So this topic has been discussed multiple times on Meta. I am posting this to report a specific incident. This homework question was deleted by its author shortly after an answer was posted. Yes, the author already had the answer and had just posted the question to confirm it, but I still don't see how that makes this kind of thankless behavior any less acceptable. I would have upvoted the answer to prevent this deletion(I usually do) but I didn't even get that window of time. I only realized because I had left a comment telling the author his answer was almost correct, he missed a factor of $3$. When trying to comment back that I had misread the original question due to lack of $\rm \TeX$ and his answer was infact right, I got the usual message saying that comments are disabled on deleted posts.

So is this acceptable, just because the author already had the solution? If it isn't how is this kind of situation usually handled?

Also what should I do when I notice this? An entire meta post for a single incident seems like overkill, but I don't have 10k+ rep so I can't even view the post anymore let alone flag for mod attention, (if that is possible on deleted posts).

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ I noticed it, did not write a meta post. Am grateful to you for doing so. Luckily this sort of thing does not happen very often. $\endgroup$ Apr 1, 2014 at 5:07
  • $\begingroup$ @AndréNicolas yes I have been reading meta and though I have seen multiple posts about this happening, thankfully this is the first incident I have come across. $\endgroup$
    – Guy
    Apr 1, 2014 at 5:12
  • $\begingroup$ The question has now been undeleted by $3$ $10$k-rep users. In general, you can either make a meta post, or (assuming you have a link to the question, or the question number) flag any post with the custom flag, explaining what's wrong. $\endgroup$
    – user61527
    Apr 1, 2014 at 5:42
  • $\begingroup$ @T.Bongers okay thanks. :) $\endgroup$
    – Guy
    Apr 1, 2014 at 5:43
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ What should I do when I notice this? How is this kind of situation usually handled? Here is an answer from a moderator: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/8528/… $\endgroup$ Apr 1, 2014 at 6:25
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak thanks for the link. $\endgroup$
    – Guy
    Apr 1, 2014 at 6:29
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    $\begingroup$ Somewhat hidden in the link @MartinSleziak has provided is this comment by Mariano: it is much better not to start a whole meta thread for this, for various reasons. Use flags to contact moderators privately. $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Apr 1, 2014 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ The problem I think is that while we could make rules to prevent the deletion, (and I think we could all come up with some) we would also need to prevent the even worse possible reaction of questioners by editing the question to nonsence. (just by replacing the question by nonsence), if it is deleted it is just gone, if it is edited it becomes garbage, so any suggestions on how to sort this out first? $\endgroup$
    – Willemien
    Apr 3, 2014 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Willemien Did you just come up with a strategy to stop deletion prevention? Or have you seen this before? $\endgroup$
    – Guy
    Apr 3, 2014 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Sabyasachi I haven't seen this before, but while thinking about ways to prevent deletion , this just bumpt up in my mind $\endgroup$
    – Willemien
    Apr 3, 2014 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Willemien interesting. I think outright banning if someone does this, will be a good way. (After rollback) $\endgroup$
    – Guy
    Apr 3, 2014 at 12:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Sabyasachi: That would be terrible. Multiple cases of this have been discussed in this meta where the user was blatantly abusing the system, and suspension (or so) probably would have been an appropriate action. However, in the specific case, when you compare this question by this user to the others he posted (typically with 'accepted' answers and work shown, hail to user) user probably felt embarrassed and stupid for asking something he shouldn't have as it was within his reach, then meant to remove the lasting proof of his laziness. This situation strikes me as perfectly harmless. $\endgroup$ Apr 4, 2014 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ @gnometorule I refer to willemien's idea that after deletion is prevented the user might edit the question to convert it to garbage. Surely that isn't harmless. $\endgroup$
    – Guy
    Apr 4, 2014 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ Defacing a question is covered by the bylaws here; it gets rolled back when pointed out. And you can't atomize it reasonably: I'm obsessed about layout, and have gone back to old questions/answers I contributed (months old at least) to improve their wording, LateX, etc. So editing old entries isn't by definition malicious, and it's hence hard to leave its monitoring to a script. $\endgroup$ Apr 4, 2014 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ @gnometorule I wasn't proposing it be monitored by a script, the community is good at pointing out vandalism in general. $\endgroup$
    – Guy
    Apr 4, 2014 at 13:53


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