Even though two of my questions got closed, there were some exceedingly in-depth and useful answers provided for one of them, over 6-7 answers in fact, with time spent answering them on the part of the answerers.

Is there a way for me, as the author, to view my vilified and deleted questions? There is a question from a month ago that I'd like to re-read the answers for.

I bet this is a duplicate too, but it's not in FAQ! Consider it a 'feature request' or 'complaint' or 'comment', perhaps 'feedback'.


edit: changed title

  • Jon - that confirms that the deleted messages cannot be seen. That is indeed frustrating.
    – Emmel
    May 19, 2010 at 19:50
  • Where is the question this is about? May 19, 2010 at 21:20
  • It's on Stackoverflow. It's about C pointers, by me. Why can't I give you more information, like a cut and paste or a link? Because it's deleted! :-)
    – Emmel
    May 19, 2010 at 21:36
  • That new title does not match the actual question at all, if you ask me.
    – Arjan
    May 20, 2010 at 5:06

5 Answers 5


As a 10k+ Stack Overflow member, I can attest that closed questions are unfortunately very frequently deleted, even if they have good answers. There are some who spend a lot of time finding closed undeleted questions and deleting them.

That said, there are 9300 that are closed but not deleted as of the last dump. If deleted questions ever actually made it into the dump, I'd not doubt that they would outweigh the closed ones by a significant margin.

  • Maybe they should increase the reputation count needed to delete closed questions, so there are less hawks; barring that leave the question and its answers visible to the asker only.
    – Emmel
    May 19, 2010 at 20:09
  • @emmel: The rep count is already very high, 10k+. There are a lot of users at 10k+ right now, though, and it only takes 3 votes to delete a closed question.
    – Randolpho
    May 19, 2010 at 20:13
  • Actually, I was just thinking about suggesting a limit to the number of delete votes a day (say 6). @Emmel: There are already relatively few people with 10k+ rep, very few who use the 10k tools, and extremely few who actually delete questions.
    – mmyers
    May 19, 2010 at 20:16
  • 1
    @Randolpho: It takes 3 votes to delete and 3 to undelete.
    – mmyers
    May 19, 2010 at 20:16
  • @mmyers: for some reason I forgot about that! Edited my comment to hide my stupidity....
    – Randolpho
    May 19, 2010 at 20:17
  • @Randolpho This is incorrect. I can vote to undelete questions to my hearts content, and often do. May 19, 2010 at 20:18

Like Lance, I'm not a 10k-er, so I can't speak to your particular deleted questions. But deletion is covered in the FAQ, here. You seem to be conflating deletion and closure; closure is described in the FAQ here. You might also be interested in the FAQ entry on locked questions, located here.

If that information leads you to new questions, feel free to edit your post with the link on the bottom left of the question.

  • Alright, so it is acknowledged in a FAQ. I take that back. What remains unaddressed are my other concerns. The answers are NOT duplicates and NOT useless and effort was taken on the part of individuals to produce them. Is there a procedural problem here?
    – Emmel
    May 19, 2010 at 20:07
  • 2
    @Emmel: not procedural... let's just say that there are some over-zealous 10k+ers on SO that try to "clean up" a little more vigorously than they maybe should do. Don't forget that SO is mostly community run.
    – Randolpho
    May 19, 2010 at 20:10
  • @Randolpho: Understood. Perhaps the power to delete should be in a smaller group of hands. These people think they are janitorial staff picking up discarded banana peels, when in fact they're deleting information that a number of people might find valuable (i.e., new and complex answers to a possibly duplicate question).
    – Emmel
    May 19, 2010 at 20:14


The stackoverflow team got back to me already -- they agreed that it should have been merged and not deleted, and they fixed my question by undeleting and merging it. They said that it was mishandled, and suggested that I express support for this other question:

Why are we deleting instead of merging?

Very professional and fast response by the stackoverflow team, by the way. Good stuff.

  • 1
    As for merging: why not merge this into your answer about the email you sent?
    – Arjan
    May 20, 2010 at 5:08

While you question may have deserved closure (I'm not a 10k on SO, so I don't know), in general, questions with good answers shouldn't be deleted, in fact, they can't be once they've accumulated enough votes. Therefore a moderator must have deleted it.

You can use the contact us link at the bottom of the page to request that it be undeleted, or maybe they can cut an paste it in an email to you.

You can also access the data dump, if it happened to dump in-between when you opened your question and when it was deleted.

  • 6
    +1 for "questions with good answers shouldn't be deleted"
    – Pops
    May 19, 2010 at 19:40
  • Lance: Ordinary 10k users can vote to delete closed questions that have quite a few answers. I'm not positive that there is a "number of answers" limit to that action. I go through the "pending deletes" list from time to time and do my bit. It takes a while because I have to check the candidate for suitability (duplicates are the worst here, lots to look at). I've never been prevented from casting a delete vote on account of number of answers. May 20, 2010 at 7:50

Message I just sent the team at [email protected]:


Even though my question was (very frustratingly) deleted as a duplicate, there were over 7 responses to it, and individuals spent time writing those answers, and complex responses at that.

I fully understand the need to keep the system clean from duplicates. What I don't understand is why the original author can't view the questions he's asked, even if they're closed or deleted. The effort of all the responders is lost when that happens. And in this case, it was genuinely useful. A question might be a duplicate, but the answers may not be!

I think it's a lamentable situation, because there are people out there who view themselves as Police Enforcers and have a delete-happy trigger-finger. Gangs of them. When it comes to information, it's discomforting to think that it can be deleted and never recovered at the whims of a few obsessive hand-washers. Keep the system clean? Understand. But wipe information forever? Maybe the bar should be raised before people can do this?

If it is not possible to undelete the question, would it be possible for you to e-mail me the entire thread? Or, make it visible to just me?

My account e-mail is **** my openID there mapped to Emmel on StackOverlow.

Regards and thanks for reading this,

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