I typically vote to delete most closed questions immediately. However, many times I withhold the delete vote because there is a solution to the OP's problem in the comments and I want them to receive it. Usually something like the resolution to a trivial parse error. Assume the OP is a 1 rep user with no privileges, and can't normally view deleted posts.

Often the question is deleted in the first 5 minutes but there's been no response to comments, the "last seen" is older than the replies, and I assume they haven't seen them (maybe the author is out getting lunch).

This seems like a bad reason to not delete something that deserves removal, but I want them to get their "answer" (because I am a nice guy) and I don't want them to try re-asking the question. I assume they can't access their post after it's deleted, and it affects my behavior moderating the site.

Clarification: I'm talking mainly about unsalvagable posts, ones that are solved by fixing a trivial parse error or typo, that cannot be possibly edited into something useful or be relevant to anybody except the author. These are the ones I always vote to delete immediately, rather than let it hang around for months/years until 3 20K users happen to see it again. I am not suggesting that all closed questions deserve to be deleted

When a question is closed and deleted, is the author able to view it? I've never had a question deleted (as far as I know). What happens from the author's point of view when their question hits the trash can?

If the author CANNOT view his comments/replies, then consider this a .

  • It's affecting my moderation behavior (and others I've talked to) by causing me to withhold delete votes
  • It's can lead to duplicate questions, since the OP has no clue what happened
  • It does not help the author understand what they did wrong, and what can be done to prevent it in the future (so, more low quality questions)

Consider this:

I've just stumbled across this poorly worded question - if you look through the comments it appears that the user previously asked an identical question that was deleted - it occurred to me that this question may well have been deleted before the poster had a chance to read any of the comments / feedback on that question, and may not have even realised that his question was deleted (hence the identical repost).

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    related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2645/… – Lance Roberts Feb 19 '13 at 15:56
  • I also hold off deleting questions so that the user has time to read the comments/answers. – Lance Roberts Feb 19 '13 at 15:57
  • @LanceRoberts: Would you still hold off with the delete vote if you knew the author was able to view his replies? – anon Feb 19 '13 at 16:03
  • I wouldn't if he was able to view his questions, so that he could find it again. – Lance Roberts Feb 19 '13 at 16:04
  • Rather than changing a "support" question into a feature request based on the answer you were given, you should post a new question as a "feature request" based on the answer you were given to your support request. – Servy Feb 19 '13 at 16:31
  • @Servy: I didn't mean to invalidate your answer, and I don't think I have. The feature request edit was only made 5 minutes after your answer, I should have included it in the first place but wasn't sure it would make sense (as I didn't know the answer). I think the context is slightly different here but feel free to VTC. – anon Feb 19 '13 at 16:34
  • @WesleyMurch Exactly. You asked a question, got an answer, and then completely changed the question based on that answer. You shouldn't do that. You should ask a new question with your feature request based on the fact that authors cannot see their own deleted questions. – Servy Feb 19 '13 at 16:36
  • @Servy: I think it's fine, as the edit/intent was made clear before too much discussion started, and there's been much discussion after the edit. This isn't SO, where this type of thing would really tick me off, I think your answer is fine and all is well. – anon Feb 19 '13 at 16:38
  • @WesleyMurch Why are you so opposed to posting two questions when you have two radically different questions that you're asking? Why do you feel that they need to be merged into a single question? – Servy Feb 19 '13 at 16:40
  • @Servy: Mainly because of the amount of discussion that has already taken place. Why are you so opposed to my leaving it as-is? – anon Feb 19 '13 at 16:41
  • @WesleyMurch Because they are two completely different questions, that are answered separately, and don't belong together. You're also invalidating an existing answer by completely re-factoring the question. Whether or not you have a problem with it, I do. – Servy Feb 19 '13 at 16:42
  • @Servy: I thought I made it pretty clear in my first draft that I had a problem if the author is unable to (re)view his deleted post, and that this was a feature request. Read the first draft: meta.stackoverflow.com/revisions/168208/1 – anon Feb 19 '13 at 16:48
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    @Servy: It's been awhile since this issue has been discussed; I think it's worth revisiting. – user102937 Feb 19 '13 at 16:48
  • @WesleyMurch You edited the first draft within the first 5 minutes of posting it, which was still after my answer, so the revision history doesn't tell the whole story. – Servy Feb 19 '13 at 16:55
  • @RobertHarvey I agree, I'm not questioning that. – Servy Feb 19 '13 at 16:55

It currently is not possible for users to see their question that got deleted. Which is a real missing feature to me. If users are not keeping track of the question and it gets deleted fast (sometimes crap just needs to get rid of fast, before it lays eggs). And the user will never know why the question got deleted.

I propose people whose questions are deleted will still be able to view the question. This enables them to see what they did "wrong" which currently is hard / impossible for them to do.

I suggest to notify the user in question by adding a message to their notification thing at the top of the screen. Also it should be possible for users to see deleted questions on their profile (other cannot see this). Something like the style of the flags list could work:


question list view

And don't see any drawbacks of users being able to see the deleted question of themselves.

And yes my two top voted question are [jquery] tagged. I suck :(

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    I believe mods have this view. But IIRC, it was turned down for users to reduce the amount of "whining". The argument being, "If you can't see it, you won't know to whine about it." Not that I agree with this position though... – Mysticial Feb 19 '13 at 16:50
  • @Mysticial While I don't necessarily agree with the reasoning, the fact that knowing that your posts were deleted leads to tons (and tons) of whining is true. Remember how Meta looked the first couple of weeks after reputation became live (after which everyone got notified instantly of deletions via rep loss)? – yannis Feb 19 '13 at 17:08
  • Hmmm... "Whining on meta about deleted posts" VS "Lower quality content on SO". I would prefer the whining, but I would mostly prefer no whining which I realize is impossible. I would also be willing to bet that along with the whining, it could lead to greater awareness of modern quality guidelines on SO, although I think this is fairly well covered as a result of the visible rep loss (although "old rep" sticks around: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/167887/questionable-delete/…). – anon Feb 19 '13 at 17:11
  • -1, this does not answer the question; you're just re-hashing the arguments made in the question and the dupe. I don't see what this adds to the discussion. (though I wholly agree with the sentiment) – ben is uǝq backwards Feb 19 '13 at 17:26
  • @benisuǝqbackwards i think this answer is fine IMHO, and its feature request so what kind of answer supposed to be according to you > – NullPoiиteя Feb 19 '13 at 17:32
  • Reasoned arguments for the feature request that are not contained within the question @NullPointer. I see little point in another 30 answer question where everyone says "I agree". I would love to hear some killer arguments for the implementation of the request, that could show Jeff that he's wrong, but those on the dupe provide reasoning. – ben is uǝq backwards Feb 19 '13 at 17:43
  • @benisuǝqbackwards I don't know what could cause the feature to be reconsidered except perhaps more noise, maybe if the whining for the feature outweights the threat of possible whining if it is implemented. There are plenty of good arguments on the original request, but they fall on deaf ears it seems. Look at all the bounties that were posted on the original as well, it's crazy. My motive for asking was a bit different, and I will probably err on the side of deleting rather than perserving for the OP's benefit. – anon Feb 19 '13 at 17:58
  • I know @Wesley, it's regularly bumped as well. There's already more than enough noise around that one question; what's needed is either a good enough argument for Jeff to re-consider or a decision by SE to ignore him. As I said; I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment but I do not think that another 20 people saying "I agree" will make any difference; it occludes whatever good arguments are being posted. – ben is uǝq backwards Feb 19 '13 at 18:01
  • @benisuǝqbackwards: I agree on all fronts, I just didn't realize how popular a request it was until today (I thought I was so clever but it looks like most of my points have already been made). – anon Feb 19 '13 at 18:02
  • @benisuǝqbackwards Who's Jeff? ... – PeeHaa Feb 19 '13 at 18:46
  • Jewff Atwood one of the sites founders along with Joel Spolsky. He's also the author of the answer disagreeing with the dupe (the one that has more than 100 downvotes) – ben is uǝq backwards Feb 19 '13 at 18:48
  • @benisuǝqbackwards I know who he is ;) 1. He left the building. 2. An imho stupid decision made a while back doesn't mean it has to stay that way. I mean I just heard the FIFA is thinking about allowing camera's on the goal-line in the future. My point is: just because Jeff said something in the past doesn't mean it has to stay that way. With that mindset we would still write on cave walls with red paint instead of typing this on a keyboard. – PeeHaa Feb 19 '13 at 18:53

No, the author of a question cannot view the deleted question (unless they have 10k rep and still have a link to the question, or are a mod).

This is different from answers, for which the author can view them even if they are deleted.

  • Wow really? That seems strange. They don't get any indication that their post was deleted? No message in the inbox or banner or anything? Just "poof"? – anon Feb 19 '13 at 15:51
  • @WesleyMurch Nope. SE makes a point of not providing notifications for negative actions, instead only notifying of "positive" actions. The question is just gone, and any links to it from <10k users get an error page. – Servy Feb 19 '13 at 15:51
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    How is the author expected to learn from the mistake? – anon Feb 19 '13 at 15:52
  • @WesleyMurch Well, first off, most questions that don't belong on SO shouldn't be deleted, just closed, meaning they'll still be visible to the OP and can have comments discussing exactly that. In general if a question is deleted it should be very obvious what was wrong with it because it should be just that bad. If an author still wishes to discuss why it was deleted or how to improve he can ask here on meta, in which there will be lots of people who can see the deleted question to help critique it. – Servy Feb 19 '13 at 15:54
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    "most questions that don't belong on SO shouldn't be deleted"... I have doubts that is the popular viewpoint. So you suggest that this problem lies with overzealous community moderation? I don't see the value in letting crap questions hang around to clutter up the search results and sidebar. – anon Feb 19 '13 at 15:56
  • @WesleyMurch Well, from my experiences, the community isn't over-zealously moderating, and that most closed questions aren't deleted. I think it's your viewpoint that most closed questions either should be, or do get deleted that is incorrect. – Servy Feb 19 '13 at 15:58
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    @WesleyMurch: Rapid deletion should be reserved for the most egregious of cases like spam, offensive posts, and trolling. Questions asked in good faith should stay on the site for two days so that the OP can see what happened. I see this abused a lot, although it does have the virtue of keeping the site cleaner. – user102937 Feb 19 '13 at 15:58
  • "I don't see the value in letting crap questions hang around to clutter up the search results and sidebar." Not all questions that are closed are crap questions though. In fact, most aren't. Most are either good or at least okay questions that just don't belong on SE because of it's very high standards for questions. Either that, or they are salvageable; it's within the realm of possibility for the question to be edited into shape and there's a good/decent question buried in there somewhere. – Servy Feb 19 '13 at 16:00
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    @RobertHarvey: Why should a parse error or typo question hang around for 2 days. That means that the only way it could be deleted is if by chance 3 20K users happen to view it later. And "later" is usually months or years later even. – anon Feb 19 '13 at 16:00
  • @WesleyMurch: A parse error or typo question? If the asker is especially lazy, treat it like a fringe post. But we're trying to be more helpful to newcomers, and many of those folks come from forum environments where they are allowed to post pretty much what they want to. – user102937 Feb 19 '13 at 16:00
  • @RobertHarvey: A question solved by correcting a typo or parse error. A useless question (except to the OP). I'm talking about unsalvagable posts, where no amount of editing could possibly make it useful to a broad audience. – anon Feb 19 '13 at 16:01
  • @WesleyMurch: Well, the only currently available way of communicating to them that they're doing it wrong is to leave a comment on their post and keep it on the site for a couple of days. Otherwise, you're just pushing them towards a site ban by insta-deleting their question. Most questions asked on Stack Overflow nowadays are "I have this bug, how can I fix it?" – user102937 Feb 19 '13 at 16:04
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    The PHP tag requires a bit more enforcement than some of the others. :) – user102937 Feb 19 '13 at 16:07
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    @RobertHarvey: Could this be solved by a "delayed delete vote" that kicks in after 2 days? The thing is, I'm only likely to view the question while it's active, so that's really my only chance to do cleanup duty. Your thoughts? – anon Feb 19 '13 at 16:17
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    I would much rather just see something implemented so that a user can see his deleted question. @WesleyMurch That way it doesn't clutter the site with crap and the OP still can see what he/she did "wrong". I don't see a drawback to that approach. – PeeHaa Feb 19 '13 at 16:18