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When following a permalink to an answer that has been deleted, most viewers get to see the question instead. (The browser cannot find the <div id="answer-xx" ...> to scroll to, unless one has enough reputation to see deleted posts.) Most of the time this is nice, but it can be confusing.

For those who cannot see deleted posts:

  1. Could some warning be shown when this happens? If yes, then maybe even including the reason like on the recently enhanced 404 page? Such as:

    The answer you were linked to has been deleted for reasons of moderation.

  2. An alternative could be to show an actual 404 page. To ensure people can then still find the related question, that question should then be linked on that 404 page too.

I guess I'd rather keep the current behavior instead of a 404 page. I assume showing the question when an answer is deleted is very much on purpose, if only for search engines? I like it too.

Like for some time, following links to deleted answers from the global Inbox did show a 404. In that Inbox, links to answers actually use the URLs for questions. Like /questions/75129/whatever where 75129 really is the answer, not the question. For deleted answers this used to show a 404 for those with limited access rights. But nowadays it always redirects to the full URL, where the browser won't scroll for those who cannot see deleted answers. I like that better.

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1 Answer 1

This seems like such an edge condition.

If you were interested in one answer to a question, certainly the other non-deleted answers to the question would also be of interest and should suffice?

Perhaps if all the answers were deleted, but now we've sailed beyond edge conditions off into the sea of insanity...

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I guess this most often happens to me on MSO, following links to sources of all kinds of statements. But true: that is hardly a reason to change things. Still, just for the record: even some high reputation user can sometimes be confused, like in the 4th comment here. That said, I guess you can somehow tell from log files if this indeeds happens a lot (if at all) for external links? – Arjan Apr 23 '11 at 10:51
(That 4th comment stating "the last question which you linked" while actually the link referred to a (deleted) answer.) – Arjan Apr 23 '11 at 10:53

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