I saw something deeply disturbing today:

A completely sarcastic answer that went right to the heart of the question and eviscerated it with the clean precision of an exacto knife.

But it was deleted by the owner! Presumably because they wanted to be nice -insert eyeroll here-.

What was disturbing was that I could not vote to undelete!

This travesty must be corrected! I understand such a powerful tool is not to be used lightly, though, so I suggest it be place in the hands of those that can be trusted to make the right decision, for the right reasons, at the right time.

  • ... did you mix up the title with what you said in the post? I'm confused.
    – Jon Seigel
    Jun 12, 2010 at 3:41
  • 1
    @Jon - I might have, but you'll never know for sure!
    – Pollyanna
    Jun 12, 2010 at 4:04
  • 3
    You're a mean drunk, Pollyanna
    – Shog9
    Jun 12, 2010 at 4:17
  • 1
    @shog9 - I'm not as think as you drunk I am.
    – Pollyanna
    Jun 12, 2010 at 4:27
  • 3
    <backs away slowly out of this question>
    – Jon Seigel
    Jun 12, 2010 at 4:31
  • 2
    We need links. Unless it was one of my answers, in which case a short summary is fine.
    – Aarobot
    Jun 12, 2010 at 13:57
  • I'm actually surprised... I figured that if 10k users are able to edit self-deleted posts of other users, they'd be able to vote to undelete them just like questions.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jun 12, 2010 at 14:10
  • @ccomet - I believe it's a relatively recent change - I do recall being able to vote to undelete self-deleted questions some time ago.
    – Pollyanna
    Jun 13, 2010 at 4:10
  • Links!---------
    – Pekka
    Jul 6, 2010 at 20:21
  • This seems to be implemented, I successfully voted to undelete a self deleted question recently
    – Ben Brocka
    Jun 15, 2012 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


I think that we should respect the wishes of the author and keep self-deleted posts deleted. I'd even go so far as to say that self deleted answers shouldn't appear to 10k users at all.

  • 17
    +1 Agree, you should be able to delete something you posted in the heat of a moment
    – Andomar
    Jun 12, 2010 at 8:29

I think this feature is a BAD idea.

There is a very large difference between community-deleted and user-deleted. Community deleted is when the community (five members of it) is claiming that the information (or insults) provided are not appropriate or beneficial to StackOverflow. This also implies that the community (a separate five members) can also reverse that decision. These are external decisions, and therefore, the 10k members must be able to see the deleted posts in order to decide if they are worth reinstating.

This is very much different from a self-deleted post. When I self-delete, it may be for a number of reasons. (these are just a few)

  1. It was insulting or sarcastic. I should not have posted in the first place.
  2. It was wrong. Correcting it would make a duplicate.
  3. It contained some information which I should not have posted. I could get in legal trouble.
  4. It was controversial, I'm getting too many downvotes.
  5. It was glib or challenging the OP, although technically helpful.

In the cases of 1,2,3: Not only do I feel it is inappropriate for the site, I don't want it sitting on the question for 10k users to read. I really should not have posted any of them in the first place and I want them permanently gone. If anyone has the ability to even read these things, I would be upset. (Obviously, they already have that ability. I just deal with it.)

4: Is a little more of an edge case, the user still stands by their post, but by community consensus (of votes) they decided to bend to the will of the people and delete it. The user is trying to shield themselves from downvotes and enact what the community suggested. In this case if someone undeletes it, they are again subverting the will of the user, and once again exposing them to downvotes on an already unpopular suggestion.

5: This is the one that the question is really about. I'm separating it out from (1) because the OP is distinguishing them.

I'll illustrate with an example. When I was quite new to the site, I posted an answer that consisted of "LMGTFY". The question was "How do I echo to screen in a batch file". I got a few upvotes on it. A few hours passed, and other users provided stronger (and not mean-spirited) answers, while I still got a few upvotes. I reconsidered my answer and decided that it was not behaviour which I would condone or support in anyone else. So I deleted it.

Obviously, there are 25k users who are mean-spirited and cruel, who believe that sense of decency and encouragement is neither required nor desired. And there is certainly enough of them to see my post, decide it is delightful, and reinstate it. Except that I don't want those words associated with me at all. And I don't want them to appear anywhere on the site. At that point, undeletion would amount to "putting words in my mouth". Because I have clearly recanted what I said.

Again, I think this feature is a BAD idea.

  • 1
    I will only undelete something deleted by a user, when I think it was deleted in bad faith, and the underlying content adds a lot of value. Jul 6, 2010 at 20:51
  • 1
    @Jeff, what would constitute a bad-faith self-deletion? Are you referring to the possibility that a user deletes their own content because they object to the OP?
    – devinb
    Jul 6, 2010 at 20:58
  • 3
    @devinb for example, sometimes users just get pissed off and decide to delete all their content out of spite. That's "bad faith". Jul 6, 2010 at 21:38
  • @Jeff – Good point. I had that once. I can't find it anymore, though it wasn't that much more helpful than other answers. Jul 6, 2010 at 22:04
  • @Jeff, Good example.
    – devinb
    Jul 6, 2010 at 22:05
  • I'm not calling it bad faith deletion. I'm just giving an example of why it may be a good idea to appeal for an undeletion. Not necessarily as a community driven process, I think it occurs in such rare cases that it is better to keep it moderator restricted. Nevertheless, I'll retract my example.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jul 7, 2010 at 13:38
  • I wonder how much of my opposition to privileged self-deletion is resultant from personal frustration at being unable to delete a question which has no grounds to stay alive, and by stated rules I should be able to self-delete, but have been unable to delete it.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jul 7, 2010 at 16:40
  • @Grace please rephrase. Unclear
    – devinb
    Jul 7, 2010 at 17:15
  • There's an early question I asked, with no benefits to stay on the site in my eyes, but I'm not allowed to delete it. According to the FAQ and some research by myself, Jon Seigel, and Shog9, there is no reason that I should not be able to self-delete. So I just felt like musing about how much that experience might color my opinions against giving self-deletion such privilege.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jul 7, 2010 at 17:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .