This is a fairly straight-forward question/request that I couldn't find a direct, specifically on point answer to with the search, though it seems like there would be one by now.

I've seen the meta questions around deleted answers, and not displaying deleted posts in a user's profile for non-moderators out of concern that people would use it to shame or abuse other users, but nothing that seems to definitevly answer wanting to search deleted questions.

How can I, as a mere user (or 10k+/20k+ user), with no blue diamond, include deleted questions in a search result? And could such functionality be added into the Stack Exchange search? If not, is there another way for me to achieve what I want?

I recently noticed, through my flagging history, that before the new locking feature ("locked for historical significance"), I'd successfully flagged a thread for deletion, that with this new feature, should probably be undeleted and locked for historical significance, as it is a question with a high number of page views and good information on the problem being asked about. I have since flagged it for moderator attention, but I'm quite sure there are good number of other threads like this, with high page views and good information, whose deletion status probably ought to be reviewed in light of the changes to the lock feature, and I would like to find them and flag them for review.

So, is there any way for me, as a non-moderator, to search for questions like this, that with the changes to the lock feature, ought to be brought to a moderator's attention for possible undeletion and locking?

  • If you are a 10k user searching for your own deleted posts, the answer is yes. Dec 9, 2015 at 17:04

3 Answers 3


Yes, No, there is...indirectly...

The data explorer has the Votes table. It holds Delete votes for a post (VoteTypeId =10). The Posts table doesn't hold the deleted post.

By running this query

select top 5000
  v.postid as [Post Link]
  , 'site://questions/' + CAST(v.postId AS nvarchar) +'|question'  as [Question Link]
  , v.Creationdate
  -- , v.Userid as [User Link] -- user id is null...? 
from votes v
left outer join posts p on p.id = v.postid
where votetypeid = 10
and p.id is null

You get links to deleted questions (not sure how to get to deleted answers).

You can now use that output to visit the link of the post. To actually search it you would need to scrape the questions...(so that is the No in the opening of this answer).

AFAIK there is no API that does return deleted posts.

  • Oooo, indirectly could work. I'll see what I can do with this query, and report back. Thanks! Apr 23, 2014 at 10:59
  • 2
    if you send more than ~1 request/second, the server proxy will hate you. Apr 23, 2014 at 11:03
  • 1
    Enable the rate limiter in your scraper would be good advice in that case...
    – rene
    Apr 23, 2014 at 11:05

Since 2015 this has been implemented.

No, there is not.

For 10K users there was a feature request a while ago which was declined with no clear reason (you included it in your question). I think this is a valid feature request to add for 10K users.

Usually questions are deleted for a reason, so it won't be a good idea to make deleted answers public to <10K users. Also, then they aren't deleted any more. The whole point will be gone.

10K users and mods can see questions that are deleted. They will decide, together with the system, which questions should return. Others should ask a question on the specific Meta sites to undelete an important question.

  • 1
    I am a 10k user (well, on ServerFault), and I know I can see deleted questions, but I still can't search against them (at least not any way that I know of). Relying on deleted questions that should (maybe) be undeleted to just fall into our laps so we can raise them for attention is hardly a good or useful approach to the problem, however. Apr 23, 2014 at 9:42
  • I didn't read that in your question. I thought 'regular user' would mean <10K. Apr 23, 2014 at 9:44
  • Yes, apologies. I've added that information, as I realized it does make a difference, now that you brought up the distinction. Apr 23, 2014 at 9:45
  • @MartijnPieters Thanks. Updated. Apr 3, 2017 at 11:34

I fully support adding this functionality for >= 10K users. I'm sure other folks will suggest much more sophisticated solutions than this, but what I'm about to propose works in some cases.

If your browser maintains a cache, and allows searching through it, you may be able to find links to questions that you've seen recently but have been deleted. Just a few minutes ago I was able to find a question that I had seen yesterday, had been deleted by the OP, and reposted as a new question.

This solution is extremely limited but may be "good enough" for many cases. (And it does not require scraping anything.)

I do not consider searching through my cache to be a good substitute to being able to search through deleted questions. There has been one case where I tried but was unable to do find what I was looking for. If the question has been flushed out of the cache, you're out of luck.

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