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Why should 10k rep users view self-deleted answers?

When people delete answers I can still see them when logged in as me but not in the public view, as on this question where you can see two answers that have been deleted.

I would think that if someone wants one of their answers to be deleted than it should actually be deleted so that no one can see it anymore. Or that only they can see it in case they want to undelete it.

Or what is the purpose of allowing deleted answers to "live on for some to see"?

  • @Edward, I'll leave the purpose to a Valued Associate, but only users with >10k rep can see deleted answers such as the ones to which you've linked. I, a <2k user on SO, only see the "regular" answers. I can't even see my own deleted question; I get the same error page as I would for an invalid question number.
    – Pops
    Jul 19, 2010 at 14:11
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    @popular demand: how does it make you feel that others can see your deleted answers and you can't? it seems unfair to me Jul 19, 2010 at 14:16
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    @Edward Anyone can see their own deleted answers, it's deleted questions that don't show up (apparently; I wasn't actually aware of that until now) Jul 19, 2010 at 14:17
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    To add onto Michael's comment, the ability to allow the author of a question to see their own deleted questions is an open feature request.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jul 19, 2010 at 14:20
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    @Edward, how I feel has nothing to do with it. I'm just explaining what the current behavior is, not passing a value judgment on it.
    – Pops
    Jul 19, 2010 at 14:27

3 Answers 3


Users with 10K reputation can not only see deleted questions, they can also vote to undelete them. In the case of answers and questions deleted by the owner I think this option shouldn't be used, but in cases where a useful Q or A gets erroneously deleted by the community, it comes in handy. Obviously, you need to be able to see the deleted content in order to vote on whether it should be brought back to life.


I think the only reason is to give a "reward" to the people who reach 10,000 reputation as an incentive to do so.

I have seen no argument that explains why it's beneficial showing questions or answers deleted by the owner to 10k users, and some even think it's unfair (if I want to delete my answer I certainly don't want other people to see it).

But basically this is the coolest thing you get when you reach 10k, if you remove it a lot of the incentive to gain reputation goes away.

  • Really? I find the close/delete/flags/new tags views much more useful than viewing deleted posts Jul 19, 2010 at 14:13
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    I guess it's kind of cool but also plays on my conscience a bit, which isn't too cool. No the coolest thing for reaching 10K was getting that free license for the telerik tools, I vote for more things like that, e.g. continue to hide deleted answers but send me an XBOX! :-) Jul 19, 2010 at 14:15
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    The 10k tools as a whole are better than being able to see deleted posts. There is some expectation and hope that all 10k users will take a more active role in moderating their community.
    – Ether
    Jul 19, 2010 at 14:48

From a usability standpoint, a critical facet of any program would be that:

Anything which can be done, can be undone

When users reach 10k, they have the ability to vote to delete closed questions. This allows the trusted users to clean eliminate some of the fat that is sticking around StackOverflow.

But, because it is a community oriented feature it takes X (varies depending on the question) users to delete it. It would also take X users to undelete it as well, because it's possible that the first people were wrong or made a mistake. In order to fix that mistake the 10k users must be able to see the deleted posts in order to vote to undelete them.

Without being able to see deleted posts, then community deletion would be one-way, which violated the principle I highlighted at the beginning.

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