I asked a question, and then realised the premise of my question was wrong. I want to first delete it, then edit it, then undelete it. If I edit it while it is live, there is a risk of users wasting their time answering the wrong post. However, when I delete it, then try to edit it, a brief tooltip tells me:

You cannot edit your own deleted question. Undelete before editing.

According to the answers to this question, this system exists to avoid spammers asking a question, deleting it, editing it, then undeleting it a month later where it goes unnoticed (because undeleted is not bumped). I appreciate this, but I think there may be other alternatives, such as:

  • a grace time during which deleted questions can be edited
  • bumping old undeleted questions, or
  • requiring some reputation to edit self-deleted questions.

Please let me edit my own deleted question. I have good reasons for this approach.

  • 6
    It was an avenue for spam to be added to the site, so it was removed. We don't bump posts when they're undeleted and questions that are currently deleted don't show as active so they get no review. A spammer can draft, delete, edit and then wait a month... then undelete... and now there's spam on the site. Draft your edits, undelete, then actually edit the question.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 6 '19 at 9:50
  • @Catija Thanks for clarifying how it opens up a window for abuse (the linked post did not explain the technical reason).
    – gerrit
    May 6 '19 at 9:52
  • @Catija Why not implement the same for answers? While editing deleted answers does bump the post, one could edit their answer, wait for the question to slide off the homepage, and then undelete the answer. May 6 '19 at 10:06
  • 1
    @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog Not quite a duplicate; linked question asks for motivation, I'm proposing to change it (and offering several alternatives how it could, while still avoiding spammers).
    – gerrit
    May 6 '19 at 10:07
  • 2
    @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog Because high rep users can see the bumped but not deleted questions and review the edits on the deleted answers.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 6 '19 at 10:09
  • 2
    @Catija What if I post spam, immediately self-delete, then undelete a month later? How is the edit step essential? Do self-deleted posts still get spam flags after deletion?
    – gerrit
    May 6 '19 at 10:11
  • 1
    @Catija How does a high-rep user know to check for undeletion rights? They may assume that it's already taken care of because it's deleted. Also, what about sites without active 10k+ users? May 6 '19 at 10:14
  • 3
    @gerrit The edit is what causes the bump... and it draws the eyes of Charcoal, too. It's never going to be 100% but the goal is to catch what we can catch... and this was a big enough problem in the past that we shut it down. Deleted posts can get flags from users, the edits can also be rolled back by the users who can see them. There probably are much better ways to do this than what we did... and we may be able to take user rep into account. It's pretty rare that someone interested in spamming can get 100 rep, or 200 network rep, so maybe add it to the association bonus perks.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 6 '19 at 18:53
  • 3
    @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog I mean... that's kinda irrelevant. If I (as a high-rep user) saw a "modified" post in the recently active and viewed it and saw that it was edited to add spam... I'd roll it back and flag it for mod attention. Whether the OP can manually undelete doesn't matter. If it's flagged for a mod, the mod can undelete and spam flag delete. As I said in my prior message, though... it's not about 100% perfection, it's about addressing the bulk problem and the answer editing and undeleting just isn't common enough as far as we're aware to worry about.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 6 '19 at 18:57
  • I'm not fond of the suggested grace period, but I see little harm in putting this behind a reputation requirement. This would also limit its usability, but considering there are very little spammers (if any) with 250 rep and most users who actually care are above that threshold...
    – Mast
    Jul 15 at 7:48

I also think that the current rule is not ideal and I have a simple suggestion that, in my opinion, will avoid all problems:

Allow users to edit and undelete self-deleted questions in one action.

This can be communicated in one of two ways (or both combined):

  • Change the text of the Save edits button to Save edits and undelete. And/or...

  • When the user clicks Save edits, display a warning message informing the user that the question will be undeleted. For example:

    You cannot edit your own deleted question. If you save this edit, the question will be automatically undeleted. Continue?

Some might argue that it could be an inconvenience for the user if they have to work on a long edit just to realize, after the fact, that they can't save it. In that case, we could also have a warning displayed on the /edit view; similar to what is displayed when editing an old revision or the notice that is shown to users without full edit privileges.

I personally don't think that this last part is necessary because anyone editing their self-deleted question should be trying to improve it to then undelete it anyway. They might just realize that they have to do so in one single edit rather than in a few subsequent ones (if they were planning to do so).


As Catija said, undeletion does not bump posts so the ability to edit questions you have deleted while they are deleted is not permitted as it would (and did) allow spammers to add difficult to detect spam.

You've two choices here

  1. copy the deleted question into an editor or begin asking another question and modify that till you're happy with it. You can then undelete the original question and immediately modify it.

  2. Accept that the original question was wrong and simply ask a new one. As long as that's a rare or one-off occurance that's not going to be a problem. If you do it regularly it's a sign you need to spend more time thinking about and composing your questions before submitting them.

If you need the original question's source you can navigate to the source link in the question's revision history.

  • Choice 1 is difficult because I can't retrieved the markdown source if I can't edit the question (or can I?). But I could undelete, then quickly copy-paste the source into a new question, then quickly delete again.
    – gerrit
    May 6 '19 at 10:04
  • 4
    @gerrit You can manually navigate to /posts/[post ID]/revisions and click on "source" on the latest revision. May 6 '19 at 10:08
  • Go to the source link in the revision history of the question. May 6 '19 at 10:08
  • 3. Change the implementation to address the technical limitation Jul 19 at 15:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .