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Please excuse if this a moderator newbie question but, is there a way to ask someone why they deleted their own question?

I provided an answer to http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4520387/windows-phone-7-userextendedproperties today. After revising the answer to give the asker all the info they needed they added a comment to say the answer was what they needed and then they promptly deleted the question.

Surely if it's a good answer it's worth saving the question and answer for the future benefit of others.

How do we inform people that this is not how the system is supposed to work?

I've previously (before getting moderator tool access) noticed questions with multiple useful answers suddenly disappear. (So I don't think this is an isolated case.) Surely for the sake of preserving answers which may be useful to others there needs to be a way to discourage deleting things which may be useful to others.

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It has enough undelete votes now. –  Pëkka Dec 23 '10 at 22:21
    
I tend to delete a lot of my answers because often a few seconds before I can submit it, a bar will scroll down from the top informing me at n amount of new answers were added and if they're duplicates of my answer, I more often than not just delete mine. –  stealthyninja Dec 24 '10 at 10:35
    
@stealthyninja this was about deleting questions though, not answers –  Matt Lacey Dec 24 '10 at 13:27
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I've twice now in the last 24 hours had a user (I think!) delete his own question while I was answering. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/73200/… So frustrating! –  marcog Dec 24 '10 at 14:42
    
Uhm, it's a comment I made which I felt was related since you're in effect complaining about your answers being removed because a question gets deleted. Perhaps questions are being removed because the asker found a duplicate when they looked down at the related list on the right. –  stealthyninja Dec 24 '10 at 16:51

2 Answers 2

why they deleted their own question?

My guess is that they don't want evidence that they didn't know something.

Now, the solution that just might help a little would be to add this message when user tries to delete the question without upvoted answers.

Please, don't delete your question if you feel that answers or even the question itself might be useful to other users!

or something like that added to the delete question dialog showing on first n deleted own questions, would suffice.

Now, I haven't really answered your question how to ask someone who already deleted the question. I have no idea what would be most appropriate, however I think that showing this before they delete it would help.

It's a free rider problem. They get their answer, but refuse to let others benefit from it. Unfortunately, that makes my "Ask them nicely" approach next to useless, but it's the best I've got.

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I thought of that too. Also wondered if it would be possible to add comments on deleted questions. But I guess that there's probably good reasons not to.? –  Matt Lacey Dec 23 '10 at 22:34
    
@Matt: Perhaps not to comment, but this example shows that it should be possible to flag them for moderators attention. Then, moderators may undelete it like now. But, the thing is that only 10k users would be able to flag them, as only they see deleted posts. –  Goran Jovic Dec 23 '10 at 22:42
    
It's nice that this question has been reopened but I'm unsure that having to spot and call out occurrences like this is the best way to deal with this situation. Maybe it isn't but it's currently the best options we've got. If so, I'll live with that. (for now - at least) –  Matt Lacey Dec 23 '10 at 22:53

Note that we prevent question deletion when a question has a certain # of answers, or upvotes on the answers.

However, it is possible to delete a question in some circumstances, usually quickly after it was created or if it has few answers that don't get upvoted much, if at all.

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fair enough. I guess I just spend to much time in a tag where questions only ever seem to get a few answers/upvotes. :) –  Matt Lacey Dec 23 '10 at 23:04

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