When a post is edited, there is a field into which the editor can enter a summary of the changes or reasons for changing someone else's post. Should there be a similar field when deleting a post of your own?

Granted, many question deletions are because the question is voted down or the user realized the answer before any answers were posted, and many answer deletions are due to down votes or (often and) the answer is incorrect. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes I come across a deleted answer with a positive score, and I'm not certain why it was deleted. Maybe a moderator thought the answer was better placed as a comment, or maybe the answerer thought the solution wasn't so helpful after all, or maybe he just really wanted the Disciplined Badge. In any event, it might be nice to have the option to leave a comment as to why (even if this feature only exists for posts with a nonnegative score).

  • +1. I find it extremely disconcerting when something I've written is deleted (whether it's on SE or elsewhere on the 'nets) and I don't have a good reason why. – Adam Maras Nov 21 '11 at 23:08
  • How would you address vote-based deletion? With a list of reason-for-deletion choices? – Michael Petrotta Nov 21 '11 at 23:14
  • @MichaelPetrotta That isn't the issue I'm raising. There should be one reason/comment for a deleted post that the person deleting it adds. If it's the user, then it's a comment such as "I realized this is wrong" or "I really want the Disciplined Badge". If it's a moderator, then something like "This should be a comment" or just select the most appropriate choice among a fixed list. – PengOne Nov 21 '11 at 23:17
  • I don't understand your response. Are you excluding vote-based deletions from your proposed requirement? If so, you should make that clear in your proposal. – Michael Petrotta Nov 21 '11 at 23:18
  • @MichaelPetrotta No, I'm saying there should be a text entry field where you can put whatever you like. If a moderator is doing the deleting, then perhaps there could be a moderator tool to make it easier, but not being a moderator, I don't know about those things. As with closed questions, a deleted-by-vote question can just post the most commonly cited reason. – PengOne Nov 21 '11 at 23:21
  • Obviously, it doesn't make sense to post the "most commonly cited reason" from multiple free-text values. Your request would require a list of canned deletion reasons (just like "not a real question" and "off-topic" for close votes). It might make your request more clear if you made an initial cut of those reasons. – Michael Petrotta Nov 21 '11 at 23:24
  • If a moderator (or anyone else, really) feels the need to add a deletion reason, they can already do so by leaving a comment on the post. Also, there's already a "convert to comment" option that's used on answers that should be comments and that shows the OP the "your answer was converted to a comment" message. No idea why everyone else still sees the usual "deleted by X" message in that scenario, though. – Adam Lear Nov 21 '11 at 23:26
  • @Shog9: This isn't my question. I want a field for user deleted questions and (especially) answers. This is not the same as requiring a reason from voters or moderators. – PengOne Nov 21 '11 at 23:49
  • @AnnaLear Really? Because when I delete my own answers, I see no such option to leave a comment. Perhaps I've missed it. Could you explain where it is? – PengOne Nov 21 '11 at 23:50
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    You have the option to leave a comment on anything you post, @Peng. Assuming you haven't already deleted it, of course. However, I've edited to reflect that you're not talking about moderator-deletion, and re-opened. – Shog9 Nov 21 '11 at 23:54

This is already possible - anything you can delete, you can also leave a comment on.

So leave a comment, and then delete. Anyone who can still view the deleted post can also view the comment.

If you forget to comment before deleting, you could also just edit in a small explanation.

I rather suspect it's not the lack of functionality, but simply the lack of desire that keeps most deleted posts from having a reason attached to them. After all, they probably think - who's gonna read it?

  • I just actually whiffed on this when posting on the wrong site by mistake... I left a flag, which evidently was a no-no. I expected to be able to comment after hitting delete, which I could not, and looking at the post now I can't actually edit in an explanation either. Think it's worth making a feature request to allow a user to comment on their own post they deleted? – NReilingh Jan 15 '14 at 1:44

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