I often see answers that have been deleted and the original author appears to have removed the content after they deleted. If I try to do this it says I need to enter at least 30 characters and it does not count spaces.

How are they doing this? Does it just appear empty to other users once it's been deleted or something?

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    ​​​​‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌​​​​ – Welbog Jul 15 '11 at 18:47

You can use markdown comments to overcome the minimum post length restriction:

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In general, if you want to see how anybody accomplished anything using markdown, you can Shift+Click the "edit" link and use the "Rev" drop down at the top to see the markdown source for any revision of the post. Then merely close the window without saving.

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    Alternate method: go to http://meta.stackoverflow.com/posts/[post number here]/revisions and click any View source link. Of course, this is a pain to remember if the post has never been edited and there's no "edited x time units ago" auto-link for that revisions page. – Pops Jul 15 '11 at 20:05

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