We can vote to mark our own posts for deletion, but we cannot delete them ourselves, a moderator or admin must do it. What rationale is there for this behavior? I can think of instances where the answer is useful in some way, has upvotes or comments, and deleting should be requested rather than committed. But, does it seem reasonable to allow users to delete their own posts under certain circumstances as well?

For example, consider PHP Force Download Help.

  1. The question was modified after I answered, and the new edit provided nearly the same code I suggested.
  2. I answered at the same time as a few others, and the selected answer is nearly the same, but provides the little extra information that makes it more useful.

I noticed all this before the accepted answer was even accepted, and my answer was rendered moot, not exactly helpful, and (not really in this case, but potentially others) could be misleading. Also, I have no upvotes or comments.

In this case, doesn't it seem reasonable to allow me to just delete the answer and move on?


So apparently, when I was deleting my post, it was being deleted, but this was not terribly obvious. First, the delete link asks "Vote to delete this post?" which makes it seem as though it may or may not be deleted, but you (as the owner) vote to delete it. Second, it still appears to you (as the owner) and any friends that have a reputation of 10k or higher, and not all of them realize that they can view deleted posts. In combination, it seems like the post was not deleted at all. Also, it is never actually being deleted, just hidden from <10k users.

As Benjol mentioned, perhaps the link text should be changed to 'hide' or 'supress' or something similar.

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    You can delete your answer, unless it is a rep thing I am missing. There is a delete link. You can't delete posts that have a certain amount of answers provided because there could be useful information in the answers despite the question. Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 20:06
  • In the question linked, I clicked delete on my answer only to get an information box stating I could "Vote" for the answer to be deleted, which I did. Checked back shortly thereafter, it was still there waiting for a moderator or admin or such. So, I clicked the undelete link to leave it around for an example. Why can't I be responsible for my own answers? Perhaps rep plays into this, but again, it is my own answer.
    – steveo225
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 20:11
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    Good question. I can delete my own answers/posts but I have 9k of rep. Deleting posts/questions is not listed as a privilege: stackoverflow.com/privileges Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 20:15
  • I have about 800 rep, barely enough to do anything. Oddly, I can delete my comments without approval.
    – steveo225
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 20:18
  • Related meta.stackexchange.com/questions/73765/…
    – phwd
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 20:34
  • The Subscriber Content is under these terms (para 3) which states that you allow your content to be licensed under CC-by-SA which has a moral rights clause stating that the author has the right "...to request removal of their name from the work when used in a derivative...". But again, you can only request for a removal and that too if the derivative use is derogatory. And SE allows you to request for deletion which is tied to moderator approval/votes/rep, does that satisfy the terms? IANAL
    – abel
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 20:54
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    Related: Why do I have to 'vote to delete' my own answer?
    – Arjan
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 21:35
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    Your answer at that link is deleted, and the note indicates it was deleted by owner. It will still be visible to you, and 10k users, but no one else.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 4:08
  • You can delete, and indeed have deleted your answer... Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 6:22
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    @Marc, delete: from Latin dēlēre to destroy, obliterate
    – Benjol
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 12:14
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    Re your edit: "Vote to delete" is indeed very misleading. Personally, I have more problems with "vote" than with "delete". It's already 2 years ago that Jeff declined to edit that message. But maybe one should try again and convince him that updating the client-side javascript does justify the required code work. Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 12:18

2 Answers 2


If you saw an undelete link, chances are you were successful in deleting your answer. After you voted to delete, did the answer have a red background? If so, the answer really was deleted, but the system still allows you (and 10k+ users, if they happen on the containing question) to view it.

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    I believe the only time this wouldn't work is if the answer was accepted by the asker.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 21:13
  • 1
    – mmyers
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 21:22
  • @mmyers, if the post you're linking to was accepted, and then deleted (by its author), then the FAQ might need a revision: "You can't delete your answer if it has been accepted."
    – Arjan
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 21:34
  • @Arjan: I linked to the post mentioned in the question. steveo225 had indeed deleted and undeleted it several times.
    – mmyers
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 21:46
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    This is misleading and confusing, because obviously if the system can show you your answer it didn't delete it as such, although it did hide it from public view. Asking you to "vote" to delete your own answer just adds to the confusion.
    – Wooble
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 3:47
  • Also, logging out (or using another browser, or some incognito mode) will show the author that is has been deleted.
    – Arjan
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 5:45

I remember being surprised/troubled by this in the distant past. Not sure if I ever got as fast as mentioning it here (or on uservoice). (update found it: "Another problem is that when you do delete your own answer, you can still see it, (...) How about collapsing deleted answers?"

Why does it say 'vote'?

Come to that, why does it say 'delete'? For me, delete means gone for ever, disappeared, is no more1.

How about 'hide', 'withdraw', 'suppress, 'revoke' or 'retract'?

1. Think of the parrot

  • That perhaps is the problem. It said vote for delete, then it still showed up for me, and a friend (but the 10K rep explains that) so it appeared that it had not actually been deleted.
    – steveo225
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 11:51
  • +1 for "Why does it say 'vote'". (See also my comment to the question; this has indeed troubled people in the distant past.) Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 12:20
  • I think the reasoning behind "delete" instead of something like "hide" is so that newbies don't get confused with the wording. As they progress through the site and learn that 10k and mods can view deleted things, they already shouldn't be caring what it means.
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 4:33

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