It wasn't until I reached 10K rep that I realized when you delete a post, it really only hides it from the thread... Unless of course you are 10K+ or a moderator... Since the delete is not occurring, I think it would be interesting to consider changing the text to Hide. Undelete can become "Show"...

I'm guessing that there is no way that we can actually get the delete to delete, but that would by far be my preference.

Since a couple of the answers had a good point in them, maybe this question should be asked differently... Many are comfortable with SharePoint and we know that the deletion of content from there goes into a recycle bin that can be emptied. This whole thing would go away if a delete simply was a delete. If we follow the SharePoint concept, then I should be able to empty the recycle bin. If you can vote to delete a post which is a delete after the votes reaches the require limit, why not add a rule to the process that will do the delete if the owner requests it?

still can't comment, so I'll edit for now...

@diago: But the delete is not deleting anything. It also still shows it to others. So how is that something that is already not confusing to a user? I would also venture out on a limb and guess that a moderator undeleting a post that an owner deleted is not a good idea... So with that said, now that I know a post of mine that I deleted can be undeleted by a mod, then it definitely is not deleted!

@jonskeet: I like the metaphor of the recycle bin... Maybe I just need an option in my user profile to empty the darn thing from time to time? I also completely agree that trying to articulate what is happening would take up far too much real estate.

@random: actually embarrassing, I fixed it...

@random: jQuery file loads from the Google server is blocked by one of my companies filters, so anything on the SO sites (basically everything) that requires the jQuery files no longer works for me...

  • 1
    @django? That's hilarious.
    – random
    Oct 9, 2009 at 10:21
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    Why can't you comment?
    – random
    Oct 9, 2009 at 10:59
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    For some reason I've had to hit 'refresh' to get the dialog box to let me comment. I've also had to hit refresh to vote or answer questions. Not all the time, but sometimes. It's really weird, and it has something to do with the JQuery, much like it does for RSolberg. Oct 9, 2009 at 12:40

4 Answers 4


It means delete for the vast majority of users. Even on SO, there are only 8 full pages of 10K users, compared with over 1500 pages of users with at least 11 rep... and then of course there are the vast hordes browsing without an account at all.

Put it this way - it means "Delete" just as much as the "Delete" option on a file in Windows, where it'll end up in the recycle bin.

"Hide" would sound like you're just hiding it from your current view, IMO.

I suspect there's no way to be absolutely accurate about this without also taking up far too much space on the page.

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    Can I haz recyclez bin to empty?
    – RSolberg
    Oct 11, 2009 at 13:33

I think this will cause more confusion then is neccessary. Delete means I no longer want my answer to appear. The ability to vote for deletion by those that can ensures that answers or questions that are truly valuable is not lost.

I have on occassion undeleted someone's answer because it was really good, however they deleted it due to some comment or not feeling it is valuable. At the end of the day it also gives 10K mods a good indication of what posts should be deleted and which to keep.

I think Jon's answer explains it a lot more simply then what I do, however something that you also need to keep in mind is that all data once submitted is covered under the CC-Wiki License. Therefore the community has the right to decide if something should be deleted or not.

Once a question or answer has received sufficent delete votes then it acutally gets purged from the DB.

SharePoint does exactly the same thing when it comes to delete, where everything is deleted into a central recycle bin which administrators can use to restore items, and it has become a defacto across a lot of management applications recently. I don't see any problem with the way it is implemented on [S]OFU or any reason to change it.

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    Will a user be notified if/when you undelete his/her post?
    – Stephan202
    Oct 9, 2009 at 11:00
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    No. However in the list of answer or questions it will reflect as not being deleted any-more, also, chances are you will get votes from it. Also it is extremely rare for mods to undelete I have only done it once. Oct 9, 2009 at 11:10
  • Once is too many times....
    – RSolberg
    Oct 11, 2009 at 13:34
  • @RSolberg. If the end result is that the owner gets rep, and the information is valid and correct, I have no problems doing it. 10K users have the option to vote to undelete, so I don't see this being an issue. Oct 11, 2009 at 14:12

Delete should not be replaced with hide in this situation.

It is a deletion operation: it's only that is what is often termed a 'soft-delete'.

From Answers.com:

To mark a record in a database for deletion or to temporarily prevent it from being selected. In order to actually delete the record, a "hard" delete or "permanent" delete function must be performed.

In my honest opinion, this is a feature, not a bug.

  • Correct a feature with a post tagged feature-request, not bug!
    – RSolberg
    Oct 11, 2009 at 13:32

Its true that delete on the Internet doesn't mean what most people would assume it means.

Show/hide would be more truthful, but I don't necessarily believe it would be more useful, or usable. Once you figure out things don't really delete, you go "Oh."

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