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I'm aware that sometimes a user will delete their question as soon as they get a useful answer, to hide their tracks. Sometimes I spend time contributing an answer, and it bothers me when my work is erased, not because it's not useful, but because it is useful.

Here's an example, although not affecting me: This question was upvoted, and garnered two answers. One of those answers was also upvoted. Three minutes after a possible duplicate was pointed out, the user deleted the question.

I was under the impression that the questioner couldn't delete their question if it received upvoted answers. I guess I was wrong. What is the policy for real?

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    $\begingroup$ Concerning the first paragraph: If that happens, raise a flag. Deleting one's question after getting an answer to cover one's tracks is a definite no-no. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Mar 5 '18 at 18:30
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The answers were both deleted by their authors before the question was deleted. Answers that are deleted when the question author tries to delete the question don't hinder it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ah, that makes sense. So is it true that if a question has upvoted (and not author-deleted) answers, it can't be deleted by the questioner? $\endgroup$ – Matthew Leingang Mar 5 '18 at 18:26
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, if there is at least one non-deleted answer that has an upvote standing (it doesn't need a positive score), or there is more than one non-deleted answer, the question author cannot delete the question on their own (except if it's a moderator). $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Mar 5 '18 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ Piecing together the timeline, I surmise both answerers deleted their question once the duplicate was discovered, intending to close the question. But then the questioner, having found his answer, deleted the question. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Leingang Mar 5 '18 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ The answers were deleted at 15:20:24Z and 15:21:36Z, the duplicate link was given 15:30:08Z. I think the answers were deleted because their authors noticed that they weren't correct. The question was then deleted because of the duplicate link. It's not a terrible question, but I don't think having it as a duplicate question would add much value to the site, I don't see any keywords to search that the dupe-target doesn't have. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Mar 5 '18 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ @MatthewLeingang If you look at the comments, you can see that another user and I mentioned the deleted upvoted answer before I pointed out the duplicate. $\endgroup$ – Arnaud D. Mar 6 '18 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for solving this mystery! I think the question and answers are probably better off deleted in this case. But it’s good to know that upvoted answers can’t be deleted except by the author. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Leingang Mar 6 '18 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ @MatthewLeingang This is not true. The following answer of mine was deleted, supposedly by myself, but I never did such a thing - why would I? math.stackexchange.com/questions/2643078/… $\endgroup$ – Arnaud Mortier Mar 8 '18 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ @ArnaudMortier You deleted it shortly after posting, then edited and afterwards undeleted it. It's a quirk (bug, but low priority) of the system that if later the question is deleted, such answers are marked as "deleted by author". But that aside, the question was deleted by the votes of three users with the required privilege. The point of this thread, and of Matthew's comment, I believe, is that upvoted answers cannot be single-handedly deleted by the question author. [Unless that question author happens to be a moderator, but I'm convinced all of us would not do that.] $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Mar 8 '18 at 17:01

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