Having read ChrisForrence's comment I have done some experimenting and confirmed that the content of deleted posts can be viewed from the edit page. Furthermore, I'm able to successfully submit changes to deleted posts, and they're accepted without the need for approval (I don't have sufficient reputation to edit without approval on Stack Overflow, where I did the testing).


The posts timeline and revision history are not available, and after submitting an edit you are presented with a 404 page and it doesn't appear in your activity log. However I was awarded the Editor badge.

Expected behavior

At my rep-level, I can't edit visible posts on Stack Overflow without approval (my edits go through the suggested edit review, and become visible on the post only when approved). I would expect at very least that the same restrictions would apply for deleted posts - but realistically, expecting folks to review edits on deleted posts sounds like a tremendous waste of time, therefore I should be prevented from submitting any edits to deleted posts with the exception of those I've written myself (which I don't need approval for when not deleted).

Furthermore, there's no good reason for me to ever see the edit form when I can't submit it - so attempting to load a URL such as this should result in a 404.

More scenarios

  • Attempting to edit a locked or migrated deleted question does trigger an error: "This post is locked and cannot be edited."
  • Attempting to edit a post on meta (where suggestions aren't allowed at all) triggers an incorrect error: "There is a pending suggested edit in the queue, try again in a few minutes." on non-deleted posts
  • However attempting to edit a deleted post on meta still shows the editing page, though the edit is this time not allowed to be submitted1 (failing with a nice red box error).

1 Though the bug that allowed successful submission may have been patched in the meantime rather than this being a difference on metas.

  • Thinking about this further, is this possibly left in to allow the OP to recover from a question ban?
    – Rory
    Commented May 25, 2013 at 21:20
  • 6
    Well, actually the edit does exist. You just can't see it.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented May 25, 2013 at 21:21
  • @animuson eeeep sorry to all the 10ks on Stack Overflow, was a bit concerned that would happen! I was thrown that it didn't appear as a suggestion in my activity :/
    – Rory
    Commented May 25, 2013 at 21:22
  • @ShaWizDowArd not sure, for Shog's answer to that my Stack Overflow account doesn't have the edit privilege and was changing more than tags, therefore my edit shouldn't have been allowed to go through and the badge shouldn't have been awarded if I'm understanding it correctly. Definitely addresses the first part of my question though, thanks!
    – Rory
    Commented May 25, 2013 at 21:35
  • 1
    Hmm.. maybe add comment on Shog's answer then alerting him of this? Commented May 25, 2013 at 21:36
  • @Rory how were you even able to see the deleted question? Was it deleted while you had the edit form open? Commented May 26, 2013 at 5:10
  • @Ben I believe you can navigate directly to the edit page for a deleted question if you have the question ID. That was another bug report, which I can't find right now...
    – user206222
    Commented May 26, 2013 at 7:45
  • @BenCollins yep that's how I did it, just replace /questions/ with /posts/ and then append /edit at the end of the URL. This even works when you have the edit privilege (and therefore would normally be given inline editing instead)
    – Rory
    Commented May 26, 2013 at 10:59
  • This sounds like Orc Mischief to me. No seriously, I can already see badge-hunter's trying to abuse the system with this information. It really needs to be addressed...
    – Xarcell
    Commented May 26, 2013 at 15:34
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/99593/…
    – nhahtdh
    Commented May 26, 2013 at 18:37
  • 1
    Related: howto view deleted posts <10k rep
    – juergen d
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 18:10
  • I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who noticed this! Commented May 29, 2013 at 21:14
  • @Ben so I take it this bug is scheduled for a fix? I'd say status-planned then, or status-reproduced in the least. :-) Commented May 29, 2013 at 22:48
  • 1
    @ShaWizDowArd yep, and I was headed to this post to do exactly that when you commented. Commented May 29, 2013 at 22:49
  • @Ben so my telepathic helmet does work after all. ;) Commented May 29, 2013 at 22:50


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