In Jeff's answer here, he suggests that users should be able to edit their deleted posts, but when I try visit a deleted question of mine, I get an error page.

However with the editing URL, I or any other user can still edit the page. I get an error message when I save my edit, but it goes through.

Jeff's answer suggested that users should be able to vote to undelete their deleted posts, but since I'm unable to load it I can't do that.

How is the editing of deleted posts supposed to behave?


4 Answers 4


Let's try and nail this down, since it's a bit obscure (and recently changed again):

  1. No one can edit a locked post.

  2. The author of a deleted post can edit it unless it is a self-deleted question or locked as noted in #1.

  3. Folks with full editing rights can edit any deleted post except those restricted by #1 or #2.

Note that editing privileges don't align with viewing privileges when it comes to deleted posts. This should be considered by-design.

  • "Folks with full editing rights can edit any deleted post except those restricted by #1 or #2." Does that mean that they can also improve suggested edits to any deleted post? I couldn't find much evidence either way when writing this answer to a somewhat related question. Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 21:27
  • Normally you can't suggest an edit to a deleted post, @ThisSuitIsBlackNot - because normally you can't see deleted posts if you're in the position where you'd have to suggest an edit. If you own the post, you can edit it straight away; if you don't, you need 10K to even view it. There are some edge-cases there (for instance, you might be able to suggest an edit if you start editing before the post is deleted), but they should properly be considered bugs.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 23:39
  • I was talking about the edge case where the edit is suggested soon before the post is deleted, which is what I assume happened in the post I linked. Perhaps I should try to replicate and file a bug report. Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 14:17
  • Already exists, @ThisSuitIsBlackNot
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 21:28

The permissions related to this have been re-vamped1, 2, but the new behaviour is still weird. As long as have edit privileges in general I can still see the edit page for deleted posts, though my edits would be put in the queue. As such, my user script still works for 2k+ users 500+ rep users (retaggers), instead of being entirely broken as Balpha suggested it would be. Is this working as intended?

(To clarify, I was previously able to see the edit page for any editable post, even if I had under 2k rep or was logged out.)

2012-Feb edit: Retaggers can still view deleted questions this way, but deleted answers are secure. This may not be a change, but I hadn't noted the distinction before.

  • 1
    I tried your script (I have ~500 rep on SO, much less than 2k) on this deleted but not locked question, and I was able to see the same content I used to be able to see through the script. Are you sure it's broken? Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 20:54
  • I just tired that question with a 225 rep account and it did not work. So perhaps it's the 500-rep retag privilege: the first type of edit you can make by yourself.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 20:57
  • Possibly; I do have the retag privilege. Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 20:59

Remember that anonymous users can make anonymous suggested edits. Therefore, effectively at 0 rep (the lowest reputation on the site is 1 rep, which gives you privilege to ask and answer questions, anonymous user doesn't even have these privileges), you can view any deleted post that is not locked, and any deleted+locked question if you can guess the id of the answer (possible on sites with low traffic at the time that the original question is written).

For demonstration, let me use this deleted question: https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/82538/eeeek-what-happened-to-my-envelope (404 - we know it is deleted)

Make sure to log out of your account before trying these links (since it seems some mechanism is used to prevent users with low reputation from opening the edit link).

Update 15-Sep-2013

This bug has been fixed by 3-Jun-2013, since it seems to allow silent edit to deleted posts by user without full editing privilege (less than 2k). Allowing write operation without the privilege is quite dangerous. Therefore, the bug was promptly fixed.

  • Very useful trick! Commented May 24, 2013 at 8:20
  • I'm not sure what the third link ('39/edit) was supposed to do, but I think the situation has changed now. Could you make sure it's still what you saw when you wrote this?
    – E.P.
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 16:25
  • 1
    @episanty: The bug was fixed. I included the link to the bug report.
    – nhahtdh
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 23:14

If you do not have 10k+ reputation, as long as you do not refresh the page after delete - your question is safe.

These question and answers might give you more information :
Show the deleted question to the question creator
Allow users to be able to see their own deleted questions
Show all of my question/answers to me even if they are deleted

  • 5
    Thanks, +1, I hadn't seen all of those. "as long as you do not refresh the page after delete" If this is the design, it seems poorly thought-out. Some browsers (particularly mobile ones) will reload pages without the user requesting it.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 19:38
  • @Jeremy I agree. The above questions are asking to show all questions to the question creator, but as you can see it was declined. Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 19:41
  • The first two linked questions have been closed as duplicate of the third linked question.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 22:22
  • It's a side-effect of the way the system is designed, namely that users below 10k are not able to see deleted content. As it stands now, there's no special exception for questions that they created. It's been proposed a couple of times before (as this answer suggests), but officially declined by the team despite quite a bit of community support. @meta Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 3:43

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