Since deleted posts are visible to 10k users why isn't the button called hide or the post really deleted?

What is the reason that 10k users can still see them? Isn't the purpose of deleting something to actually delete it?

  • We could be mistaken. Some of us around here are human ...
    – rene
    Apr 20, 2019 at 12:17
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    We can have a debate about wording but for anyone < 10K deleted really means deleted. Calling it hide would be confusing as well
    – rene
    Apr 20, 2019 at 12:19
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    lastly, not much is really deleted on SE. Most things are only logically deleted/hidden. The only things that come to mind are redactions of posts and maybe 1-rep user accounts that are spam nuked.
    – rene
    Apr 20, 2019 at 12:21
  • @rene if this is so then it would make much more sense to call hide or disable and gray it out. Giving someone an option to delete something and then don't delete it after all is very deceiving. Apr 20, 2019 at 12:23
  • How should I read the downvotes here? Is this a bad question or what is it that you want to say by hitting the downvote button? Apr 20, 2019 at 12:37
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    There's two possible reasons I can think of... firstly, we have a pretty comprehensive FAQ on deletion so some may be downvoting because they consider this lacking research... When it comes to meta, I'm not a huge fan of this practice but... also, on meta downvotes on Feature Requests are used to indicate disagreement with the request... this often leaks over into discussions.
    – Catija
    Apr 20, 2019 at 12:43
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    If the FAQ doesn't answer your question, please feel free to clarify what information you feel is missing and we can try to address that. :)
    – Catija
    Apr 20, 2019 at 12:46
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    When you delete a file from a computer, it's possible to undelete it—and deleted files can be seen by people who run the right utilities. Nobody would say that the word delete should be replaced by hide. To qualify the normally recognized word delete in a way that means something cannot be undeleted, we would instead say permanently delete. Apr 20, 2019 at 15:50
  • @JasonBassford well, this is not the best comparison because there is a huge difference; the deleted file is actually gone! It is not hidden within the folder that contained it before but it's moved to the bin and not even an admin can see it anymore. You can restore it but eventually you can delete it. Apr 22, 2019 at 14:24
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    @john-doe No, you're wrong. The file is not actually gone. Technically, it exists where it always did. It's not moved anywhere—it remains at exactly the same location as before. What happens is that its entry in the table of contents is removed, so that it's no longer visible in a directly listing. But the data, itself, is not gone. Removing its entry from the table of contents (and not touching the data itself) could be considered the same as hiding it. (If using your interpretation.) Apr 22, 2019 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


10K-ers, moderators and OP's can see deleted posts so they are available for moderation purposes.

There are a few reasons posts get deleted, either by clicking the delete link or because the Roomba got it. Red flagged posts also get deleted and hidden (thanks Catija) from direct view.

Users > 10K rep have access to the moderation tools and one of the lists there is recently deleted posts. This allows trusted users to audit the deletion of content and react to removal of anything of value, either by editing it into shape, undelete vote or discuss removal on meta.

Most posts that get deleted are not worth recovering but we can't rule out upfront that some might overlook a good post or some might even abuse it (delete your homework question for example after receiving an answer).

(almost) Nothing on the SE network is permanent deleted. Once you've posted content you gave SE also a license to publish your work. It does that by keeping everything you post in their databases. Being deleted is just another state a post can be in, much like closed. The difference being that deleted posts are only shown to those who are trusted to salvage a missed pearl.

I'm not sure if hide would be a better kind of wording then delete does now. I don't think it would make a difference in how easy or difficult the actual feature can be understood by new or seasoned users.
As for the grayed out option: we already do that for seriously down voted answers.

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    To me, "Hide" implies that it's still visible to everyone who might wish to see it. I think of heavily downvoted posts as being "hidden" by greying them out. For most users on a site, "Deleted" posts are deleted. The percentages of users with accounts who can see deleted posts, not to mention users who are viewing the sites passively, is incredibly small.
    – Catija
    Apr 20, 2019 at 13:05
  • @Catija I get that distinction but hidden and deleted both mean not visible to me as a non-native speaker. Let the language lawyers from ELU.se chime in on this and correct my thinking ...
    – rene
    Apr 20, 2019 at 13:10
  • I'm not disagreeing with your answer. My comment was intended to be more... supplemental. :) Also, of users on SO with <150 rep, only 3% have 10k... now, that's still >15k users but when you're looking at 10 million registered accounts, it's tiny. We do also actually "hide" the content of flag deleted posts from view by 10k users. :P
    – Catija
    Apr 20, 2019 at 13:13
  • I'll virtually accept your answer because I'm not happy about how many downvotes I already got for this question. It's very frustrating to ask anything here. Apr 22, 2019 at 14:27
  • @john-doe I virtually accept your vote then. Take care.
    – rene
    Apr 22, 2019 at 14:45

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