A user recently deleted their own unanswered question (later undeleted by the community, but deleted again by the Roomba). However, there was this other question that had been closed as a duplicate of that question (and one other question) some minutes prior to the former question's deletion.

As of January 2015, users are prevented from deleting their own questions if there is at least one other question closed as a duplicate of that question. To see if this feature hasn't been removed in the meantime, I tried deleting this unanswered question of mine with other questions closed as duplicates of it, and was prevented from doing so.

How was the author of the first linked question able to delete their own question despite there being another question closed as a duplicate of it? I can think of three possibilities:

  • The bug report was about the iOS app, and so it's likely that the user deleted their question using that. It's possible that the API that it uses doesn't enforce this rule.
  • The rule isn't enforced at all server-side (even when using the website), only client-side.
  • The question that is closed as a duplicate of it also has one other target, and since that question would still have a non-deleted target, the system allowed the deletion to take place as normal.

Which is correct? If one of the first two, can it please be fixed? (I understand that the apps aren't supported anymore, but as animuson said, there's nothing in the API code - including the parts powering the public API - that checks for duplicates on voting for deletion.)

  • 3
    I can only image it'd be #1. We do have checks server-side so it's not #2 and looking into the code, there is no reason that #3 would be an issue. Running the query manually myself brings up the question as anticipated and would prevent the delete vote. But I don't see anything in the API code that checks for duplicates or any relevant error message, though to be fair I don't understand the API code anywhere near as well.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Aug 22, 2020 at 0:43

1 Answer 1


This is most likely due to #1 (though I can't prove it since I don't have the mobile app installed or usable on any device). Going to decline it here, as the mobile apps are deprecated. Even though we can fix the API, it has lower and lower usage over time, and this is an edge case that rarely comes up (so we need to budget our dev time elsewhere).

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