This has happened to me at least 3 times in the past few weeks. Basically, a user asks a question. I put some time and thought in an answer and reply to their question. I come back a bit later to see if they have commented on my answer and I don't have any notifications. Fine then, I check my list of recent answers but I can't find it in there. Perplexed, I check my browser history and retrace the question only to find that it's been deleted by the author.

I'm not sure what the purpose of this is, but perhaps someone could clear it up for me? Why do people do that? Is it because they realized what the answer was themselves? In this case, they should probably post an answer and accept it, to help other people who will encounter the same problem? Maybe from the answers they were given, they realized that the question's answer was obvious, and are ashamed of having asked it? Even in this case, I still don't think they should delete the question, but instead accept an answer and thus reward those who gave time answering their question, and maybe help others with the same problem in the future.

Am I the only one seeing this or is this a common problem? I wish I could retrace all the times this has happened to me. Is there something that can be done against this?

  • 36
    +1 this really, really sucks.
    – Pekka
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:17
  • Well, to be fair to the OP in that one link it really doesn't need to be a question preserved in the annals of history. Too Localized would be my vote to close if they didn't already delete it.
    – user7116
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:19
  • 9
    Bringing it here is probably the right thing to do when the question is valid, they shouldn't be deleted. People wishing to hide the fact that they cheated on a homework assignment, or got code off the internet against work policy, or asked a stupid question, etc. should request to have their posts anonymized.
    – user154510
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:20
  • Is there any way at all to see all questions for which you have given an answer to? I could then check which ones have been deleted, compile a list and have someone with over 10k rep look at them and judge if it was justified.
    – Xeon06
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:22
  • 2
    @six that is true, but it is unacceptable as a strategy to keep "dumb" questions out of one's profile while still getting answers for them. It deprives the answerer from the possibility to be rewarded for their answer - even the possibility to see it
    – Pekka
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:22
  • 2
    For the record, this is only the second time this happened to you in the past few weeks; here's the other one.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:23
  • @Pekka: if they have a history of that behavior I'd be inclined to agree. In this case it looks like he had a brain fart moment and corrected his own problem (who knows if Xeon06 contributed to the fix), no sense in leaving it around.
    – user7116
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:24
  • 1
    @balpha Thanks for that. The other one I was thinking about was this (stackoverflow.com/questions/7637553/…). I managed to convince the OP not to delete it in the comments under the question. He deleted his own comments inquiring about the deletion, so it hardly makes sense now.
    – Xeon06
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:26
  • @balpha: additionally, for that one I can't imagine the missing $ to be the fix to the problem (PHP throws an error). Seems like another "brain fart" moment on the OP's part. Another candidate for Too Localized/deletion.
    – user7116
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:29
  • Someone seems to have undeleted the questions. I am unsure whether an agreement had been reached as of yet as to what should be done with those, so I'll just warn people here that they have been undeleted.
    – Xeon06
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:34
  • Reading the comments now... not sure if I should have undeleted those. Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:35
  • @Bill, maybe you can somehow confirm that questions can't be deleted if an answer has been upvoted, this'll close this topic and you can redelete those questions. I hardly care about those answers, but I wanted to make sure that the site itself was proofed against this kind of behavior.
    – Xeon06
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:38
  • @Xeon06: I confirmed that there is some protection in place against this, so I went ahead and re-deleted those posts. Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:47
  • All good then. Thanks for the help folks.
    – Xeon06
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:48
  • @six I agree with your comment from 15:24:18.
    – Pekka
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


If I'm not mistaken, the OP can't delete a post unilaterally if there are any upvoted answers. If this is becoming a widespread problem, people need to vote more.

From the FAQ:

You can't delete your question if it has more than one answer, if an answer has been upvoted, or it has been closed for less than 48 hours.

  • If it's effectively the case, then this would solve it.
    – Xeon06
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:34
  • They didn't get upvotes because they were low quality questions. If they were worth asking, they'll get asked again.
    – user7116
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:39
  • 8
    @sixlettervariables It's the answers that need to be upvoted to prevent deletion. Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:40
  • @Bill is this 100% confirmed?
    – Xeon06
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:43
  • @Xeon06: Yes, it's confirmed. Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:46
  • The thing is that it's impossible for us to find out whether this is a becoming a widespread problem. We have no access to the data.
    – Pekka
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 16:02
  • 2
    @Xeon06, see Does systematic self-deleting need to be prevented? about the implementation, since January 2011.
    – Arjan
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 16:33

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