On sites where I either have 10k rep or am a moderator, I'll sometimes see a clearly-bad post -- incoherent, not even remotely an answer, etc -- that's already been deleted. So yay for the immediate problem being fixed, but not all deleted posts get downvoted first, and sometimes deleted posts get undeleted. The OP, in particular, can undelete on his own if he's the one who deleted, and sometimes -- shocking, I know -- members of communities disagree about what's "clearly bad" and might bring back something I would have downvoted. Further, undeletion doesn't bump a post, so that clearly-bad post might sneak back to haunt the site later. What I'd really like to be able to do is to add my downvote1 when I see the post, even though the post is already deleted, just in case.

As a side benefit, if that post does come back later, I'll be alerted to that fact by my -1 rep (if it's an answer), so I can take a look to see if any action is called for (remove the DV because it was fixed, comment, flag, vote to delete, etc).

As a moderator I could, in especially-dire cases, undelete the post, downvote, and then delete it again, but that feels like an abuse of the mod powers, plus it clobbers the deletion attribution, plus this doesn't help 10kers at all.

As with any other deleted post, reputation changes from the vote, for both the recipient and voter, take effect only if the post is undeleted. This is not a proposal to do additional reputation damage to somebody whose post is already deleted.

1 For fairness's sake, it should also be possible to upvote a deleted post. This could help in the case (which I've seen) where somebody self-deletes a post he thinks isn't good enough and others try to persuade him to undelete -- some votes waiting to be claimed could be additional encouragement.

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    – Braiam
    Oct 15, 2014 at 2:18
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    You should see some of the score-0 deleted posts I've seen lately... Oct 15, 2014 at 2:19
  • There is a list of undeleted posts in 10K tools. Do posts really get undeleted that often to warrant this feature? On Math, with about 1400 new posts daily, only 10 posts were undeleted during the past 7 days.
    – user259867
    Oct 15, 2014 at 2:52
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    The list in the 10k tools is really hard to use; it only shows you three by default (and if you click through on one and return, any expansion you had is gone again), and it doesn't tell you the authors (particularly bad for answers because you get the question title only), and it doesn't tell you whether (or how) you voted. I'd rather not have to rely on that, but thanks for reminding me that that exists even if it's a poor interface. Oct 15, 2014 at 3:02
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    Good title, and certainly satisfying sometimes, but does this happen enough to be a problem that needs to be solved?
    – jscs
    Oct 15, 2014 at 3:30
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    @JoshCaswell this post was the result of me seeing about half a dozen posts that were already deleted but, mostly, had not been downvoted first. Sometimes a user gets on a roll, and I'd rather not have to watch for them to be undeleted later so I can vote then. Oct 15, 2014 at 3:32
  • Would the downvotee get -2 rep? It's a positive IMO that people only lose so much rep on a post which gets deleted. They lost some, got the message, and it's done. Perhaps your feature should be limited to posts >-3 score
    – Double AA
    Oct 15, 2014 at 4:50
  • For fairness's sake, in this proposed implementation, you should be able to upvote a deleted post also. (But probably that shouldn't bring back autodeleted posts.)
    – msh210
    Oct 15, 2014 at 12:03
  • @DoubleAA rep would behave the same as for any other deleted post -- no effects while the post is deleted. This isn't a proposal to do rep damage to someone whose post is already deleted -- it's just aimed at registering a vote on the post.) I edited the post. Oct 15, 2014 at 12:23
  • @msh210 good point, and one worth noting explicitly (edited). I've seen cases where being able to cast that upvote would be helpful. Oct 15, 2014 at 12:24

2 Answers 2


I hate saying no to something because it would cause issues with something that isn't implemented yet, but ... I have some concerns with how this would affect some moving parts we're about to introduce as part of the quality project. I'll break them down, and try to be as brief as possible, please bear with me as there is a bit to discuss.

Question blocks have been significantly improved.

We now slow you down much faster and provide better guidance prior to outright not accepting questions from you until your most negatively scored question falls out of scope of a query - which can take up to a year.

Part of that guidance, which I'm working on improving, is edit what's salvageable rather than deleting it. However the problem is, especially on sites like Stack Overflow - your first couple of belly-flopping-off-topic questions probably aren't going to be salvageable - which is why so many people were stuck at being blocked indefinitely with only a few questions to their credit.

Allowing down-votes on deleted posts is going to really skew the algorithm that goes into determining when someone should be rate limited, and for how long. While it does look at deleted posts, it was not designed with the idea that deleted posts can be voted on. The system also gives you credit for substantial edits to your questions, and sometimes the best way to go back to the drawing board with something is to delete it, edit it and then restore it - otherwise it could be -10 by the time you actually turn it into something that might be useful.

You won't see as many of these (in question form) as you currently do, soon.

Near the end of this answer, Shog9 goes into describing a system where quite a few questions will be evaluated at a fundamental level and quickly sorted by people working in review. The idea being, help folks salvage questions that could be valuable before giving them much visibility. Questions that are just indecipherable, completely off-topic or otherwise show no hope of being suitable for the site are more quickly moved out of the way to be closed and deleted, and due to a much more enhanced quality score that counts something like 20 more points of signal, will probably never be seen again unless you're working a close queue.

There might be room to tweak answer blocks

The answer block system is pretty smart, and it does consider a bunch of things, including the number of deleted answers you have (even if they're not negatively scored). It takes a little longer to kick in than question blocks do, and it's not yet rolling like the new question limits.

I'd much rather bring the rolling limit functionality to answers, as that's the best way to solve the problem at its root. I see so many folks on Stack Overflow posting links to something in their Github outright blocked while they though they were just being helpful. If the problem that you describe continues to grow, I think larger strides, where more just-in-time help (and a brief slow down) lets the user know what they're doing wrong, and how to fix it.

If that were in place, and I'm seriously considering it, anything getting around it becomes a pattern of abuse, which we have several established ways to deal with.

Let's roll out everything we've got close to shipping in the , and revisit this if it becomes a pattern rather than occasional exception.

  • as far as I know, new q-blocks currently work only on SO and Programmers - but asker has 10K / mod powers only on other sites. In particular, Workplace doesn't officially have new q-blocks, does it?
    – gnat
    Oct 15, 2014 at 9:14
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    Thanks for this explanation. I don't know what the patterns across the network are, but most of the already-deleted stuff I want to vote on is answers (maybe just because they're easier to come across; you have to go hunting for deleted questions). Answer blocks are not enabled on most sites; will that change as part of this initiative? Oct 15, 2014 at 12:29
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    Answer blocks are enabled everywhere, @Monica.
    – Shog9
    Oct 15, 2014 at 13:46
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    Ah, I misremembered -- its question blocks that are not enabled on the sites where I'm a moderator. Thanks. Oct 15, 2014 at 14:04
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    @gnat rolling question blocks will soon be enabled on all sites. Most will never see them kick in on sites below the scale of Ubuntu / Math / Trilogy - the cool part about them is they tend to kick in when your site needs them the most.
    – Tim Post
    Oct 16, 2014 at 0:05

I completely agree, and also request that we can:

  • Close deleted questions (actually I think this is already possible, but not sure)
  • Mod-nuke already deleted posts (ex. self-deleted posts)

Just today there was a blatantly off-topic "question" I saw on PPCG, and it was self-deleted (I found it via the flag queue). What would have really been convenient is if I could have given it the mod nuke-from-orbit so the author couldn't just undelete it later without being noticed (the post looked questionably spammy).

I eventually decided to just leave it since the OP had already posted the same trash on a different site (flagged, of course), but this ability would be really helpful for these cases in the future.

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