Today on a site I moderate we got a disputed low quality review flag on a post with the reason "Post was undeleted by the author". By the standards of our site, this deletion was entirely valid and the post had a negative score as required for this kind of deletion. The post hadn't been edited since being deleted, so no improvement to it had been attempted. It was deleted again by a moderator for these reasons.
From the Deletion FAQ:
Normally, if your deleted post is not self-deleted, you can't undelete it yourself (though you may be able to vote to undelete). An exception is if an answer is deleted from Low Quality review queue by "Recommend Deletion" reviews, without three trusted users voting to delete, then it can be undeleted by the author.
Part of an early explanation for this implementation from 2014 seems to be largely technical:
- It doesn't happen that often
- Fixing it in the way you describe requires stuffing reviewers names into the deletion record - that is, we can't just attribute the deletion to Community, or undeletion is locked. It might actually make more sense to just unlock Community-deleted posts (that is, allow 3 trusted users to undelete them), but we never followed up on that previously because there were such a small number of these in play (see #1).
Part two is no longer an concern - Community deletions no longer carry the weight of a diamond and can be undeleted by three trusted users voting to undelete the post. From the FAQ:
If your post was deleted by trusted users or by the Community user, it will require three undelete votes to be undeleted - politely asking for this on the per-site meta may attract the necessary votes if you make a good case for why the question should be restored.
So, this leaves only the "It doesn't happen that often" explanation for it. Now, as I noted (and as the response to the Feature Request asking for this to be changed states) the solution was to raise an automatic moderator flag on the few occasions it does happen. A bug report was also marked as a duplicate of that Feature Request and marked as by-design with the explanation
You're be surprised how many of these auto-flags I dismiss because the post should have never been deleted in the first place, or the post has been improved since deletion and is now a valid post. If I had to guesstimate, I'd say well over half.
So, now we've got two explanations:
- It doesn't happen that often
- The deletions were invalid
So that makes me wonder, both of the linked posts were written several years ago
- are these still that rare?
- what percentage of the mod flags result in deletion/no action?
A bit about my concerns:
Our site has been struggling to get users to recognize certain requirements for post quality and get them to act so that these low-quality answers can be deleted by the users rather than the moderators. Many of our users are frustrated and confused about what qualifies as a sufficiently supported answer and when they should recommend deletion. It's an uphill battle that we're working through on meta and expect to continue to work through for a while still.
That being said, having the work of these six users single-handedly invalidated by a user with no reputation on the site seems unkind to the users who do. There is nothing in place to even cause a speed bump to this or make it visible to the non-moderator users of the site:
- No edit is required (yes, we can argue about how valuable such an edit would be were it required - but it's something)
- Without an edit, undeletion doesn't mark a question as "active", so it doesn't show up on the front page to draw any attention.
- Any delete votes from trusted users are removed upon undeletion, requiring those trusted users to cast the vote a second time if they still think the post should be deleted.
- When a moderator reviews that post and deletes it again, such a deletion requires a moderator to undelete it if it's ever fixed.
So, why do we do it this way? Could we do something better? Different?
Thoughts I've had about it:
- Could the moderator flag be raised before the actual undeletion goes through?
- the user could be given the option to "request undeletion".
- This could also be useful in cases of mod-deleted answers that require moderator undeletion.
- Do moderator deletions still need to prevent trusted users from undeleting the post?
- Moderators could lock deleted posts that should stay deleted rather than forcing this locked state.
- There is no delete/undelete queue, trusted users have to visit the "10K tools" page to see if posts have delete/undelete votes
- would having one help?
- what would cause something to go into this queue?