I know there have been several questions about users who delete their question immediately after receiving an answer. I have seen this abusive behavior many times. This and this are two examples. Many suggest these individuals should be blacklisted. However, I could not find any place to report them. I doubt that the users who tend to do this will probably do it again in the future. I am not sure how moderators deal with this situation, but I would like to prevent it from happening for other people who contribute in answering the questions.

How can we report or blacklist these dishonest and rude users such that everyone can know about them? Would it be enough to just report them to the moderators? Where to do so? What if we build a lookup table somewhere for a quick search?

Alternatively, If this is not viable I believe there should be a better mechanism to cure this problem since I personally think the current system is seriously lacking (please share your opinion about this as well). One possibility would be to disable deleting a question after it is answered (regardless of votes).


A very good point from @hardmath is that when I click the corresponding links in the list of "deleted recent answers", only a "page not found" error page is displayed. Indeed, I have no access at all neither to the deleted questions, nor my answers. I can't even acquire the user id if I can't remember it (which is the case at the moment). So I can't see my post anymore until I acquire the privilege! enter image description here It makes more sense if a user could see his/her own post, even if s/he has not been awarded the privilege. This way, at least there is one place to flag the post (for the moderators).

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The second link that you have in your post is not the user deleting the question, but rather the question being automatically deleted "due to lack of interest": it was closed, with no answer, and no votes. While there are two answers there, both appear to have been "deleted by the owner [of the answer]". $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Dec 18, 2016 at 7:36
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @AsafKaragila. I think you mean the first link. Yes, I corrected the link. My mistake was because I have no access to the question and my own answer anymore. $\endgroup$
    – msm
    Dec 18, 2016 at 7:54
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    $\begingroup$ I have voted to undelete both of these Questions, apparently from two different users. You've raised two issues in the current Meta post: why not blacklist such users? and How do I flag them for Moderator attention? Certainly the first Question would have gotten my vote to close for lack of context, but I suspect it needs to be undeleted first. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Dec 18, 2016 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, blacklisting and flagging for users with a reputation less than 10K. $\endgroup$
    – msm
    Dec 18, 2016 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ I know this may not be the best place or moment to ask, but why would one even want to remove one's question? $\endgroup$ Dec 19, 2016 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ @RiccardoOrlando, it's possible that if someone is seeking homework help, they may want to delete the question to "cover their tracks" if they're paranoid about getting caught. That and/or they don't really understand how the site works, or they're embarrassed about the question, they don't like any of the answers, they changed their mind and don't want help, etc. $\endgroup$
    – user307169
    Dec 20, 2016 at 19:58
  • $\begingroup$ @RiccardoOrlando I often see people delete their own questions when they get homework help, get the answer from someone, and delete the question because now they know the answer, so they don't need the question any more. (This can also allow someone to plagiarize their homework, but I won't be cynical here). $\endgroup$ Dec 23, 2016 at 3:07
  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry, I don't understand why someone shouldn't be allowed to delete their own question. You're angry because you wrote an answer, and lost rep after it was deleted or something? $\endgroup$
    – user304051
    Dec 27, 2016 at 4:14

2 Answers 2


The OP (msm) got access to the deleted Question URLs through viewing ones own "deleted recent answers" (linked below each page of ones own Answers) despite having less than 10K reputation, but the listed posts give "page not found" errors when clicked.

A 10K user could then flag the Question for Moderator attention. I went ahead and did this for the second Question identified in the current Meta post. In the absence of help from a 10K user, one can typically flag another one of your own Answers for Moderator attention, using a custom explanation that includes the URL determined as above.

In the present case the two user accounts have no other Questions (or Answers) associated with them (so nothing of theirs to flag), and the newness of these accounts suggests that they may have been created on a one-off basis. So blacklisting such users (which I assume means blocking new Question posts) may be ineffective.

I propose that self-deleting Questions answered (but without upvoted or Accepted Answers) should be a privilege that is earned. I would suggest 10 reputation points (lift new user restrictions, exclusive(?) of the 100 point association bonus) as being a level for this. This would get at the issue of one-off accounts being abused in this fashion.

Note the generic thread Requests for Reopen & Undeletion Votes, etc. and its future successors. Of course action depends on the flow of 20K users and Moderators who can vote for undeletion.

  • $\begingroup$ I think that one should have at least 10K to have access to the deleted post. So for those who don't, there is no systematic way. I certainly agree with your suggestion of self-deleting of questions to become a privilege to earn. $\endgroup$
    – msm
    Dec 18, 2016 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ "self-deleting Questions ... should be a privilege that is earned." I agree, that's a sensible idea.. $\endgroup$
    – dxiv
    Dec 19, 2016 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath I know about that. Actually, that is how I could get the link to the question and my own answer after it was deleted. However, when I click on the link (in the list of deleted answers), a "page not found" error is displayed with suggestion links to similar questions or answers. $\endgroup$
    – msm
    Dec 19, 2016 at 3:49
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath BTW, I noticed one of my two answers is now undeleted. But the first one is still missing. Do you know about the fate of that answer? $\endgroup$
    – msm
    Dec 19, 2016 at 3:53
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    $\begingroup$ @msm: It currently has one vote to undelete. I will revise my Answer above to reflect that you already knew about (and used) the "deleted recent answers" link and its limitation. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Dec 19, 2016 at 5:10
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you @hardmath. I forgot to add that links to "deleted recent answers" is the only pointer a user have about the deleted answer. Even the user who has deleted the question cannot be found, if you don't remember the user id. $\endgroup$
    – msm
    Dec 19, 2016 at 5:33
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    $\begingroup$ Making "delete own question" be a privilege seems sensible - unless the question has been downvoted. Getting rid of poor questions is highly desirable, and we should encourage people to remove them (and discourage people from answering them). I'd also allow the 100 point association bonus to earn it - that isn't going to be a one-shot account. (Full disclosure: I have a 100 point bonus from SO.) $\endgroup$ Dec 19, 2016 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinBonner: It is not obvious that a downvote, as one person's (other than the OP) opinion, should be inevitably permission or encouragement to delete something. Downvoting occurs for many reasons, in particular to encourage improvement to a post, and voting to delete is much more restricted in the scheme of privileges. Regarding the role of association bonus bypassing the 10pt. level "lift new user restrictions", note the existing "protected Question" mechanism. I'm arguing an analogy, and it's not a strongly held idea. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Dec 19, 2016 at 11:45
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    $\begingroup$ I think the association bonus bypasses the "lift new user restrictions". (I'm not sure I've ever felt I had a good answer to a protected question, so I could be wrong.) I agree that downvoting is often an encouragement to improve - but if the questioner won't improve the question, then deletion is better than leaving it polluting the site. $\endgroup$ Dec 19, 2016 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath I used your answer to flag the missing answer! let's see if I could have the answer back ... $\endgroup$
    – msm
    Dec 19, 2016 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ @msm: The first Question has now also been undeleted (and placed on hold, which you and I think is reasonable given the OP's lack of context). $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Dec 20, 2016 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath it's a legal right within the EU to be forgotten and not have one's data published and I think that would include the fact that one asked a question on here. So while I appreciate it's frustrating for answerers who hoped their answer would be available for others, it goes against the data protection principles to stand in the way of people deleting their own questions. $\endgroup$ Sep 16, 2018 at 13:28
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    $\begingroup$ @RobertFrost: I'm a math guy, not a lawyer, but as I understand it, one can ask to have a post disassociated from their personal account here rather than insisting on its deletion. Here's a related post on Meta.StackExchange. Of course it is generally only necessary to include personally identifying information in posts when disclosing a promotional interest. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Sep 17, 2018 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath yes that would probably suffice provided none of the info could be associated with a person but I guess we're talking about rare exceptions here and catering for people who aren't really buying into the purpose of the site. $\endgroup$ Sep 17, 2018 at 19:40

I experienced a similar problem when trying to answer a question recently. Most people didn't think there was enough information in the question and it was deleted right before I was able to respond. The Author also edited the question 16 seconds before its deletion.

As I am new and low in rep; I do not have this privilege to use the comment section and clarify certain points. I also run the risk of losing what little rep I have with a bad answer; which results in long research times to ensure what I have said is clear and not false. In my personal case the time I took to do this exceed the questions life.

A simple fix to this problem would be as follows:

Deletion should be disabled for a certain window of time when:

  • Posting the question
  • Posting an edit of the question
  • The question having been answered

Note that I specify a window of time here. I do not believe as the original writer has suggested that the deletion option for a question should disabled if it has been answered regardless of votes. I just believe that a reasonable amount of time should be given to a question to allow the Author to clarify any issues it may have.

  • $\begingroup$ It seems that in your answer you are describing a different problem from what is described in the question. Your answer seems to be closer to these posts: On deleting vs. closing duplicate questions, Sometimes, deleting a question shouldn't be immediate? and Is there a way to punish users for posting and then immediately deleting a question? $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2017 at 8:27
  • $\begingroup$ The original question states:"I personally think the current system is seriously lacking (please share your opinion about this as well)." In part this is what I have responded to. It also asks for a solution to the problem which I provided in my dot points. I hope that is ok $\endgroup$
    – user400188
    Jan 1, 2017 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ Still the question is about users "who delete their question immediately after receiving an answer". Which is a different problem from what you describe in your answer. (Since you are writing about a question which was deleted before getting an answer.) But probably I understood the question differently than you. $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2017 at 8:41
  • $\begingroup$ It seemed a similar problem in which a question was removed while some development was happening or had just occurred on a page. If you like I can edit the post. You obviously know more about this site having been here longer. $\endgroup$
    – user400188
    Jan 1, 2017 at 8:46

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