I can see my deleted answers. Will they ever be purged from the system, either manually or automatically? Does this kind of "deleted post cleanup" occur periodically, or will all deleted answers typically remain in the system until the end of time?

  • You might want to support Answers quickly deleted by owner should be permanently deleted.
    – Arjan
    Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 16:46
  • @Arjan did that already. But just wanted to know if questions are even deleted permanently ever. Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 16:48
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    @hammar no I'm not asking whether I can do it. I'm asking whether they are ever deleted or not by someone else without me requesting to. Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 16:49
  • Nope, they'll remain in the system till the end of time. Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 16:53
  • Any particular reason why you want to know? Lasse's answer covers the question itself.
    – agf
    Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 16:53

1 Answer 1


At the moment, content posted on Stack Overflow is never deleted, except if you plead to The Team and have them exercise their SQL magic directly on the databases.

Not only can you see your own deleted posts, but all 10K+ rep users can see them as well.

So no, they're not automatically deleted in any way or at any time.

  • 4
    As an aside: not sure if that needs plain SQL magic; it seems the developers have magic buttons on these sites!
    – Arjan
    Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 17:49
  • 4
    As an aside: there's also auto-removal of negatively voted unanswered old questions after 30 days, and auto-removal of old unanswered zero score questions with very few views, after a year. I assume these are soft-deleted too, but maybe these are deleted permanently?
    – Arjan
    Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 17:53
  • 3
    Thats just sad. Commented Oct 1, 2011 at 10:15
  • 2
    Sha Dow Wiz Ard just confirmed that auto-removals are soft-deletions too.
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 10, 2012 at 12:19
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    This is against the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules! I'm not a lawyer, but this means that this interface is illegal to be use as much as I understand. Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 7:54
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    No, GDPR is intended to protect people. When you contribute content to these sites you are giving these sites the right to that content. You can, however, be asked to be disassociated with the content, in which case your personal information will be removed. Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 9:04
  • @Ronen Ariely uhm, GDPR only applies to personal information, which means that the law is absolutely not applicable on SE! Yep, the only thing they really have to delete as far as I understand it (and I had 2 1,5-hour lectures about it) is the email address in your account if you delete it
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 9:31
  • True but not accurate @Hobbamok . How come it can be true but not accurate?!? Well it is true as general sentence but not being able to delete your messages means that you cannot delete it if you mistakenly add personal information. Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 13:19
  • No one is anonymized when contributing to SE nor publication are endorsed by SE... just because we agreed to give the "right" of the content to SE does not permit to SE to bypass GDPR! this is not facebook/google in term of content otherwise SE would have some legal troubles because the current situation is at the limit of legality if not illegal... i don't really get the point here because the questioned data are not really useful to SE... at least we still have the possibility to delete our account all together
    – intika
    Commented Feb 12, 2020 at 8:04

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