I'd like to suggest that the content of deleted answers, which is visible to 10k+ users, be hidden from view by default. Often times you'll see a user edit their deleted answer and replace it with something like this:

<! -- Replacing answer with comment so Jon Skeet won't see my ignorance -->

To clarify, I'm not suggesting that the answer be removed from the page altogether, just collapsed (for lack of a better word). Not only will this clean up the interface, it will hide those shameful moments that we've all had from public view.

Here's an example:

Collapsed answer example

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    I kind of like this idea. As long as there was a button to expand the answer's content back out. It was deleted for a reason, after all. The content of the answer is not all that important. – Josh Darnell May 10 '12 at 14:52
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    That's a really naïve edit. No matter what you say or do, Jon Skeet sees everything. – BoltClock's a Unicorn May 10 '12 at 14:55
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    Can we have it as a global per-user setting if this is implemented? I don't want to have to click expand on all 20 deleted answers on a question just to see if something is a re-post. (I.e. the setting is "always start hidden" or "always start visible" – Flexo May 10 '12 at 14:58
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    How often do people submit edits like these? How much would the behavior be reduced if "auto-collapse" were implemented? How many people does this affect? My guess is that the answer to all three questions is "very little." – Pops May 10 '12 at 15:14
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    @PopularDemand, HTML comment edits aside, this feature would be first and foremost a noise-reduction feature for 10k+ users. – James Hill May 10 '12 at 15:16
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    @BoltClock'saUnicorn I LOL'ed at that comment. The first sentence had me thinking you were going somewhere else than your second. – Andrew Barber May 10 '12 at 15:16
  • @awoodland I wonder if a compromise possibility is appropriate: Not display deleted answers at all, but simply display at the bottom, "There are X deleted answers" and a link to load them all. Paged views that contain only deleted answers would simply show them. (thinking really long, really old CW posts with lots of deleted answers) – Andrew Barber May 10 '12 at 15:17
  • @Andrew that might work or an "expand all on this question" button would do. I don't quite see the problem though - the deleted answers are off the bottom of the screen unless I'm specifically looking for them most of the time. – Flexo May 10 '12 at 15:18
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    -1, I like seeing the full content of deleted answers always. – user7116 May 10 '12 at 15:23
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    I asked about the noise level a long time ago, only half-jokingly. The consensus seemed to be that deleted posts were barely an annoyance. I don't think things have gotten markedly worse in the past two years. – Pops May 10 '12 at 15:25
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    This may seem flip, but it's an honest question: since deleted stuff is already pushed to the bottom of the screen, why don't you just stop scrolling when you see the posts with red backgrounds? – Pops May 10 '12 at 15:36
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    @Popular Demand: Because I have to scroll past them to reach the answer field. (I could press the End key instead, but that's really beside the point.) – BoltClock's a Unicorn May 10 '12 at 15:40
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    Good point about the scrolling. I never really had an issue with that, but I'm not conscious of my browsing habits... I could be using End more than I realize. As for #2, since the system uses soft deletion, someone has to look at deleted content to make sure it's not being abused. It seems reasonable to assign that responsibility to high-rep users. If you want to switch from soft deletion to hard deletion... well, that's a valid feature request, but I don't see you having a lot of luck with it. – Pops May 10 '12 at 15:50
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    I guess I'm wondering what sort of questions are you answering that have that many "incorrect/irrelevant" answers? Usually those are crap questions you should be closing rather than answering. – user7116 May 10 '12 at 16:43
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    @JamesHill: this seemed like an broad feature request. – user7116 May 10 '12 at 17:17

For the few (brilliant) people who voted this up, the Chrome extension can be found on StackApps - Stack Exchange - Deleted Answer Manager.

Here's a screenshot that highlights the functionality of the script. Additional information is posted on StackApps.

Functionality screenshot


This functionality has been rolled into a Google Chrome extension and is available on the Chrome Web Store!

  • @James if you want, I can host this on GitHub+StackApps so that it can be installed by a single click. (or do it yourself) – Manishearth May 10 '12 at 17:34
  • @TimManishEarth, This is my first UserScript, so this stuff is pretty foreign to me. Is putting it on StackApps difficult? I assume the user would still be required to install TamperMonkey? – James Hill May 10 '12 at 17:41
  • @JamesHill Yeah, you still need Greasemonkey/whatever on firefox. Chrome has default userscript support. StackApps is easy, you just post it as a question there. See my StackApps posts for examples. The issue is, for one-click installing, you need to have the script hosted somewhere. I use GitHub for it (see my posts for how it works out). Adding your script to GitHub is easy for me. If you don't have an account, its harder since you have to set it up. You can alternatively use GitHub gist, much easier. – Manishearth May 10 '12 at 18:10
  • I'm proposing this: I'll put your script in my github repo(tomorrow though), and I'll let you write the StackApps post once I'm done. – Manishearth May 10 '12 at 18:11
  • Actually, just copy-paste the code here: gist.github.com after creating an account. Easier :). The "raw file" link that you get after saving is the installation link. – Manishearth May 10 '12 at 18:13
  • @TimManishEarth, I just created a gist.hithub - seem to be working OK. I'll post to StackApps tomorrow. Thanks for your help and suggestion! I'll have to clean the thing up a bit before I post it – James Hill May 10 '12 at 18:14
  • Awesome! If you're planning on making lots of userscripts, you may later want to move them to a dedicated repository. – Manishearth May 11 '12 at 6:27
  • @TimManishEarth, I added it to stack apps. Let me know what you think: stackapps.com/questions/3408/…. – James Hill May 12 '12 at 15:01
  • Yeah, you did it correctly; though I personally prefer git/gist install links. No issue with userscripts.org, though :) – Manishearth May 13 '12 at 10:14

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