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?

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


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.

  • $\begingroup$ 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? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 18:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ 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). $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 5, 2018 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. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 18:38
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 5, 2018 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.
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 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. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 6, 2018 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/… $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 16:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @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.] $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielFischer: Unrelated to this post, but regarding your flag reply, this post seems to imply that merged questions are never auto-deleted by Roomba except for migration-related merges. If you know of a separate bot, let me know so that I don't waste the mods' time. Thanks! =) $\endgroup$
    – user21820
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 3:56
  • $\begingroup$ @user21820 I may have incorrectly assumed. I have seen bot-deleted merge stubs, but those might all have been from migrations. Checking whether that is the case would be far more work than handling hundreds of "please delete this stub" flags, so I'll go with "when in doubt, castle" (erm, s/castle/delete/). $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 12:01
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielFischer: Ah. You play chess? Maybe one day when I am free or bored we can test your castling heuristic. =P $\endgroup$
    – user21820
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 5:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .