It would make looking for the answers we have deleted so much easier...

  • 8
    Not too long ago I deleted my answer because it was just a dead wrong answer, but now I want to go back and reevaluate the question and attempt another answer, but no matter what I do I cannot seem to find that specific question. If I could search for my deleted answers I would be able to find it quickly. Jul 20, 2010 at 13:46
  • @Jeff: Is the decline reason covered by the concerns of Pollyanna? Aug 30, 2010 at 11:46
  • 3
    Since Jeff hasn't posted anything on this question, I don't think the @ method will work to message him. You'll have to send an email directly. It's really depressing not being able to search deleted messages, especially when so many messages are still being deleted like crazy. But Jeff with his powers doesn't have any problem searching deleted messages, so I don't think he relates to the issue at all. Aug 30, 2010 at 14:49
  • @Lance: I seem to recall there was a feature request last year for @name messages to ping the relevant people even if they only participated by editing or closing a question. But maybe my memory lets me down. Thanks for your support for this req, btw. Aug 30, 2010 at 16:50
  • I just learned that moderators (not 10k) have deleted:yes already. So, this would be a matter of enabling that for anyone...
    – Arjan
    Apr 30, 2013 at 15:23
  • @Arjan: Right. I think they've had that since spring 2011, so it postdates this request, and I think it's clear that staff don't want this power for all 10k+ users. Apr 30, 2013 at 15:35
  • This is now implemented, see the duplicate. Apr 3, 2017 at 11:29

4 Answers 4


The search operator deleted:1 (or 0) works for community moderators, so despite this has been implemented, at least in a restricted way.

  • and deleted:1 is also available for >10K users but limited to searching in their own posts.
    – rene
    Aug 22, 2018 at 11:19

I'm a little torn on this issue.

I've been in situations where I've needed to find a deleted post, but had a hard time (fortunately it was in the google cache, so I could get the question number and use it directly) — it's helpful for those poor souls that post really bad questions, get great answers, and then have it deleted because it doesn't belong.

On the flip side, we recently had one OP request on meta that their SO post be deleted due to client copyright issues. It was edited to remove the content, then deleted, then the relevant meta question deleted so it would be hard to find because the data is still visible to 10k users. Further, some people delete their post once they realize there's a problem posting that info publicly, but they assume once it's deleted it's gone forever, so they never notify [email protected] to remove it from the database directly.

So there's a class of reasons to make it easier to find deleted content, but there's an opposing class of reasons for making it difficult. Even if they implemented a process to allow permanent database removal for special cases, they wouldn't always be used due to user misconceptions.

Right now we have a compromise — yes, the data is still there, but it's really really hard to find without contacting the team. Since the need to find a deleted question is (and should be, since it doesn't belong) rare, I don't know that there's a compelling reason to have this search feature.


We definitely need a search operator for deleted posts. I think for the issue Adam Davis addressed, that the mods should be able to completely scrub a post in those particular circumstances (with SO Team accessible archives and timeline for legal reasons).


I agree, but few points might need to consider for them

  • search is for everyone, but deleted questions / answers can only seen by 10k+ users, mods, and answer owners, its a little bit contradict there. they might need to do search based on reputation

  • 10k tools already have recently deleted questions list, so 10k+ users may probably not needed

  • I think the intention is to use isdeleted together with other search axes in order to find specific deletes faster. The 10K tools don't give that to the extent this new axis would.
    – squillman
    Mar 4, 2010 at 14:23
  • agree, crossed-out
    – YOU
    Mar 4, 2010 at 15:06

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