I did a search before posting this. Lots of previous post regarding deleted questions but I can't find a specific one related to what I want to discuss.

It happened yesterday when I submitted an answer to a new question. Minutes later, I could find my answer and I realised the question page shows "Page Not Found". I presume it is deleted.

I can't help but to feel, "why can't it show something like, 'This question has been deleted'?" At least I would have know what happened instead of trying to find out if I somehow go to a different URL.

Or was it a fluke incident and I was mistaken?

6 Answers 6


9 times out of 10, this is because the question author elected to delete their own question.

Note that we do prevent this, if there are a certain # of answers or upvotes on the answers.


I agree that this error message is not very informative. As I understand it, the current situation is that people will see a deleted question only if they are the OP or a 10k+ user.

I propose that this be changed such that one can view a deleted question only if they are any person who posted in the thread, or a 10K+ user.

This is more user friendly, doesn't interfere with Googlebot (I have not seen Googlebot answering any questions... yet), and allows one to access one's own answer after a question has been deleted. I find this last argument the most compelling: if I spend time formulating a nice answer, I do that first and foremost for the OP, but also as a future reference for myself. Quite frequently I search for one of my own answers! I'd like to be able to access that data.

  • @Stephan202: "(I have not seen Googlebot answering any questions... yet)", Google guys might be already on it, as a challenge maybe! Hahah :P
    – o.k.w
    Oct 17, 2009 at 9:03
  • 1
    -1; I am not a 10k user and I cannot see my own deleted questions
    – Pops
    Sep 6, 2010 at 21:35
  • OP can't see a deleted question (including their own) if they have less than 10k Sep 16, 2010 at 15:28

In addition to the other answers - there is one case where it gets fully removed, and not even 10k users (or ♦) can see it ('cos it really doesn't exist) - merge.

Normally a duplicate is just closed. If it gets lots of answers before closing and is a very good match, it might get merged at a later date.

Sometimes a new question gets quickly merged is if the OP double-posted, and both versions are attracting answers (if one has no answers we'll just delete that one).


A deleted question is no longer live and is effectively "dead". It's deleted for a reason and doesn't need to be shown, especially to Google, so it isn't.

When you crack the 10k mark, or are a moderator, then you won't be seeing the "Page Not Found" bummer.

  • 7
    But shouldn't it show something more meaningful to those who answered or commented?
    – o.k.w
    Oct 17, 2009 at 5:53

I think this should be revisited.

Case in point: I was googleing around about how to automate the Zune software with Autohotkey, and see several stackoverflow hits because the google indexer grabbed the "related questions" sidebar, which at one point linked to: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2345910/making-an-autohotkey-script-work-with-zune

So now I have that question basically mocking me, as it appears to cover what I'm looking for. But the question is MIA.


  • Figure out a way to keep google from indexing sidebar links, since they can apparently go dead (but if they were live, the actual question would be a result).
  • Put up something a little less completely infuriating than "AH AH AH You didn't say the magic word! You haven't found the page cache yet!"



It'a happened again. Consider this case:

So now we have a situation where a question was migrated from SO->SF, indexed by google, deleted on SO but existing on SF. The SF page is live (but closed), while the SO page is missing with no word as to what happened. This needs to be addressed.

  • There isn't much there. One answer saying "I'm having the same problem, the only solution I have found so far is to get the active window, then get and activate Zune, send key press and then revert focus back the the previous window:" followed by a snippet of code to do that. WinGet, active_id, ID, A IfWinExist, Zune {WinActivate Send, ^p WinActivate, ahk_id %active_id% return} Sep 6, 2010 at 21:32
  • "I think this should be revisited." Certainly, but not on an old question like this. Go ask a new one
    – Yi Jiang
    Sep 16, 2010 at 15:39

<A Team intro music> If the deleted question had comments on it, and you know how, maybe you can write a Greasemonkey script to fetch them. (That would at least confirm that there had been a question)

  • @Sam: Ha, sad to say, the question 'poofed' before anyone could answer/comment, including me.
    – o.k.w
    Oct 19, 2009 at 0:47

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