This seems like it should be mentioned somewhere, but I tried to find something about it, and came up blank.

Today, I posted a fairly lengthy answer to a question, with examples, etc. In other words, I spent a bit of time on it. But later, I checked back and saw no evidence of my answer, and found out that the original question was removed by the author with no explanation.

I felt bad about losing all that work I put into the answer, and I didn't even have a copy of it myself in case it's either asked in another area or some other forum.

Is this a common occurence, or was it perhaps some sort of bad timing for me? I like to help people out, but sometimes it seems like a lot of work, and in this case, was totally wasted.

  • Do you know or have a link to this question?
    – Naftali
    Mar 27, 2012 at 20:52
  • You might have been subject to the Help Vampire P0rblem.
    – Naftali
    Mar 27, 2012 at 20:53
  • @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA I don't think he has the link to the question, otherwise he wouldn't have asked, no? :P
    – Alenanno
    Mar 27, 2012 at 20:57
  • 4
    Marty - can you check your browser history and find a link to the question? 10K users will be able to open it and take a look Mar 27, 2012 at 20:59
  • 2
    I undeleted the question and left a comment for the asker. There may have been a valid reason for it, but it does seem a bit rude.
    – Shog9
    Mar 27, 2012 at 22:38
  • @Shog9: I saw that the question was undeleted; thank you for that. And welcome to AskUbuntu as a new moderator. To everyone else, thanks for you interest and help; I did have the link in my history, which was how I saw that it had been removed with no explanation. Mar 27, 2012 at 22:58
  • 1
    @Marty: Not a new moderator on AU, just stepping in because you'd posted this here instead of on meta.AU ;-)
    – Shog9
    Mar 27, 2012 at 23:03
  • Oh, darn, I thought maybe a new moderator had been found. I'm still a bit new around here, so I'm sorry if I posted in the wrong place; I thought this would be the place for all general questions, so I asked here. Then again, this worked pretty well... :-) Mar 27, 2012 at 23:10
  • @All: By the way, if anyone's interested, the original question was askubuntu.com/q/116498/39753. Mar 27, 2012 at 23:11

2 Answers 2


It was bad timing, in that the asker wouldn't have been able to do this if your answer had had an upvote.

It's impossible to know why the asker chose to delete his question; a few reasons come to mind:

  • He realized his question was based on a flawed assumption, and decided to rescind it. Your answer didn't help him because what he asked wasn't what he meant to ask. The question may still be useful to future visitors, though.

  • He is new and thought he should delete his question now that he's obtained an answer. He shouldn't have done that, and the question should be restored.

  • He is ashamed of his question or has revealed too much about confidential matters. If this is a serious issue, the question can be anonymized or the confidential information can be removed, and then the question can be restored.

Undeleting takes 3 votes from users with 10k reputation or a moderator. Do you still have the link to the question? If you do, anyone with 10k reputation (e.g. me, if it's on Stack Overflow) can give you the contents. If you don't, only a moderator can find the link.

  • 2
  • @sixlettervariables Accepting still lets the asker delete (he could unaccept then delete anyway). But an answer with an upvote (or rather a positive score) prevents the asker from deleting his question. P.S. Thanks for fixing my typo. Mar 27, 2012 at 21:16
  • I read it as upvote/accept interchangeably for some reason.
    – user7116
    Mar 27, 2012 at 21:19
  • Thanks for the good points you made about why it may have been deleted. Although the moderator must have seen this post and undeleted the question, I don't yet know why it was deleted. I don't really think it was anything personal, but your post give me insight as to why it might happen. Mar 27, 2012 at 23:11

I mostly (but sometimes forget to) keep a copy of both the question and my answer on my local drive.

That way it can actually be a jackpot if the original poster deletes their question. – Because you can then re-post it along with your answer, and possibly start earning reputation on both the question and the answer. – Just make sure that you attribute the question to its original asker.

If you don't have saved copies, then do what Gilles suggests at the end of their answer:
ask nicely in the meta forum of your site someone to hand over the Q&A.
Anyone with 10k+ in reputation on the site should be able to do so.

  • All users (via the completion of Show all of my question/answers to me even if they are deleted) have permanent access to all questions and answers that they've ever written with the "deleted" links at the bottom of the Questions and Answers activity pages (Eg. Deleted Questions, Deleted Answers) For answers, this includes access to the parent question– no offline storage necessarily needed.
    – zcoop98
    Feb 25, 2022 at 16:55
  • That everyone has been able to view all of their own deleted posts has been the case for a very long time, if you had a link to the page your post is on. The issue, which has recently been resolved (see the question @zcoop98 linked above), was that it was difficult for users with < 10k reputation to see a list of their deleted content (see that linked Q&A for details of what was possible). So, while storing a local copy of your content isn't a bad idea, it is not, and was not, necessary in order to have access to your contributed content. You just needed the URL to the post.
    – Makyen
    Feb 25, 2022 at 17:11

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