't that already the case? – devinb May 26 '10 at 7:32
@Shog9: the title says deleted by the community not by the OP – Andreas Bonini May 26 '10 at 11:27
@Kop: there's only one form of "soft-delete" on SO, and the visibility is the same for all posts with that state regardless of how they got there. And if you're talking about the posts deleted via spam/offensive votes, then I gotta say - why on earth would those posts, out of all the potentially-valuable stuff that's been deleted on the site, be special-cased for low-rep visibility? Heck, if anything those should skip the soft-delete stage entirely and go straight into perma-deletion... – Shog9 May 26 '10 at 14:37
I don't know for how long you have 10k+ rep, but I love how this question now comes from someone who do have it. – cregox Mar 15 '11 at 15:17

The power to view these posts is given along with the power to delete and undelete. You can't undelete if you can't see deleted posts. This power is granted at 10k. There isn't significant value in these posts (from a stackoverflow perspective) and they don't belong on stackoverflow, so giving the power to view these posts earlier than the power to delete and undelete makes little sense. It's a community moderator ability.

They are only visible to those that have significant experience with the system for several reasons:

  • Sometimes a question is deleted by the question owner (for a variety of reasons) and they don't want just anyone poking around their deleted material. Perhaps it embarrassing, or perhaps they stepped over a legal line with some NDA.
  • Many questions are deleted to stop discussion on a given topic, and several are very incendiary. By allowing those with little experience and trust in the system to view them, we are inviting further discussion and unhappiness.

Those that have demonstrated significant experience with the system are privileged to see them not to gain information from them, but for the purposes of moderation. They are expected to evaluate them and undelete them when appropriate. It's another level of moderation, but like all other levels of moderation you can only gain it after the community trusts you to do so by upvoting your other contributions.

There are closed questions which are easily searchable on the site, and also accessible through the data dump. These are visible to everyone, and are as relevant as the site allows. Those questions that are deleted are not meant to be part of the stackoverflow corpus.

share|improve this answer
Your first point I agree with. Your second point sounds more like something that should be allowed to be seen at 5k or something though – Earlz May 26 '10 at 0:43
Same for you; as you can clearly see from the title I specified deleted by the community through the vote process – Andreas Bonini May 26 '10 at 11:27
Thing is, it's not that tremendously difficult to get 10K rep, at least in SO. It just takes time and commitment, and a reasonable amount of brains and experience. That means that, for your first point, somebody close to "just anyone" can see your deleted questions. I don't consider that satisfactory; if I found something embarrassing, or which I shouldn't have posted, I'd flag it for moderator attention and have it removed. – David Thornley May 26 '10 at 13:40
@Kop - That would include questions deemed offensive by enough flagging votes, which I would say need not be available. Further, does it matter by who and how it was deleted? By definition it is not meant to be part of stackoverflow. By differentiating deleted questions, you are merely inroducing another form of purgatory between closing and for-real deletion. You haven't made the case that this adds value to the service. If it doesn't belong on SO, then it doesn't belong at all, except for purposes of moderation. – Adam Davis May 26 '10 at 16:45
@David - As a 10k community moderator you have the added powers of deletion and undeletion. You have to see the posts to use those powers. When asked for a permanent delete, the response from the powers that be seems to be along the lines of "Email us and we can do that on a case by case basis." Keep in mind thought that once you submit something to the site, you are giving it to them to license under CC. You have the power to have them remove it, but they don't have to make it easy or automatic. – Adam Davis May 26 '10 at 16:48

The reason that only 10k people can see the deleted posts are because mainly people are deathly afraid of making mistakes. One clever thing the internet has been able to do is to make mistakes magically disappear by pressing the delete button.

By making it so only 10k users and up can see the deleted posts, you drastically reduce the number of people that can see when someone screws up.

This also is beneficial when confidential information or other things that the general public shouldn't see needs to be hidden. If we let everyone see everything, then when something goes wrong, there is absolutely no possible way to get it removed. That, for a lot of people, is just a little too much pressure.

share|improve this answer
I agree with you; that's why the OP can delete his or her own question and it wouldn't be visible. – Andreas Bonini May 26 '10 at 11:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .