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In general, there's a lot of push back against documenting why a post gets deleted. In looking at various posts similar to this, it's been explained that nothing really needs to be documented, that the reasons for deleting a post are pretty clear. That any requirement to document a reason could be circumvented. That there are not enough admins and more than enough users...etc... In my humble opinion, it should be done, in fact it should be 100 percent mandatory. I can give a great example why:

This is a deleted answer

I'm well aware that there are a few reasons an answer can be deleted. The most glaring is if you don't answer the question. The other reasons are:

Answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. This includes answers that are:

  • commentary on the question or other answers

  • asking another, different question

  • “thanks!” or “me too!” responses

  • exact duplicates of other answers

  • barely more than a link to an external site

  • not even a partial answer to the actual question

Now, on the answer I linked to, the answer given doesn't qualify as any of the above reasons. It is, in fact, a different explanation for the error with an explanation that included an image. However, a mod came by and deleted that answer and in fact, turned it into a comment. If you'll look at the comment, it's ended before the actual answer is ended and the image is removed, both of which change the answer.

Without a comment as to why this was deleted there's no way to tell what the mod thought was wrong with the answer. To add to this, it can't be undeleted if you have less than 50 points. You can flag it, HOWEVER if you do that, you must explain why you're flagging it.

In other words, you have to make a case for un-deletion but the mod / admin that deleted has to do nothing other than click a button. That's simply not correct. In both cases documentation needs to exist. This does two things:

  1. It allows the user to see why the admin/mod deleted it, and it creates a record for other admins / mods to view and to see why this was deleted.

  2. It allows the user to see what rule was violated and why. That way the user learns. It also gives the user something to challenge directly , if they choose to do so. As of right now, the challenge is blind and as a result, unfairly weighed in the direction of the mod.

  3. Allows for documentation on the admins side, in case this user is engaging in a pattern of disruptive behaviour. For example, if this user's contributions were looked at and say they had 10 good posts and 3 deletions all in one area for the same reason, this could be used to show a pattern of behaviour in one area, creating a real and convincing reason for this user to be possibly banned or blocked from a certain area in stack.

As you can see, this is a case where everyone wins. There's literally no reason not to do it.

As to the reasons against:

The reasons are clear - although we have a link that explains why posts can be deleted, I think you'll agree this post doesn't fit any of those rationales, therefore a note from the admin would have been extremely helpful (see points 1 , 2 and 3 ). The pointers on the question offer on generic explanations and not specific explanations as to the reason for deletion.

That it can circumvented - Yes, nothing's 100 percent foolproof, but if any admin/mod tries to circumvent this, they should loose their mod/admin rights on the spot.

Too many users, not enough admins - That's true of any site. HOWEVER you have to remember, although we can flag that post and ask for it to be reviewed, we're absolutely required to give reasons for our flag, we can't just flag it and be done with it. Further, we can't undelete our message and request a concensus from other users.

It's obvious that the system is weighed in favor of the admins / mods - so I propose to even the odds, if the admins / mods want to delete a message, they must indicate why this is so. Once again, per points 1 , 2 and 3 it's an everyone wins situation.

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    "It's obvious that the system is weighed in favor of the admins / mods". Well, yes, that's intentional. Mods at least are elected from within the community, and are elected because they're trusted to make the right decisions. "evening the odds" would be counter-productive. – cigien Apr 20 at 13:04
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    You appear to be under the notion that only moderators can delete posts. This is not the case, users with enough reputation can under certain circumstances vote to delete a post. – Luuklag Apr 20 at 13:08
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    See how fast that spam answer got deleted, do we really need people to type an explanation for that? – Warcupine Apr 20 at 13:10
  • @Warcupine ironically, the OP can't even see it :) Which is also true of the deleted answer the question is about; KoshVorlon, it would be good if you could provide a screenshot. – Glorfindel Apr 20 at 13:17
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    "it can't be undeleted if you have less than 50 points" > That's not even true... if you're going to copy-paste posts from one site to the other (and delete the original), at least make sure to at least do so carefully and get every change that needs to be made. – Tinkeringbell Apr 20 at 13:21
  • Agreed. The intent/reason is seldom clear when moderators go around and willy-nilly deleted answers (e.g., on Stack Overflow). – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Apr 21 at 2:43
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As you can see, this is a case where everyone wins. There's literally no reason not to do it.

Yes, there is. On sites like Stack Overflow, there are so many flags per day that it's not reasonable to expect ♦ moderators to provide a detailed reasoning for every post deletion they perform. I moderate a couple of smaller sites and I tend to leave a comment (often autogenerated) whenever I delete a post, but in blatantly obvious cases I'll omit it. There are more useful things I can do with my time.

When in doubt, or when you want to challenge a deletion, just use one of the regular 'appeal' processes: flag the post for moderator attention, ask a question on the site's own meta or post a message in chat; some sites have a dedicate chatroom for issues involving moderation, like this one.

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There's no reason why you can't ask a clarification question on the relevant sites Meta site asking for why the answer was deleted.

Given enough rep, you can also ping the relevant mod in chat and discuss the matter. Most moderators are open to discussion and are willing to guide users.

There might be cases where some sites are more rigorous in their moderation and content is removed if it goes against local policy. In that case, look in the relevant Meta site for guidelines and previous discussions of deleted content, or create a new Meta question if you don't see the answers.

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