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Suppose someone posts a question, and then someone answers it, and then a moderator deletes the question. Can the original poster still read the answer as well as the question? (I think the answer is yes.)

Does this change if the moderator first deletes the answer and only then deletes the question? (I think the answer is yes: now the OP can no longer read the answer. If not then note that this means that deleting the question may make an answer that used to be invisible to the OP become visible!)

I haven't found this behaviour documented anywhere, but perhaps I've been looking in the wrong places.

(Context: I'm a moderator on puzzling.SE where we have policies against certain classes of question -- e.g., ones that come from still-ongoing contests -- and am trying to figure out the optimal way to proceed when someone posts a "forbidden" question and it gets answered before a moderator sees it.)

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  • For your specific use case you could maybe use dissociation to prevent the various OPs from accessing the deleted questions. It wouldn't stop 10k users and would have other side effects though (like preventing the post from being considered by rate limits/quality filters/post bans/etc., so a mod would need to keep an eye on that to manually intervene if this was a common behavior for a user rather than relying on the system).
    – Servy
    Nov 14, 2017 at 16:44
  • @Servy Post dissociation is only doable by SE employees - I doubt mods want to send a CM request every time this happens. Nov 14, 2017 at 17:15
  • @Randal'Thor worth to mention that at some point in the future, maybe not that far, it will become much easier for a user to disassociate/anonymize a post: chat.meta.stackexchange.com/transcript/89?m=6082673#6082673. Nov 14, 2017 at 20:44
  • Relevant: I found a deleted question with an answer which had been deleted separately before question deletion (shouldn't have been, actually, because it was part of this problem). I clicked the "undelete" button on the answer, and now I have what looks like a deleted question with an undeleted answer! Weird. (But when I view that page incognito, it just shows the usual "Page Not Found" like any other deleted question. Same for you, I assume?) Nov 16, 2017 at 11:21
  • When I follow the "Weird" link, I get "Page not found" and "This question was removed from Science Fiction & Fantasy Meta Stack Exchange for reasons of moderation". Nov 16, 2017 at 12:42

1 Answer 1

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Suppose someone posts a question, and then someone answers it, and then a moderator deletes the question. Can the original poster still read the answer as well as the question? (I think the answer is yes.)

Yes. I confirmed this by checking on a site where I have less than 10k rep and a deleted question. All of the answers which had been posted at the time the question was deleted are still visible to me now.

Does this change if the moderator first deletes the answer and only then deletes the question? (I think the answer is yes: now the OP can no longer read the answer. If not then note that this means that deleting the question may make an answer that used to be invisible to the OP become visible!)

Yes. Answers which are manually deleted by a moderator show to high-rep users as deleted by [name] at [time], whereas answers deleted along with a question just show as deleted at [time] - they weren't manually deleted themselves as such, they're just no longer visible because the question they were answering is no longer visible (except for people to whom it is). So these two types of deleted answer are certainly treated differently by the system in some sense at least. As you note, it wouldn't make sense for invisible answers to become visible upon deletion.

You've probably seen all of these already, but here are some relevant links about deletions:

None of these quite seems to address the specific case you're asking about (unless there's something I've missed), but they're all rather suggestive.

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  • As someone who has a answer to a deleted question - I can see all the answers and the question, so logically, the person asking the question can see it too.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Nov 14, 2017 at 23:51
  • @ShadowWizard You changed my answer from "I think so" to "Yes", but I haven't really provided proof of "Yes" in this post. If you know this for sure, maybe you should post a separate answer? Nov 14, 2017 at 23:56
  • Yes I know this for sure. Don't think it deserves a separate answer, but if you insist feel free to roll back. Nov 15, 2017 at 0:02
  • It's excellent to have a definite "yes" from someone who knows for sure. Can you say more about how you know for sure? Something of that sort would be good to have in the answer. ("It's officially documented; see here", or "I tried the experiment and here is what happened", or "I read the source code", or ...) Nov 15, 2017 at 12:30
  • @GarethMcCaughan experience. Will take screenshot when I will have some time Nov 15, 2017 at 15:56

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