The help page on deleted questions on (English) stackoverflow states:

Questions that have been closed within the past 48 hours cannot be deleted, so as to allow for editing and possible reopening.

[emphasis mine]

The context here appears to be votes to delete, rather than other types of deletion (such as deletion by the user or by a moderator, or auto-deletion of spam/offensive posts).

However, buried in the FAQ that is linked from near the very end of that help page, it states:

Users with reputation ≥ 20k (more precisely, the trusted user privilege; 4k on beta sites), can vote to delete closed questions within 48 hours of being closed, so long as they score −3 or lower.

This information from the FAQ appears to be correct, in that I am aware of a question that was deleted within about an hour of closure.

I accept that the help page might not be the place to go into full detail, but even so, it should not be misleading, and "cannot be deleted" is evidently an over-simplification (as clearly they can, under certain circumstances). Would it make sense to amend it to a slightly more nuanced version, such as "cannot be deleted except by trusted users"? Even just "cannot usually be deleted" could work if the aim is to be as concise as possible -- but it needs something to alert the reader to the fact that "cannot be deleted" is not the whole story.

(By the way, the question which I know was indeed deleted within a short time of closure is one that I had answered, so it is still visible to me via my deleted answers, along with the approximate timings of closure and deletion. However, I won't identify the individual question, so that this is not misinterpreted as an attempt to challenge that deletion.)

  • 9
    "Is there inaccurate information in the SO help page..." Yes. In a lot of them, because a lot of them were never reviewed for accuracy when originally written or never get updated due to feature changes. I'd guess most of the articles have inaccurate information in them and most of the help center as a whole needs to be rewritten. :/ That incorrect statement has been in that article since it was created back in 2013.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Aug 16, 2020 at 1:15
  • 2
    Yep, at the time, the system used to prevent authors from deleting recently-closed questions, but that prohibition was later removed. Aug 16, 2020 at 1:33
  • 1
    @animuson any chance to revive the system that lets high rep users edit the help center here on MSE then propagate the changes to the rest of the sites? This will save lots of time for SE staff in the long run. Aug 16, 2020 at 6:30
  • @Shadow I think moderators can do it, I wouldn't trust non-moderators with that ability.
    – Mast
    Aug 16, 2020 at 11:02
  • Pages which are identical between all sites should probably stay under jurisdiction of SE team, CMs perhaps.
    – Mast
    Aug 16, 2020 at 11:04


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