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Recently, I came across a question that had been vandalized by the OP. I left a canned "Don't vandalize posts" comment I use for these situations that contains the text:

... If you want to know more about deleting a post please see: How does deleting work?

The OP responded that they can't actually delete the question, which is true, since they are unregistered. As mentioned in the FAQ on deletion:

Unregistered users (users who haven't registered their account - that is, associated a Google, Facebook, or Stack Exchange account with it) can't delete any of their own posts.

There have been requests for this feature, e.g. Allow unregistered accounts to delete their own posts, but the feature is not currently implemented.

How should I deal with such a question, which doesn't have any answers, and which the OP would be able to delete if they had only registered their account?

  • Should I ask the OP to register their account? I already suggested they do that, but that didn't work (for reasons I didn't inquire into), and may not be what the OP wants to do anyway.

  • Should I flag the question for deletion on the OP's behalf? The OP can't do this, since they have less than 15 reputation, and as far as I can tell that requirement is not waived for flagging one's own posts. I'm not sure if this is an appropriate use of a moderator's time though.

  • Should I tell the OP not to worry about it, now that they've done everything they can by leaving a comment? That does mean the question might just hang around indefinitely, and that's probably not a good result. Also, the OP may try to delete the post again by vandalizing it, which creates more work for other users. This will raise a moderator flag, who is then likely to delete the question, but this is probably not a reliable system.

  • Something else ...?

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    Someone, I don't know who (they deleted the auto generated comment for some reason) suggested that this question is a duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/35292 That post seems to be a specific case of a registered user who wanted to delete a question they accidentally posted from an unregistered account. This isn't really the same thing since I don't know why the OP wants to delete their question; I only know they want to do that.
    – cigien
    Feb 22 at 2:08
  • Does this answer your question? Why can I flag my own question/answer?
    – Rob
    Feb 22 at 4:01
  • @Rob Does that work if one has less than 15 rep? I can't seem to find an exception stating that one can flag one's own posts regardless of rep.
    – cigien
    Feb 22 at 4:04
  • There are two different duplicate URLs thus far, and the system generated comments that appear to be questions have been addressed in meta.stackexchange.com/a/322016/282094 and meta.stackexchange.com/a/19757/282094
    – Rob
    Feb 22 at 4:19
  • @Rob Yes, I understand where those system generated comments come from; it's because users suggested duplicate targets for this question. I explained why I think the first suggested target doesn't apply in my first comment. As to your suggested target, I don't think that one applies since the OP doesn't have 15 reputation, which is required to flag posts (and as far as I can tell, there's no exception for one's own posts).
    – cigien
    Feb 22 at 4:29
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Ideally, this:

Should I ask the OP to register their account?

Yes, that's the best course of action in my opinion. Ask the OP to register the account, and explain to them that by doing so they can delete the question.

If the OP refuse to register, it's 100% their problem. Suppose someone wants to buy something in a shop, and not willing to pay. It's not the shop owner's fault.

As for further action, it depends on the contents of the question:

  • If the question should be deleted anyway (e.g. poor quality, no value to others, etc.) then you can flag it using custom reason and explaining the situation.
  • If the question is not bad better just leave it alone, and keep an eye for further abusive edits by OP.

In case of "edit wars", automatic mod flag is indeed raised, and moderator can lock the question. OP won't be happy, but again, it's their own fault, so you should not be bothered by it.

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    Yeah, this does seem like the best option. FWIW, the OP on that post eventually managed to get their account registered, and deleted the question themselves :)
    – cigien
    Feb 22 at 6:56
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    Alo, if the post is closed and downvoted, don't bother the moderators with a deletion request; the post will be roomba'd eventually anyway. Feb 22 at 10:57
  • Even registered users don’t have the right to delete their posts in all situations; they just have the right to be disassociated from them. How does that work with an unregistered account?
    – ColleenV
    Mar 13 at 12:13
  • @ColleenV unregistered user can't delete at all, even if the question has no answers. Mar 13 at 13:43
  • @ShadowWizardisVaccinating Yes, I understand. My point is that registration doesn’t always “solve” that. Are unregistered users already considered “disassociated” from their posts because they aren’t registered? I don’t know.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 13 at 14:38
  • @ColleenV they're associated to the post just like registered users, you can't know they're unregistered unless going to their profile, or using the API to get that data. Mar 13 at 18:51

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