I was blown away when I saw that they had implemented a new "feature" whereby if a moderator deletes a post, it cannot be undeleted by owner or votes from the community. As someone who is constantly looking at the newly deleted posts, this is really a sad turn of events. While it makes some sense for a single user to not be able to undelete the post, it makes no sense to remove the communities' power to undelete posts. The mods have always had the option to lock posts they wanted to make sure wouldn't come back, but now that extra step of thought won't be there. ANY deletion they do is permanent.

My request is to allow votes to undelete a post.

NOTE: That unlike closed posts that the community can upvote, so a Meta plea might bring some relief, there is no option now for deleted posts. This is a completely different case than closed votes. A moderator's closure of a post can be overturned by the community, but now deleted posts can't be resurrected by the community.

Before, we had two tiers of moderator deletions

  • Deleted, but possible for community to undelete
  • Locked and Deleted, for extreme cases like profanity where no undeletion could be allowed

Now there is only one basket, Locked and Deleted. This takes away the flexibility the moderators had to compartmentalize deleted posts.

Related Posts:

  • 1
    I guess not, but should voting to undelete also be available on locked posts?
    – Arjan
    Apr 9, 2011 at 7:44
  • 8
    I think you're putting far too much energy in protecting these things. Why not focus on something that more fun? Your obsession with deleted question only creates more work for the mods. It would only take 5 Lances to keep undeleting everything they like, which might require the mod to have to come back again later. Having some voting competition wont solve your problem
    – Ivo Flipse
    Apr 10, 2011 at 18:22
  • 12
    @Ivo, I'd love to not have to deal with them, but you guys keep breaking your own rules. You delete dupes when Jeff has explicity stated that duplicates shouldn't be deleted so that they can be stubs to take you to the original, and found with different searches. There are also many feature requests that just get deleted, instead of putting a status-declined tag on them. There are also many discussions that just get deleted because Jeff disagrees with them. I'll never understand why SE thinks that disagreement is unhealthy. Apr 10, 2011 at 20:00
  • 1
    @Ivo, they should be happy to have disagreement, because it means their ideas are getting full vetting and attention. It brings to light many ideas that they wouldn't have thought up themselves. Trying to marginalize those who disagree with you is unhealthy and unproductive, and just leads to a sad form of exclusivism. This new policy, instead of including the community, is excluding it. Apr 10, 2011 at 20:05
  • 8
    The problem is that its very easy for you to put our 'errors' in the spotlight and force us to defend our every misstep, even when most of your examples are outliers. We delete a ton of crap yet you make it sound like we're actively looking for dupes to delete. Yes we make mistakes, but if a mod thought it was worth deleting, surely there was more amiss than just it being a dupe.
    – Ivo Flipse
    Apr 10, 2011 at 20:09
  • 8
    I think that as a mod you get to see a lot more crap than most users. So most of you are judging are actions against a background of the cleaned up site, whereas we have a pretty good idea what it took to get there. Rather than questioning deletions be out there leading by example and edit questions into something worth keeping rather than trying to salvage something that's worth nobody's time
    – Ivo Flipse
    Apr 10, 2011 at 20:13
  • 1
    @Ivo, I think I do a lot of cleanup for someone who isn't a mod. I love being able to edit posts into something clean and effective. I hope you recognize that my 'complaints getting old' is because I strive for consistency, just like I like my code to look consistent. I'm not saying that most of the deletions are bad, just that there is still a bunch of them that happen. I always vote to delete programming questions on Meta, and am happy to see the mods deleting those. Apr 10, 2011 at 21:13
  • 2
    @Ivo, I appreciate the mods doing the job. I know how much time it takes not being a mod to clean things up on the sites, so I know they put a lot of time in. I just don't think we should implement policies based on their infallibility, which in the end just puts more pressure on them. Apr 10, 2011 at 21:14
  • @Lance I'm not sure if it's worth continuing to argue, but you somehow interpreted "flag such posts for moderator attention" as "you can make a mod undelete any post by flagging it, and they're forced to do it". Flagging says you want a mod to consider undeleting it; if they think the deletion was right, they're probably going to dismiss your flag as invalid Apr 18, 2011 at 17:19
  • @Michael, No, I didn't interpret it that way, but I shouldn't be dinged flag weight points because I disagree with their decision. I'm sure you're right about it not being worth it to continue arguing, but I've always fought for what's right, whether or not it was possible to win. Someone has to speak out on what's right. I don't understand the passive people, who just give in and won't speak up because of their fear of marginalization and apathy. Apr 18, 2011 at 17:28
  • 2
    Yet more evidence that exposing flag weight was a poor idea...
    – Shog9
    Apr 18, 2011 at 18:21
  • 1
    @Lance: That's an interesting argument you seem to be making - that people aren't chiming in here because they're passive and apathetic. Might it be that we just don't agree with you? Apr 18, 2011 at 20:20
  • 2
    "I shouldn't be dinged flag weight points because I disagree with their decision" Actually, you should, that's the point. You want to do X, mod disagrees. And I'm starting to agree with Shog9 here. Apr 18, 2011 at 20:23
  • 3
    @Lance: The point of flags is highlighting issues that mods might need to address. It's not a voting system. Apr 18, 2011 at 21:05
  • 2
    @Lance: I strongly agree that this is yet another poorly publicized change that removes power from the community. (This was brought to my attention by a recent post on meta.mathoverflow.net about a (non-elected) moderator-deleted posted on meta.math.SE. I just tried to vote to undelete it, and thereby learned about the current policy.) About the "punishment" with regard to your flag weight though: let's try not to get too wound up by these newfangled token economies. I can award you 500 of Professor Clark's Personal Gold Stars if it makes you feel better...or would you prefer 500 million? Sep 13, 2011 at 4:34

4 Answers 4


Simply flag such posts for moderator attention. There are always at least 3 community moderators, in addition to several se, Inc moderators, who can give a second opinion.


I agree. Mostly. There should be a way for The Community to override a moderator-deletion, in situations where the deletion wasn't motivated by a pressing need to remove harmful material from the site.

However, I see no need for authors to override moderator deletions. You should know that the previous behavior - single-click undeletion for authors - was largely an implementation side-effect, and certain users have been known to abuse it. The work-around for this (locking) had the very same down-side as the current implementation: The Community was unable to reverse them.

For now, I'm comfortable with letting deletions be disputed via mod-flags and/or meta-posts. Can you produce a significant amount of evidence for an unmanageable volume of wrongly-mod-deleted posts?

Also, don't whine about your flag weight. If you want your flag-number to be higher, stop flagging stuff that doesn't need to be flagged. Moderators are not your personal army.

  • 3
    After rereading your last sentence I find it pretty offensive, as if you're accusing me of asking someone to do something I'm not willing to do. I'm no slacker when it comes to work on Meta, and am only asking to be able to do the work I was already doing. As far as your comment on evidence of wrongly-mod-deleted posts, there are thousands. Jeff has stated in a few places that duplicates shouldn't be deleted so that they'll help people find them in searches and lead them back to the "original", but yet there is a constant flow of dupes being deleted. May 9, 2011 at 17:45
  • @Lance: if you find it offensive, then don't tack irrelevant stuff onto your question - I'm merely addressing what you wrote... If you think moderators disagreeing with you amounts to "punishment" then your expectations for how others should behave are waaay out of line. As for your comments on duplicates... You should be able to cherry-pick some good examples then, rather than relying on an out-of-date answer (that we've discussed elsewhere) to make your case for this feature request.
    – Shog9
    May 9, 2011 at 18:09
  • 1
    There was nothing irrelevant in my answer, everything was related to the main point. Flagging and Deletion by Moderators. I don't need to list the examples that most people can't read anyway. You're a mod and can look at the list everyday like I do, and see all the examples. If you're the kind of person who likes to insult people, then that's what you are, but no one who looks at the Users-Edits and Users-Votes tabs, or any mod who looks at how many Close and Delete and Un-Delete votes I cast can say I'm lazy. You're just not being honest. May 9, 2011 at 18:17
  • 1
    @Lance: I didn't say you were lazy. You decided to interpret it that way. You're apparently miffed that moderators don't share your love of a particular deleted answer, and consider yourself "punished" and "marginalized" by their stubborn refusal to undelete it (which, again, we've discussed at length - still waiting for you to respond there...) Apart from that, I'm not going to make your argument for you when you're perfectly able to do so; if you see potential for benefit, then show it - you've been here long enough to know this.
    – Shog9
    May 9, 2011 at 18:22
  • 1
    Just because you didn't use the word "lazy", you certainly said it in your last paragraph. My question is not about a particular answer, it's about the concept, and illustrated by that answer. It's about the demarginalization of the community, and the omniscience ascribed to the mods. May 9, 2011 at 18:27
  • 1
    And @Lance, that answer is a terrible example. You're shooting yourself in the foot here - Jeff suggested flagging for mod attention and you respond by linking to an answer (not one of the duplicate questions that the rest of your post concerns) that was deleted. Considering 10K users have been restricted from undeleting answers for much longer than they've been prevented from undeleting mod-deleted questions (and for an entirely different reason), this just serves to sidetrack your argument. And to what purpose? Is your flag weight and one meta answer worth sabotaging this proposal for?
    – Shog9
    May 9, 2011 at 18:35

You keep talking about "the rules that have been established in the past."

I think you mean "guidelines." Further, I suspect you are judging things subjectively.

For instance, there is no rule that says dupes should stay. There is some encouragement to allow some dupes to persist in order to fill out Google's keyword search space. However it's not a blanket rule that applies to every dupe, and in fact it's worthwhile deleting low quality dupes as they may actually hurt the keyword space.

If you are going to disagree with the mods on a regular basis and use flagging to do so, you're going to have to ignore your flag weight - by definition flag weight is used to help mods determine flags they want to see. If you keep sending them things they've already dealt with, your weight is going to go down. This is the intended behavior. Flagging is not a good method to change the mod behavior - it's a good method to bring to their attention posts which fall within their behavior.

Probably the only way to change mod behavior is to participate in Meta and encourage them to change through questions, answers, and comments. As long as you can get the community to back your position, you can probably get the mods to adjust their behavior.

But the idea that there are hard rules with nice clean lines that are easy to objectively evaluate is ludicrous.

  • Rules/Guidelines is just semantics, they are what were established, and as in this blog post and in other posts Jeff has stated and restated that duplicates should be left so that all searches (especially in-site) will find them so that less duplicates will be made in the future. The idea that we can't have hard rules with nice clean lines that are easy to objectively evaluate is a sad commentary, since we are programmers. We should be able to have a functional process that works without constantly breaking rules. Apr 18, 2011 at 21:07

Moderators are elected to be responsible representatives of the community, the moderator's vote is binding to prevent the open-close and delete-undelete disputes. If you think a particular post was incorrectly closed or deleted by a moderator, you can raise it on the appropriate meta site. Though you probably won't get much traction as most moderators seem reluctant to cast their binding votes on edge cases without good cause.

  • 2
    This has nothing to do with closing. This is about deletion. Apr 9, 2011 at 6:47
  • 3
    We understand that. Apr 9, 2011 at 6:51
  • @Lance Roberts: Fair point, I have corrected my answer. Apr 9, 2011 at 6:51
  • 1
    actually, "most moderators seem reluctant to cast their binding votes on edge cases without good cause." isn't true. Many posts are deleted all the time by the mods, that violate the rules that have been established in the past. If you review the deleted posts everyday you'd see that. The bigger problem is that the issue being raised can only be viewed by 10ks, so there isn't much input on deleted post questions AND the questions brought up for closed posts can be voted on by those qualified. The 10ks who can see the deleted posts CAN'T vote on it. It removes community input. Apr 9, 2011 at 6:55
  • 2
    Countering your first sentence, moderators are elected to do things that community couldn't do itself. While blocking undelete votes is more like acting against community. Apr 9, 2011 at 7:10

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