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Having your post deleted is very demoralizing. You likely don't feel like participating in it again when it happens. It's also intuitively considered permanent.

"Deletes" on SE are soft, meaning the post is just hidden from public view.

With this in mind, why not call deletion "hidden"? It would be less insulting or demoralizing and is intuitively undoable. I think catching those new users that post poorly at first but get better would increase if "deleted posts" were called "hidden posts" instead. They'd be more likely to repair their bad posts and learn how to contribute within site guidelines.

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    "Having your post deleted is very demoralizing." I appreciate that it often probably is, but it shouldn't have to be, if the appropriate 'people skills' are used by all parties concerned. – topo Reinstate Monica Apr 8 '18 at 10:18
  • @topomorto Typically, you just discover it's been deleted while you were out. Or worse, while you were editing. Sometimes there's comments, sometimes not. – user212646 Apr 8 '18 at 11:16
  • @fredsbend apart from obvious cases (e.g. spam, offensive material, this kind of thing,), I'd suggest that deleting a new user's question without a friendly comment that does a good job of explaining why is usually poor moderation. If it's a more experienced user who should already know - then they should already know, I guess! – topo Reinstate Monica Apr 8 '18 at 11:22
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    It's "hidden from view" for 100% of occasional (aka anonymous) visitors, and for over 99% of registered users who don't have enough reputation to see deleted posts. They don't need to be confused because tiny fraction of the users can see it. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Apr 8 '18 at 11:35
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Someone saying "hidden" makes me think of posts scoring -3 or lower, which are faded to make them harder to read - or of spoiler markup. Both things that hovering clears up.

Additionally, "hidden" implies that anyone can find them if they know how to, which isn't true - only mods, "10K" users, and the OP of the post can see them. With the exception of these users, the post is deleted. Even low-reputation users will have difficulty finding their post again unless they have a link to it (or if it's an answer, can find the question) as it's removed from their profile 60 days after it was created.

Also, I think that calling it a "soft delete" really isn't necessary... even in computer systems, deleted files can often be easily recovered provided they haven't been overwritten (and sometimes even then). Several dictionary definitions include mentioning that "deleted" implies simply "drawing a line through" text. This is an action that can certainly be recovered from.

I appreciate your concern and I can understand wanting to find better vernacular for this but I sort of wonder if it gets into a similar amount of hand-wavey-ness like the difference between "on hold" and "closed" (which are technically different from each other).

In my experience, very few experienced users say "your post is on hold"... even when it is... usually, we use the term "closed" for both statuses... particularly in our custom close voting reasons, which default to "I'm voting to close this question because..."

I don't think that calling these posts "hidden" instead of "deleted" is accurate, nor do I think that it's likely the term will be adopted widely... it might be used by the system, but getting the users to change what they say, particularly long-time users, would be difficult, particularly if they don't like the term, as for the reasons mentioned above.

There may be another word that could work but I don't think "hidden" is it.

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    Half of your argument is "because status quo". That's not particularly valid. – user212646 Apr 8 '18 at 5:39
  • Suggestion for other word: Supercalifragilistic? I foresee large adoption ... – rene Apr 8 '18 at 6:45
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    @fredsbend Literally none of this answer says "because status quo..." There are 5 paragraphs pointing out 3 problems with changing to your suggested term, and a 2 paragraph conclusion saying that because of these problems, there's no apparent advantage to making the change. – Ward - Reinstate Monica Apr 8 '18 at 7:48
  • @Ward What is this supposed to mean then: "gets into a similar amount of hand-wavey-ness like the difference between "on hold" and "closed"" followed by "very few experienced users say "your post is on hold"... even when it is" and "nor do I think that it's likely the term will be adopted widely" and finally "it might be used by the system, but getting the users to change what they say, particularly long-time users, would be difficult". This is lifted from 3 of the 6 main paragraphs. In case you're having trouble with the literal meaning of half 3 / 6 = 0.5. – user212646 Apr 8 '18 at 11:09
  • @fredsbend no, half of this argument is something like "because most people find the status quo acceptable", and that's a perfectly valid argument against change. – muru Apr 8 '18 at 12:37
  • @muru No, that's not a valid argument. It's not even an argument. It's just a sign post for others to vote "no, we want status quo". If you need MSE rep, such an answer is perfect (I've gamed the system, so no judgement). If you want to forward a real argument, not so much (which is truly what forwards a real discussion). – user212646 May 7 '18 at 16:24
  • @fredsbend I'm sorry, but I don't see why an argument has to forward the discussion. If you like to use your own brand of language and be dismissive of others, I don't see how anyone can have a constructive discussion with you. – muru May 7 '18 at 19:31
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Having your post deleted is very demoralizing

And so are downvotes. And people telling you that you're wrong. We can't make everything to appear nice and cozy, sometimes people just have to adjust, as harsh as it might seem.

It's also intuitively considered permanent

And it is, in vast majority of cases. Having deleted posts undeleted is extremely rare.


As for wording: changing "deleted'" to "hidden" will send wrong signal that it can be easily be visible again, while it's not: after a post on Stack Exchange is deleted by moderator or high rep users, its author can't undelete it anymore, only another moderator or high rep users.

  • "We can't make everything to appear nice and cozy, sometimes people just have to adjust". You're saying we can't change it, but this isn't a reason in itself. What's bad about the suggestion would be reasons. "Having deleted posts undeleted is extremely rare.". This is tautology. It's basically saying that we can't make deleted posts more likely to be undeleted because undeleted posts are extremely rare. – user212646 May 7 '18 at 16:31
  • Regarding your final paragraph, posts can be undeleted. They can be undeleted almost just as easily as writing an answer that won't be deleted in the first place. The only real difference is "awaiting moderator approval", which is a common message on the internet. I greatly disagree that "hidden" is less intuitive than deleted. Further, "any other word" is a big claim. There's lots of words, and sometimes they work even better if you choose two or three instead of just one. I don't think youcan reasonably claim no other word can possibly be better, not without many examples. – user212646 May 7 '18 at 16:34
  • Correct about any other word, edited. Will reply to other claims later.. – Shadow The Princess Wizard May 7 '18 at 17:48

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