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Background: As I was viewing this question, I felt it worth drawing the OP's attention to other posts discussing the potential dangers of trying to treat $\infty$ as a number when performing arithmetic operations. I recalled an answer of mine which addressed that issue directly. I sought said answer immediately for linking, only to discover that it no longer existed! I deduced (through sloppy reasoning, but I digress) that the question was deleted, and checking the OP's profile confirmed it. The question's loss was a bit frustrating, at a shallow level (a.k.a.: reputation and badge loss). At a more general level, I recall having linked to my answer there previously (and I think Alexander Gruber's, which was very nice), which means that at least one (possibly) extant post is now made weaker (or at least more confusing) by containing dead links (unless, of course, said links are automatically removed when the linked post was, to which I cannot speak).

Question: Ultimately, it occurred to me that, in many cases, beneficial answers could easily be removed from the site when a question is deleted, as long as the OP didn't accept any of them. Is it possible or desirable for a question to become a "Community question" to preserve its answers, if it is the OP who opts to delete the question? What if it is the M.SE community itself who votes for deletion? It seems that in the latter case, the baby should probably be thrown out with the bathwater, so to speak, though I'd appreciate input on both questions.

Added: Having further read up on (auto-)deletion (thanks, Martin), it seems that the question must have been deleted by vote or deleted by a moderator.

Added: It has been pointed out to me that I did not, in fact, lose reputation or badges when the question was deleted.

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  • $\begingroup$ IIRC a question which has an upvoted answer cannot be deleted by the OP. It still might have been auto-deleted or deleted by high rep users. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Dec 2 '14 at 12:44
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the link, Martin. Given that information, it couldn't have been the OP who deleted it, nor does it seem to have qualified for auto-deletion, so the question must have been deleted by vote or deleted by a mod. $\endgroup$ – Cameron Buie Dec 2 '14 at 12:50
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    $\begingroup$ If you lost rep on deletion of that question, there should be a link to the question on the relevant day. If you didn't lose reputation, and if your answer had a score of at least 3 and was on the site for at least 60 days [iirc], you keep the repz, then it will be more difficult to locate it. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Dec 2 '14 at 13:22
  • $\begingroup$ I forgot to mention, of course you need to have "show removed posts" checked on your reputation page for it to show up. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Dec 2 '14 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, @Daniel. I'll take another look when I get back to the computer. Perhaps my three facts aren't all connected, after all! $\endgroup$ – Cameron Buie Dec 2 '14 at 13:49
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    $\begingroup$ It is very desirable that good answers be preserved. Deletion of such answers is site vandalism. $\endgroup$ – André Nicolas Dec 2 '14 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it is always desirable, but in this particular case I am in favor of undeleting math.stackexchange.com/q/418931. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Dec 2 '14 at 18:11
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The fact that you got a badge for the answer makes the search easy: just look at the list of your Good Answer badges. Here is the deleted question.

It is not possible for the answers to stay on the site when a question is deleted. But you can edit the question into shape and get it undeleted. Or you can move the content of your answer elsewhere: off-site or to another question on the site. There are other, well-received questions of similar nature: for example,

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    $\begingroup$ I am all in favor of improving questions that have received excellent answers. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 2 '14 at 18:36

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