Recently, a Stack Overflow user posted an accurate and helpful answer to one of my questions, and then deleted the answer for no apparent reason (perhaps by accident).

Is there anything I can do to recover this answer, despite my lack of administrative privileges?

  • Someone's going around deleting comments so I can't really make sense of what was going on. Hopefully a mod will be able to comment on this.
    – user200500
    Aug 28, 2013 at 0:00
  • someone else gave you the general idea of the answer. I don't know what happened there, but I hope it's over. (I'm the one who deleted the comments in question... which confused me a bit, really) Aug 28, 2013 at 0:00
  • @AndrewBarber You can still see them all though, so I was just naively assuming it would make more sense to you.
    – user200500
    Aug 28, 2013 at 0:03
  • @Asad Not really... it's a bit head-scratching to me, too! hehe Aug 28, 2013 at 0:08
  • I may be to blame for the recent comments. I let the answerer know that an undelete had been requested. His response was...a bit rude. But it clearly brought his attention back to that post. @AndrewBarber
    – ughoavgfhw
    Aug 28, 2013 at 0:10
  • @ugh Thanks for the extra info. Of course, you are not to blame for what anyone else does. :) Aug 28, 2013 at 0:12
  • @AndrewBarber The answer that I'm trying to recover was left by stackoverflow.com/users/314166/sawa, and the answer still hasn't been undeleted. He posted a very well-written solution to my question and deleted it afterward, for reasons that are still unclear to me. Aug 28, 2013 at 0:46
  • we likely won't undelete the post. Any 10k is welcome to paraphrase. I'm on mobile, and shouldn't get "involved" anyway. Aug 28, 2013 at 0:54
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    -1 for not being forthcoming with relevant information about this situation. You talk here as if you had no idea what might be up with the OP removing their post, yet you had posted an antagonistic comment on it accusing them of downvoting your question. Don't do that. In fact no matter how obvious you think it is, don't ever assume you know who votes which way. I assure you that people who do are more often wrong than right and FAR more often cause problems than solve them by doing so. Just don't do it.
    – Caleb
    Aug 28, 2013 at 10:50
  • @Caleb Is it inappropriate to thank someone for downvoting a question even when the downvotes were well-deserved? Aug 28, 2013 at 16:30
  • @AndersonGreen For the simple reason that the most likely way people will read it as sarcastic. Whether you intended it to be so or not, your comment sounded like you were mocking the users voting pattern. Honestly it still sounds that way to me. If you don't intend that, you should adjust your communication style to account for the way things come across the wire.
    – Caleb
    Aug 28, 2013 at 16:34
  • 1
    @AndersonGreen You deleted your previous remark while I was replying, but I'm going to let mine stand. Its hard to talk with somebody who keeps changing their tune, but I was answering why the use of self-deprecating humor might not be appropriate, which still stands. As for your new comment, I'm going to call your bluff and say that you did not and still don't think it was appropriate to downvote your question. Otherwise you would have done something about your question instead of ridiculing the OP in a comment on their answer (not your question).
    – Caleb
    Aug 28, 2013 at 16:37
  • @Caleb You're right: I should have realized that my own self-deprecating comments would have been misinterpreted as sarcasm, and I completely deserved to have the question's best answer taken away from me. I hope I won't ever make an unforgiveable mistake like this one again. I didn't intend the comment as sarcasm - I really believe that I deserve to be ridiculed by the rest of society for my lack of expertise about certain subjects. Yes, I never deserve to be forgiven for any of the mistakes that I've made - I never want anyone to forgive me for being the terrible person that I am. Aug 28, 2013 at 17:53
  • 3
    @AndersonGreen If you really "should have realized", how come you are still doing it? That is not a productive way to finish this off. How about trying something like, "Oh I see, I forgot people can't here tone on the internet. I'll skip the self-deprecating comments in the future and stick to things people can more easily interpret online. Thanks for the hints." You expect us to "forgive" yet you haven't admitted your problem yet. Self deprecation isn't admitting you have a problem, in this case its trying to offload the problem on everybody else.
    – Caleb
    Aug 28, 2013 at 17:57
  • 1
    @AndersonGreen You can lead a horse to water...
    – Caleb
    Aug 28, 2013 at 18:13

2 Answers 2


I'm afraid I don't know quite enough Ruby to really give a proper answer, but I can use my 10k deleted-post Second Sight to give you the original contents of the post. The post was simply the code sample as follows below with no comentary:

def add_three_numbers num1 = nil, num2 = nil, num3 = nil
  undefined = local_variables.select{|var| eval(var.to_s).nil?} - [:undefined]
  puts "#{undefined.join(", ")} are undefined" unless undefined.empty?

# => num1, num2, num3 are undefined

# => num2, num3 are undefined

I would post it as an answer, but, as I said, I don't know enough Ruby to provide meaningful commentary. I'd encourage you to self-answer and provide commentary as you understand it.

If you want to credit sawa's original post (visible only to >10k users), the exact answer link is https://stackoverflow.com/a/18476747/710446.

  • Thanks for recovering the deleted answer: I've spent hours trying to find it! Aug 28, 2013 at 2:01
  • 3
    I'm kinda surprised how long it took someone to do this. heh. Aug 28, 2013 at 2:33

It might be "accurate", but man is it lacking in explanation.

I don't know a whole lot of Ruby - just enough to be dangerous - but I can't understand your answer well enough to feel confident in it. It doesn't explain why it addresses the concerns of the OP. It's just...code. While I'll willingly submit that, if I understood Ruby better, I could get the gist of it just by glancing at it; but that's not the case with this code snippet.

I can definitely see (and agree with) its removal, but if you want the answer, then aspillers has it for you in his answer.

  • The code lacks an explanation, but it works as intended, nonetheless. Aug 28, 2013 at 2:14
  • 3
    Anyone can write code that a computer can understand, and have it work "as intended". I prefer an explanation to why it works alongside of that.
    – Makoto
    Aug 28, 2013 at 2:18
  • 2
    Still, a working solution is better than no solution at all. Aug 28, 2013 at 2:41
  • 2
    Commentary on the deleted answer aside, this doesn't seem to answer the question. Aug 28, 2013 at 8:41

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