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I just wrote this comment to my own question

Just for the record, I attempted to delete this question twice and a group of fascist elitists punks have resurrected it in a fashion totally adverse to its author's desire.. Obviously, this question will just get downvoted at meta.stackoverflow.com, and that is never my intention. Proof is in the pudding, the flock will downvote and close or delete legitimately good questions, and reopen with force questions that I acknowledge have no chance of positive-exp.

I thought it was good enough to start a topic of its own.

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Looking at the 4 individuals who did the undeletes... I'm not sure any of them actually wear frocks –  Grace Note May 26 '10 at 15:23
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How's it going Evan? I haven't had a chance to down vote you in a while! –  Tyler Carter May 26 '10 at 15:25
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@Tradition, tradition of useless comments? Like (chacha102) and his legal trolling sock puppet -- @Tradition -- good job. –  Evan Carroll May 26 '10 at 15:34
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If your post keeps getting undeleted, flag for moderator attention. I've deleted and locked the post in question. –  Kyle Cronin May 26 '10 at 15:37
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@Evan, just in case you weren't joking, that's the same account with a name change, not a sock puppet... –  Pops May 26 '10 at 15:54
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@Kyle, can you give me an exp refund I think that question cost me a thousand or something. –  Evan Carroll May 26 '10 at 16:11
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@Evan: I'll give you all the exp you want. It won't help you though, since this site runs on Rep. –  gnostradamus May 26 '10 at 16:19
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@Evan: "exp" vs. rep. We're not rolling 20-sided dice here. –  Michael Petrotta May 26 '10 at 17:13
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@Evan Only one is the actual term for the context. I think I would get shot if I started running around SO insisting on saying "words" to describe what everyone else rightfully acknowledges are called "strings". –  Grace Note May 26 '10 at 17:21
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@Evan why do you constantly try to go around the reputation rules? None of us got any special privileges and/or bonuses relating to reputation. Why should you get any? Earn it like everyone else. –  Tyler Carter May 26 '10 at 17:31
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This is precisely why I picked "words": the terms themselves have identical denotation in the situation (both strings and words are sequences of letters) but only one is actually the proper term to use in that situation. Using improper terms (and especially insisting on using them) will make people believe you are either incapable of understanding the material, or too stubborn to learn anything. Which in turn leads them to give much less respect to your content. People are more likely to think less of others if they are unwilling to understand appropriate terminology for the field. –  Grace Note May 26 '10 at 17:34
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What if I didn't care that the definition of strings for programming was more complex? What if I simply insisted on saying "words" just because to me, all I care is that it is a sequence of letters, and the term that best fits that description to me is "words"? Yes, it's more familiar to me, and there's nothing that can really stop me from calling them "words" (much like we cannot stop you from calling it "exp"), but you can't be surprised that the community will be very unhappy if you insist on using improper terminology. To the community, it's probably seems quite disrespectful and ignorant. –  Grace Note May 26 '10 at 18:01
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@Josh, Dude, I've already apologized -- it is a habit for me. Stop being such a pedantic troll. Kindly remind me, and help me solve the errors in my ways. I still don't know that reputation is a better term. It seems weird to have "you'll get reputation", or "I've given you more reputation". –  Evan Carroll May 27 '10 at 14:42
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@Evan: If it is an honest mistake I apologize. But you have to admit I have a right to question you given your history -- I hardly think my behavior on S[OFU] has earned me the title "pedantic troll" –  The Unhandled Exception May 27 '10 at 20:42
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Evan's using "Exp" is as much a honest mistake as almost every other contribution he makes on this site. –  Pëkka May 28 '10 at 7:36

5 Answers 5

When a question is posted, some ownership of that question is conferred to the community at large. Were this not so, the OP would have complete control over the question, and there would be no possibility of closing or deleting questions, or editing of the question by other participants to improve it.

Similarly, the community at large occasionally believes that a question has sufficient merit to be restored after it has been deleted. This concept is baked into the system; after a question (or its answers) gets a certain amount of upvotes, it cannot be deleted by the OP at all.

To serve as a safety valve, a degree of community consensus is required to restore a question (three undelete votes).

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Very good points about the upvotes and community ownership. –  Grace Note May 26 '10 at 15:51
    
+1 good perspective –  Pops May 26 '10 at 15:52
    
I very strongly disagree that three votes indicates "community consensus", or even a "degree" of it. –  devinb May 27 '10 at 11:55
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@devinb: Well, what do you suggest? 20 undelete votes? 100 undelete votes? That doesn't sound very realistic to me. –  Robert Harvey May 27 '10 at 14:30
    
I am suggesting that when a user self-deletes a question, then only they (or a moderator) can undelete. By the way, I wasn't quibbling over the comments about "ownership is being conferred to the community", I very strongly agree with you about that. Also, about questions with upvotes not being deleted, again, I do not argue. I was only arguing about the appeal to "community consensus". The rest of your answer is top-notch. –  devinb May 27 '10 at 14:51

Addressing the important question here, "Should we permit adversely reopening questions against the author’s will?", in short: yes. Mechanically, undeleting (because this is about deletion, not re-opening) a question is identical to deleting a question in terms of access and who should be allowed it. So since we do permit the deletion of questions against the author's will, then it mechanically makes sense to permit undeleting questions. After all, both are just a matter of folk with big, beefy rep disagreeing with the author on whether a question contributes value and deserves to stay on the site or not, just in different directions. Just like the author can have a beef with beefreps deleting their question, the beefreps can have a beef with the author deleting the question. Those with less beef in their rep are fully permitted to argue against unapproved undeletion, make a case why it should be left deleted and maybe it will stay that way. But in the end, it's quite valid and permissible to undelete questions against the author's will.

Also, let them keep wearing the frocks, metaphorical or otherwise.

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Legitimate, if somewhat opaque description of the salient issue. –  Robert Harvey May 26 '10 at 15:48
    
(-1) I disagree. I feel that if an author wants to disavow himself from the question and delete it, they should be permitted. –  devinb May 27 '10 at 9:08

I was one of the people that voted to undelete.

Why? Because I thought that deep beneath your drivel, there was a worthy question, but thanks for bringing this up, as now I found that it was a duplicate.

As for your titles,

You'll take my frock away from me over my headless body!

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You stole that from wikipedia! –  Tyler Carter May 26 '10 at 17:33

This is a very valid concern. When users asks questions, they may not realize that the information is irrevocably stuck posted. If a user asks a foolish question, or a question that (accidentally) contains proprietary (breach of NDA) information, it is permanently attached to their user profile. The user discovers their mistake and deletes the question. Someone else (three people), not knowing why it was deleted are able to undo the deletion, and re publicize the information that the first user wanted off the site. This is problematic.

In the case of content which you want removed, editing still leaves it in edit history. Or, there is no way to edit the question that doesn't make you look stupid. Yes, the user is still at fault for asking the question, but we are talking about their means of recourse. They can edit or delete, both of which leave traces which can be undone against their will.

If a user wants their own question gone, they should be able to remove it. Yes, it will still end up available to the 10k users (of whom there are more and more) but the fact still stands that for whatever reason, the user does not want the information in the question on the internet anymore.

Summary: Self-deleted items should not be undeletable by 10k users.

Moderators and site-admins, as always, would still have the power to do so.

EDIT: Based on comments that have come up. I am suggesting that posts deleted by OPs can only be undeleted by OPs, moderators and admins. Questions deleted by the community can only be undeleted by the community, moderators and admins.

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Some notes: For questions which "other users might find useful." If it is not a duplicate, then let those other users ask those questions. For private information that needs to be deleted for legal reasons, they should contact team@stackoverflow.com anyway. But without doing that, they should be able to take measures of their own. –  devinb May 27 '10 at 9:28
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10k users should be able to destroy site content (vote to delete), but not be able to self-correct (vote to undelete)? –  Jon Seigel May 27 '10 at 11:11
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@Jon 10k users can vote to delete and vote to undelete. But those are community activities. I am talking strictly about the case in which the user deletes their own post. Essentially, I am saying that the undelete method should only be available to the class that deleted. If the community deletes a post, they can undelete it, and the user can't. This is correct. However, if a user deletes, why can the community undelete? –  devinb May 27 '10 at 11:39
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They shouldn't be able to supercede the users own intention to delete his/her question. The moderators, as always, can override if necessary. –  devinb May 27 '10 at 11:41
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I would agree, except that answers can be (and often are) attached to the question. These answers are not the work of the author, but the work of other people. You are therefore destroying other people's work when you delete your own question that has other people's answers on it. –  Robert Harvey May 27 '10 at 14:35
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@Robert This is true, and I'm not denying it. However, in the same way that whomever deletes a question (community or individual) should be able to undelete it. If a user actively does not want their question on the site, why is it right that we force it to be there. You have removed their control over their own words. –  devinb May 27 '10 at 14:48
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If it's really a big deal, a user can flag for moderator attention and request that the question be deleted and locked, or permanently deleted. 10K users are supposed to be the second line of defense against misbehavior - if the system can't trust them not to undelete capriciously, then it certainly shouldn't trust them to delete! –  Shog9 May 27 '10 at 18:32
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@Shog It's not capriciously that is the problem, it is a question of intention. The community can delete a question that it (the community) feels doesn't belong on SO. The author however, has their own reasons for deletion, and I don't feel that the community has the right to trump that. –  devinb May 27 '10 at 18:34
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@devinb: this goes back to an old, old discussion regarding what SO should provide in terms of tools for disowning posts. AFAIK, once something is posted here SO (and by extension, The Community) has a right to it - moreso in the case of questions that have been answered. But it should be possible for an author to disassociate himself from it... See: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/26844/… and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/36914/… –  Shog9 May 27 '10 at 18:40
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@Shog Disowning posts opens the doors to trolls. I was against that when it came up, and I still am. This isn't for situations where I feel that I'm ashamed, it's for situation where I feel it shouldn't be around at all, and I want it completely gone. –  devinb May 27 '10 at 18:47
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@devinb: so does deletion. You did take note of who wrote the stuff we're discussing, right? Anyway, as it stands, you have one vote that takes (at least) three others to override. If that isn't power enough, you should probably think twice about what you're writing, and/or do a better job of explaining why you don't think it should be brought back. Undeletion is fairly rare - if you delete something that others want back badly enough to find and vote for it, you should have to work to keep that from happening... –  Shog9 May 27 '10 at 18:51
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@Shog I'm aware that the user I'm allying myself with here is not a paragon of the ideal user, however, if someone fanstastic, like Gravell (bad example, he's a mod) or Jon Skeet, were to want to delete their own posts, we'd be more likely to believe that it should stay deleted. Anyway, I'm thoroughly convinced that you and I understand each other and still disagree (with valid reasons for each of us) =D So, I'm willing to let this discussion end amicably with me clearly (-5) not in the majority. –  devinb May 27 '10 at 19:28
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@devinb: I think we'd both agree that, in an ideal world, a post would be judged based on its content and not the ID of the user who posted it. It's risky business, making or changing rules based on a single example, good or bad. But in this case, I think it's worth remembering that Evan has plenty of deleted questions to his name, but few that others have found valuable enough to undelete (twice!) - IMHO, this speaks to the value of this feature: the community is able to recognize a post worth keeping, even when its author has a poor track record in this area. –  Shog9 May 27 '10 at 20:53
    
I imagine that if someone in the current system was sufficiently convinced that a self-deleted question was worthy of undeletion, then that person would not hesitate to flag for a moderator in the proposed system. If this does result in the undeletion of the question, then we've officially reduced the number of voices necessary from 3 undelete votes to 2 (the flagger and the moderator). It may even be faster, too, as moderators tend to tackle flagged posts pretty fast, most likely faster than another 2 10k might spot a specific deleted post. –  Grace Note May 28 '10 at 12:13
    
@ccomet this means that you are appealing to the moderators fixing something that we should be able to handle ourselves. But I do agree, that is a valid solution. –  devinb May 28 '10 at 12:18
up vote -6 down vote accepted

I wanted to mark his old answer as accepted, but he changed it. So I'm going to repost it here and accept it. This is from devinb, you can find his profile here Maybe some day StackOverflow will permit us to accept prior revisions. I've redacted the parts that are nonsense.

answered 12 hours ago devinb 8,5392735

Remarkably, I actually agree with Evan, although, as always, his aggressive attitude clouds the actual merit of anything he says.

This is a valid concern. If a user asks a question, and then they realize that it is terrible, or for whatever reason, they want it deleted. (perhaps they accidentally posted information which is private, or professionally detrimental, or just a case of brain freeze). There is currently no way for them to actually delete it. They can "soft delete", which means that everyone over 10k can still see it, AND it can still be reopened. This is problematic.

In the case of content which you want removed, editing still leaves it in edit history. And even still, perhaps the question itself concerns intellectual property, or algorithms which are not supposed to be publicized. Yes, the user is at fault for asking the question, but we are talking about their means of recourse.

If a user wants their own question gone, they should be able to remove it. Permanently. Yes, it will still end up available to the 10k users (of whom there are more and more) but the fact still stands that for whatever reason, the user does not want the information in the question on the internet anymore.

Summary: Self-deleted items should not be undeletable by 10k users.

Moderators and site-admins, as always, would still have the power to do so.

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Thank you for allowing me to downvote this woeful proposition three times, as I emphatically disagree. –  perbert May 27 '10 at 22:43
    
You can always flag for the moderator or contact the SO Team to get a hard delete. –  Lance Roberts May 27 '10 at 23:20
    
I actually redacted those parts myself. Because, as you note, they are not relevant to the question. –  devinb May 28 '10 at 6:18

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