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I originally asked the question Implementing PPPoE half-bridge/ip-passthrough to suit IPSec VPN firewall appliance with Linux a little more than a year ago, which no one was able to answer. The question was eventually automatically deleted by the Community user after a year as an abandoned question.

I have found a much belated solution to this (which I imagine would be quite helpful to anyone else in this situation, as I couldn't find any help on this topic by searching). I'd like to leave the answer for anyone else who might need it.

What should I do in this case? Should I try and get a moderator to undelete the old question, or should I repost the old question and put my self-answer there?

(For posterity, the edited and answered question is here: Implementing PPPoE half-bridge/ip-passthrough to suit IPSec VPN firewall appliance with Linux)

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    What is the reason for deletion? Unanswerd, is not a reason for deletion, so it seems your question was closed as off topic or similar reasons? – Mark Kirby Apr 27 '18 at 10:16
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    @MarkKirby It sounds like their question was automatically deleted by the Community user as an abandoned question after a year. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Apr 27 '18 at 10:17
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    To close voters: I think this question is generally applicable to many other cases, and not just this particular case. As such, I'd recommend leaving it open. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Apr 27 '18 at 10:17
  • @SonicWizard Fair enough, seems like a good question to me in that case then. Lots of people on lots of sites do have issue with this situation. – Mark Kirby Apr 27 '18 at 10:20
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    Also, the main value of deleting old, abandoned questions is not because there's something inherently problematic with those questions. It's just to remove those questions from search results where most people just consider them noise. For more info, see xkcd.com/979 – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Apr 27 '18 at 10:31
  • I will cast an undelete vote, your question was ok and well wrote. I would tend to think that this post should had been post on SF's meta to get 10k user attention and moderator attention. – yagmoth555 Apr 27 '18 at 12:33
  • @yagmoth555 Meh, it was OK here, because this was something I was wondering too and this question is useful as a general reference. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Apr 27 '18 at 15:18
  • @SonicWizard I agree, but there is exactly 135 users with 10K+ on SF, including me, do you think his question will get re-openned soon if that question for help stay there ? I understand your goal, but maybe a feature request on how to deal with such closure is better suited for MSE – yagmoth555 Apr 27 '18 at 16:09
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    Note that the question was actually undeleted this morning. – Michael Hampton Apr 28 '18 at 13:00
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    A question how to proceed in general fits here, but for a specific case, this belongs on the respective site meta. I would never had noticed this issue if @yagmoth555 hadn't posted about it on our meta and like him, I doubt enough other high rep users would have seen it here. – Sven Apr 28 '18 at 13:00
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It's better to pursue undeletion (with edits). Deletions are designed to be reversible. There's an "undelete" link right there, which implies that it's meant to be used when the problems that led to deletion have been addressed. Sticking to the original question instead of starting a new one also keeps all the history together; I've sometimes seen people ask nearly the same question several times (deleting and then re-asking), and it's confusing when I think I remember something in the edit history or a request for clarification in a comment and there's no sign of it now.

Notice that I talked about fixing the problems that led to the deletion. If your question was deleted as abandoned, then not only was it unanswered but it also wasn't upvoted. Maybe that's because it's a super-obscure topic and few people even read it -- or maybe it means there is room for improvement in the question. The best course of action, then, is to edit to improve it and then request undeletion from users with the undelete privilege. On the sites I frequent, this is usually done via a request on meta.

When it is undeleted, you can post and accept your answer and that will prevent it from being automatically deleted again. But with luck, you've improved the question and written a good answer and the resulting upvotes would prevent automatic deletion anyway.

  • The self-answer will prevent it from being immediately re-deleted as abandoned, because the check only covers questions with no answers. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Apr 27 '18 at 15:13
  • Also, the fact that a question is deleted does not count towards a ban if it's more than 30 days old when deleted. This is to prevent questions deleted as part of procedural cleanups from counting. (This doesn't apply to answers.) – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Apr 27 '18 at 17:41
  • @SonicWizard re the ban, it doesn't? Do you happen to recall where that's documented? (I don't actually know if 0-score self-accepted answers protect a question; self-answers are special-cased in some other ways, so maybe this too -- or maybe not. I don't have an example handy.) – Monica Cellio Apr 27 '18 at 17:43
  • This is documented here as well as in the ban FAQ. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Apr 27 '18 at 17:50
  • Also, the abandoned check only applies to questions with no answers; questions with any answers are exempt. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Apr 27 '18 at 17:51
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    I think this question is a reasonably obscure topic (in my case, making a firewall appliance expecting a public static IP work with an uncooperative ISP-approved ADSL modem); but for the life of my I couldn't find anything covering how to do this. So I guess this might save the few others who find themselves in this situation the trouble I had. I'll edit the question and write an answer when I'm next at work, where I have the notes. – MeMyselfI Apr 29 '18 at 12:38
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    Shog says here in a comment that it may be more efficient to post a new question. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog May 15 '18 at 4:42
  • @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog getting a deleted unanswered question undeleted so it can be a live unanswered question isn't very helpful. In this case the OP wants to answer it, which feels like a value-add to me. If there's nobody waiting to answer it then I agree that undeleting it isn't likely to be a win. – Monica Cellio May 15 '18 at 13:57
  • This question is now linked in the help center, so it may get you more views. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog May 15 '18 at 23:09
  • @Monica Cellio This topic math.stackexchange.com/questions/2706956 with beautiful problem and my nice answer was deleted. How can we undelete this topic? Thank you! – Michael Rozenberg Aug 16 '18 at 14:02
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    @MichaelRozenberg I'm afraid I probably wouldn't know enough to be able to comment on that Q&A even if I could see it. If you can tell what the problem with the question is and can fix it, edit and ask the community to undelete. Or raise the question on your site's meta. I don't know how things work on Math, but I've seen the community fix and undelete questions on other sites, if the problem is fixable. – Monica Cellio Aug 16 '18 at 17:08
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Monica's advice on fixing the question is solid - anything you can do to correct whatever caused it to not get the necessary attention the first time around is worth doing.

In particular, take this opportunity to add what you've learned in the time since you first asked.

But then... Just re-ask the question. Sure you can vote to undelete it, or flag it for moderator attention, or bring it up on meta... But all of that requires a lot more time and effort - yours and others' - to accomplish the same thing that re-asking it would.

And re-asking means everything starts fresh. You don't have to familiarize yourself with the myriad rules for automatic deletion that might kick in again, or drag along the increasingly-irrelevant history of the question as it existed prior to its deletion.

The one exception I'd make is if someone posted a great answer to the question prior to it being deleted, and neither you nor anyone else noticed it. That's very rare, but if it happens then you definitely should flag for moderator attention and ask for undeletion.

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I see nothing wrong with both options.

I'd suggest as follows. If the question is a complicated one, and it's going to take too much work to write it up, or you know that you're not going to do as good of a job as you did when you first wrote it, in that case the best option would be to post a question in meta of your site and ask users with 10k or moderators to undelete the question.

If however, it's not so hard to write it up again, you could just post a new question and then self answer it, as it's not going to be make as duplicate of a deleted question.

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