The problem

Often I comment on posts that get deleted.

Sometimes, the original poster or another person replies to my comment but by the time I see it the comment is already deleted. This is really frustrating, I reply on low quality posts a lot explaining issues with the question because I think helping people who can't ask well yet can help them a lot.

While I have enough rep on Stack Overflow now to see deleted messages - I remember this being really frustrating before I had enough. It's still frustrating in meta for example

Recent Example:

enter image description here

When I click it I get a "Page Not Found" error.

Proposed solution

  • Let me see deleted posts I responded to. Either permanently, or even for just a day after the deletion so I know what reply I got.
  • Alternatively - give me a way to see just those replies I'm yet to see.

(I tried looking for a duplicate for 10 minutes but meta search sucks. If this is a dupe be sure to let me know.)

  • 2
    I'm not sure how I feel about this. I don't think a comment, of all things, is really that important that the devs should code in checks to let a comment's owner look at a deleted question. Seems like too far of a stretch.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 19:16
  • @animuson It's very annoying to be notified about something you can't react to at all. I think a check if I got there by clicking a link in my inbox and that I'm still logged in as the same guy is enough. This doesn't seem like very big overhead to me (given my experience with ASP.NET MVC) but I don't know how the architecture is laid out in SO itself. Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 19:18
  • 2
    Solution: get 10k on meta :-P
    – Doorknob
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 19:19
  • 6
    I agree, given that the 'preview' is still visible in your inbox but you can't see the entire message seems like a problem here. If they are not going to allow users to actually view the message then why is it showing up in the inbox?
    – rlemon
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 19:19
  • @Benjamin The system would still have to verify that the message actually exists. Otherwise anyone can fake a URL to gain access to a deleted question, even if for a limited amount of time.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 19:19
  • Alternatively, if the "solution" is to get 10k rep, why not just remove the notification for < 10k rep since he doesn't have access? Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 19:22
  • @rlemon The problem is that the inbox doesn't know that the parent post has been deleted. The notifications are completely denormalized. I think a better solution would be to connect notifications to a post ID and, when a post gets deleted, hide any notifications connected to its ID.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 19:22
  • 2
    @animuson Again, I don't know how it's laid out internally. As a user this is a user experience issue I find annoying and run into often. This doesn't sound too hard or expensive to implement (especially given how little traffic deleted messages get anyway) but I don't want to imply I understand how easy/hard it is here because I don't know the system's structure. Even just showing me the comment (and not the whole message) seems sufficient here. Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 19:22
  • 1
    There's been a few times :-) where I've put in some actual work / research to answer a question. I like to be able to refer back to that -- it's a shame when the question gets deleted and I lose access to it.
    – Chains
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


There are situations where this is a good idea, but they're mostly already handled by existing logic:

  • Post authors can view their posts even when deleted (with the exception of authors of answers where the questions were deleted) - this allows them to do a bit of a postmortem review in situations where there is useful guidance that they can learn from.

  • 10K users can view all deleted posts - this allows them to monitor deletion and identify situations where problems occurred that could use additional attention.

There are plenty of other situations where deletion is very effective at putting an end to very bad things: trolling, very poorly-asked questions, etc. that trigger knee-jerk arguments and pile-on snarkiness. We would not want to encourage folks to revisit these in most cases; that you can't see the last angry reply is usually a good thing!

  • Is the deletion of a post usually connected to off topic discussion in the comments? This feels more like an argument against showing deleted comments rather than comments on deleted posts Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 20:21
  • No, deletion is not primarily connected to comment moderation, Richard... Rather, unruly comments are often a sign of a post that is inappropriate and should be deleted. This feature request is specifically aimed at viewing deleted posts where a comment was left immediately prior to deletion - that is, one where there's a pretty good chance the comment is related to the deletion. If the deletion is intended to end a doomed conversation, then giving commenters viewing privileges is counter-productive.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 20:29

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