So, I was looking at a question on the network. Specifically, I was looking at its timeline.

As I was looking at it, the question got deleted. I didn't realize at the time, but I did notice when I tried to click one of the filter buttons. When I clicked the filter button, I got a 404 error.

This confused me at first, and I assumed that somehow one of the filter buttons suddenly broke. However, after a little investigation, I realized the question had been deleted, and then suddenly it all made sense.

Worth noting in this story is that I do not have delete privileges on this particular site.

So, my question is: is this behavior intentional? That is, is the timeline supposed to give a 404 error on deleted questions instead of the standard "this was removed by the author" or "this was removed for reasons of moderation" message? If so, could you explain why you chose to do this?

If this is not intentional (like if it's an over site or bug), then could we maybe extend the deletion message to the timeline for non-delete privileged users? I feel like getting a 404 message from one of the UI's buttons gives the user the wrong idea of what happened. It makes it seem like the interface is broken, when, in reality, it's just a weird edge case sticking its ugly head. I feel like adding the delete message to this screen makes it more clear to the user what actually happened.

  • BTW, I would tag this as feature-request or bug, but I'm not sure which one it is, so I decided on support instead. Please feel free to re-tag if you feel like it belongs in one of those categories better.
    – Chipster
    Sep 28, 2020 at 22:19
  • I think it's by design...but it should at least popup a notice like it does when you're writing an answer and it says the question has since been closed.
    – Ollie
    Sep 29, 2020 at 0:10
  • Do you mean this kind of error, or something else?
    – Ollie
    Sep 29, 2020 at 13:57
  • @Ollie That's not exactly what I mean It is literally a 404 not found page.
    – Chipster
    Sep 29, 2020 at 16:33
  • If one doesn't have the rep to see deleted posts, then one gets 404 on going to the url of a deleted post that isn't theirs. It's intended, a feature. If later you want to make a feature request you should put your reasoning & a feature-request tag in another question post (& not this one). PS Please research before considering posting a question--that summarizes that research. How to Ask help center
    – philipxy
    Nov 9, 2020 at 23:05

1 Answer 1


When loading any page or feature, we normally return an Http 404 when the user is not authorized to view the item. (I know, 403 Forbidden is probably more appropriate than 404 Page not found in some cases, but this is just how we do it for reasons.) So that is why you see this response here. In some cases we may still return some content and let the user know explicitly that they cannot view it (and perhaps why). This is such an edge case that I don't think that that is going to happen here. So on what is happening and on changing it to handle this specific edge case.

click timeline on post
deleted! oh! 4-0-4
bigger fish to fry

  • You forgot to add the tags on the question itself. Nov 10, 2020 at 9:28
  • @Shadow10YearsWizard That was bydesign. We normally only tag bugs and feature requests with status-* tags Nov 10, 2020 at 9:30
  • Well, but if a question is going to lead to changes, it's not a support no matter how it's tagged. :-) Nov 10, 2020 at 9:37
  • Awesome. Thank you. As soon as it will let me award the bounty, I'll do that too.
    – Chipster
    Nov 10, 2020 at 15:44

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