I have come across several Qn-s in our SE, which were actually good, but due to some reason, they were deleted by the OP. It creates following issues relating to those Qn-s:

  • Getting a URL link is extremely difficult, once lost
  • Such posts cannot be edited for others to review, as they are invisible
  • Discussing in chat-rooms is impractical in this scenario
  • The effort-ful answers which are not yet upvoted, goes into vain (recent examples: 1, 2)

The only way is to flag those Qn-s for undeletion and is visible only to Mods.

What is the criteria for Mods to decide, if the post to be deleted or undeleted or the next course of action?

Related: Undelete these posts

  • That kinda I'll take my cake and leave attitude of users is sad. On larger sites, usually the community undeletes them w/o moderator intervention, and no one flags them for moderator attention. Curious to see what a moderator take on this one is. Feb 5, 2018 at 22:51
  • The first question you mentioned was actually re-framed and posted by OP. Btw, I think approaching the OP to know the reason for deletion would be fine.
    – Pandya Mod
    Feb 6, 2018 at 14:53
  • @Pandya, what if the link to the Qn is not available? If available, then How to formally approach the OP? Even if approached, how to 'convince' OP? In your approach, actually we are assuming that OP is owner of the post. In such case, it's owner's discretion to delete the post; and discussion stops there. :) Intention of this post is to override that decision.
    – iammilind
    Feb 6, 2018 at 15:25
  • This answer is good and there is no general rule. Moderators undelete immediately if users delete posts in rage-quit. But in other cases, community should decide as some cases will be complex for mods alone to decide. Some users may delete their posts out of embarrassment or fear from downvotes (if it it is bad question) and it would be better if community uses their undelete privileges to undelete in most cases.
    – The Destroyer Mod
    Feb 27, 2018 at 7:34
  • @TheDestroyer, according to that answer, the author suggests to bring such deleted Qn-s in separate meta posts. However, I have started a new thread to combine all such issues. Users can choose to withdraw their ownership from the post, if they feel that the post is embarrassing. A post with an effortful answer should not be deleted, especially in our site.
    – iammilind
    Feb 27, 2018 at 7:37

2 Answers 2


Your question hinges on a very important point: Users should not presume any degree of subject expertise from the diamond moderators.

This is not to say that your moderators aren't experts in their own way, but it's rare for anyone to be an expert in everything, and being an expert in everything is entirely tangential to having the ability to moderate effectively anyway.

The Stack Exchange model is predicated on community moderation. The community decides what is good and what is bad, what it wants and what it doesn't want, and so forth. One user may not be an expert in everything (or anything, really), but with enough people the community can be.

Now to bring this back to the point of your actual question:

What is the criteria for Mods to decide, if the post to be deleted or undeleted or the next course of action?

For the most part, a moderator would (or at least should) be taking community involvement into consideration. If a question is posted and upvoted, but has received no answers or significant engagement, it's probably not worth the hassle of undeleting unless it's a clear case of self-destruction of useful content (which usually means the OP is deleting most if not all of his posts, which is a trend moderators tend not to take lightly). If you feel that such a question has value and also want it answered, there's really nothing stopping you from just reposting it (or something similar) yourself.

If, however, there already are answers, this makes the decision trickier: Since the answers have not had a chance to be properly voted on, moderators really have no criteria but their own guesswork as to what counts as a "good and effortful" answer that really should be preserved, and which ones really aren't worth saving. This may — and very likely will — result in posts slipping through the cracks due to moderators not being experts in all everything.

If you the community feel that there's significant value that is lost from this deletion, it's basically on you the community to

  • cast your votes quickly and effectively to make it harder for good content to be lost (and easier for bad content to not distract from it)
  • use your undelete votes as necessary to ensure that such posts get restored

Since this is still fundamentally a community responsibility, arguments for (and against) undeletion really should be made on meta so the community can actually judge its value (since regular voting is not possible) and what actions should be taken; flagging a moderator after there's clear demonstrable value to the community (in cases where there aren't enough privileged users who can act on it) makes it a lot easier for the moderator to make a decision when it does become necessary.

  • Thanks for an iterative answer. I liked the part about bringing such post to meta. May be we can have a single meta post & every time If one finds such deleted post, I e can create a new meta answer.
    – iammilind
    Feb 8, 2018 at 2:50
  • 1
    @iammilind That would probably be a bad idea. Meta works best when separate issues are brought up in separate posts where they can be discussed in depth with no other issues to confuse the matter.
    – goldPseudo
    Feb 8, 2018 at 2:53
  • IMO, creating separate meta Qn for each deleted post is an overkill. Having a centralized post for this particular issue is a feasible solution. Our community has done that in past.
    – iammilind
    Feb 8, 2018 at 4:43

Self-destruction of useful content is one of the reasons, if misused. But if it's once in a while, we can flag it for mods to undelete. We may also use our undelete vote; though that will help, only if there are lots of users with that privilege. When users post something on a SE site, it doesn't remain their personal property anymore. And they can't just delete it as per their mood.

If some user makes a useful post but doesn't want the post to be associated with their account, they have a full right to dissociate the post from their account, which can be requested to CM (not the site mods). But deleting a uselful post is not appreciated.

Related posts:

  • Your post gives a good advice. However, the core Qn of what Mod should do is still pending. From your own experience of being Mod in various forums, will it be a good idea for Mod to undelete that Qn? Additionally should they also request the CM to dissociate the user from that post? Can you update the answer with that?
    – iammilind
    Feb 7, 2018 at 9:02
  • Yes mod should feel free to undelete if the post is helpful but better to ignore if post is too weak to sustain or is off topic. Mods should not ask for disassociation of some user's post, it's that user right. Mod can lock the post or ban the user based on the situation but asking disassociation on user's behalf without user's consult is wrong. Feb 7, 2018 at 9:05

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