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I noticed that in some Q&A sites, deleted answers appear for more time than in other Q&A sites.
Is that because the answers are manually removed, or because a setting that is different from site to site?

For example, in http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/1688/is-it-normal-to-separate-hyphenated-words-on-different-lines, I can still see my answer (http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/1688/is-it-normal-to-separate-hyphenated-words-on-different-lines/1697#1697), which appears with a different background color. I see the links link, edit, undelete, and flag; under those links I read deleted by owner 9 hours ago. There is just a comment that is mine.

For how long will I be able to undelete the answer I deleted?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Deleted answers appear to the owner and to 10K and diamond mods. There is no noticeable time-delay: it happens immediately.

Deleted answers (and questions, if you're in the mood) will appear with a pinkish gray background.

Other users will not see the deleted answer in the stream of others.

For how long will I be able to undelete the answer I deleted?

Forever. Posts can generally only be soft-deleted.

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That is not what I am observing on english.stackexchange.com, where I have been able to see an answer I gave 27 minutes after I deleted it (and maybe more). –  kiamlaluno Aug 24 '10 at 0:37
    
Deleted answers that are still there might have been undeleted by a mod. Check its life with /posts/[answerID]/revisions @kia –  random Aug 24 '10 at 0:40
    
@random: The link "undelete" was still present in the answer; if I understand what you mean, and the answer was undeleted, then I should see the link "delete". I also noticed the text "Deleted by the owner". –  kiamlaluno Aug 24 '10 at 0:44
    
For example, in english.stackexchange.com/questions/1688/…, I can still see my answer, which appears with a different background color. I see the links link, edit, undelete, and flag; under those links I read deleted by owner 9 hours ago. There is just a comment that is mine. –  kiamlaluno Aug 24 '10 at 0:52
1  
The shade of grey is there to show you the sadness as no-one else (apart from you, moderators and 10k users) will be able to see it. @kia –  random Aug 24 '10 at 0:59
    
@kiamlaluno - That means it is "deleted" then. Deletion leaves it in that state. I don't think they ever actually get purged. –  Martin Smith Aug 24 '10 at 1:00
1  
@kia Just confirming that I cannot see an answer from you in that question at this moment in time. (I am looking at the question in a browser that is not logged into the site.) –  George Marian Aug 24 '10 at 1:02

There are 3 ways an answer can be deleted:

  1. The post owner manually deletes it.
  2. A diamond moderator manually deletes it.
  3. The answer is deleted as part of a question deletion, which can be done by the question owner (subject to a set of criteria that determines overall question value), diamond moderators, and 3 (or more, subject to question value criteria) 10k users after the question has been closed for 2 days.

There are also 3 ways an answer can be undeleted:

  1. The post owner manually undeletes it.
  2. A diamond moderator manually undeletes it.
  3. The answer is undeleted as part of a question undeletion, which can be done by the question owner (under certain conditions? I'm not sure), diamond moderators, and 3 or more 10k users (subject to the criteria above) with no time limit since the question was deleted.

This all assumes that the answer isn't locked, in which case only a diamond moderator can delete or undelete (I believe they must release the lock first, though).

There are no time limits on when you can delete or undelete your own posts, and delete/undelete votes do not expire like close votes do. AFAIK, deleted content sticks around forever, unless there's been a policy change I'm not aware of. (Or, one of the devs has been mucking in the database, but that's exceedingly rare.)

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I thought I deleted an answer before, and I didn't see it anymore. What you describe has been always so, or has it been recently changed? –  kiamlaluno Aug 24 '10 at 5:58
    
@kia: I haven't heard of any change to this system, although that doesn't mean it hasn't been changed. I would suggest asking a question about this on the English site's Meta. A mod there should be able to look into it. –  Jon Seigel Aug 24 '10 at 16:52

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