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I deleted one of my answers a little less than three years ago. Today I discovered that the answer had been undeleted by three high-reputation users in August of this year. To the best of my knowledge I received no notification of the undeletion. Is this unusual? It's not something I've run across before.

I don't terribly mind in that this particular answer was undeleted, and I'm not asking that it be redeleted. (Some of my reasons for deleting the answer are no longer applicable.) Nevertheless, I'm surprised. It's not that the system allowed this to happen that surprises me—it's more that experienced users would choose to reverse another user's decision to delete an answer. I'm also wondering why there is no notification in this situation. Perhaps it was my original deletion that was inappropriate?

I am aware that self-deletion of answered questions is frowned upon and that such deletions are often reversed. Also I read somewhere that users can't self-delete accepted answers. But the reasoning behind those policies doesn't seem to apply in this case.

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    $\begingroup$ I believe neither deletion nor undeletion of an answer or a question results in a notification. $\endgroup$ – Matt Samuel Oct 25 at 4:53
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    $\begingroup$ If the answer has positive score, your reputation changes when it is undeleted. IIRC change coming from undeletion is displayed in the "achievements popup" among other reputation changes - so that could count as a very minor notification. (I suppose you're talking about answer deleted in February 2018 and undeleted in August 2020. That answer has positive score and one of the two upvotes came before deletion/undeletion.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 25 at 7:05
  • $\begingroup$ @WillJagy I will just mention that SEDE can be used to search in some way for undeleted posts. In this case, you were probably interested in undeleted answers by a particular user. (The same query can be used for other users by changing the userid parameter.) And, of course, you can also see the recent undeletions in the moderation tools. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 25 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ One way around this is to be a moderator, which turns your delete votes to binding ones. So only other moderators (and SE employees) can undelete your stuff. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 25 at 16:54
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Don't know if I would want to go that far... If other users want to undelete posts I've deleted, I'm generally fine with that. On the other hand, I have sufficient reputation to see other users' deleted posts, and I've stumbled upon a few that I found quite valuable. It never occurred to me, however, to propose their posts for undeletion. $\endgroup$ – Will Orrick Oct 25 at 17:21
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    $\begingroup$ In my view, if you delete something but someone can “undelete” it, it’s not really deleted. That’s a sketchy policy for Stackexchange. $\endgroup$ – McMath Oct 26 at 4:04
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    $\begingroup$ Just speaking for myself, if I delete a post of mine it is for a reason. Once in a while it will be because I see that someone else posted more or less the same content before me, but most often it will be because I found a flaw. If the flaw is terminal (or if, say, I misread and answered the wrong question) then I try to remember to indicate that. But more often I suspect the flaw is reparable and I intend to go back to it, which may or may not actually happen. In no case would I want someone to undelete it without my permission. $\endgroup$ – lulu Oct 26 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ @lulu I'm actually a bit surprised that your remarks are the first to express such sentiments, which I am in sympathy with. I wonder what the general opinion is? $\endgroup$ – Will Orrick Oct 26 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ Exactly! That's why I posted my comment. I'm somewhat surprised that this is not the general reaction. $\endgroup$ – lulu Oct 26 at 15:51
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    $\begingroup$ If you don't want high-rep users to see a deleted answer, you can edit it first to say something like "Please ignore." and then delete it. High rep users won't have access to the edit history so won't be able to see it. Presumably moderators could see the edit history. I've seen this multiple times in deleted answers. $\endgroup$ – Cheerful Parsnip Oct 27 at 2:53
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    $\begingroup$ @CheerfulParsnip Are you sure about that? I seem to be able to access the edit history on other users' deleted posts. Even so, your suggestion would likely dissuade other users from undeleting a post. And if they went ahead and did so anyway, they would have to edit the post, which would at least produce a notification. $\endgroup$ – Will Orrick Oct 27 at 4:25
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If a question gets undeleted, the user who posted gets no notification about that undeletion. But you also get no notification if an answer of yours gets deleted. The only thing that happens (as you were told in the comments) is that that deletion or undeletion may cause a change in your reputation.

Whether a user should get a notification under those circumstances is another matter. I think that that would be a good idea.

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    $\begingroup$ There is a bunch of feature requests on Meta Stack Exchange asking for notification on deletion of a post, such as Notice of deletion and some of the questions linked there. I did not find a similar feature request for undeletion. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 25 at 10:36
  • $\begingroup$ In this case the post I deleted was over a year old at the time I deleted it. Because of that, I believe that neither deletion nor undeletion resulted in any reputation change. It is true that reputation change was how I finally became aware of the undeletion. (Because I remembered having deleted the post, I was surprised yesterday to receive an upvote for it, and investigated what had happened.) $\endgroup$ – Will Orrick Oct 25 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Thanks for those links. Tim Post's answer here suggests that the lack of notification is by design as deletion (and presumably undeletion) notifications are not "actionable". $\endgroup$ – Will Orrick Oct 25 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ @WillOrrick As far as I can tell, only posts with score at least +3 (which, additionally, were visible for long enough time - a year is certainly enough) are the posts immune to reputation changes when deleted/undeleted. quid's answer here gives details on this: Does reputation change if an answer gets deleted due to deletion of original post by vote(s)? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 25 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak No changes appear in my reputation history. I guess it's possible there were notIfications at the time in the Achievements popup that I overlooked or have forgotten about. I've seen a couple of posts about this issue where the question was raised whether immunity to reputation change applies only when both conditions hold or whether one condition suffices, and I've never seen an answer to that. I suppose if I really wanted to know I could do some experimentation... $\endgroup$ – Will Orrick Oct 25 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ @WillOrrick I guess that simply deleting and undeleting this specific answer (or any answer which is at least 60 days old but has score below three) would be sufficient experiment to find out. (Sorry for digressing to this, since this issue is a bit tangential to the topic at hand.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 25 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ It may be worthwhile to ask on the mother meta about getting some form of notification when an answer gets undeleted. There are several questions there asking about notification for deletions, but I can't find any good ones about undeletion. Here's one, but there's not a lot of useful info there. meta.stackexchange.com/q/222191/334566 I guess it's not a very common occurrence. $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Oct 26 at 10:36
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    $\begingroup$ @PM2Ring Good suggestion! I've done that here. $\endgroup$ – Will Orrick Oct 27 at 17:30
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I saw this Meta question of yours, and happen to be the second undelete-voter. Let me explain why I voted to undelete. I did not see any indication that your answer was flawed, and I supposed that you would have stated it somewhere if it was. From what you say here, it seems that my guess is correct. Thus I think it is better to leave your answer undeleted. If however you have some reason for preferring it deleted, please say so, and you are free to delete your answer again. However, note that deleting too many of your own answers without good reason can be considered self vandalism.

You also mention coming across answers that were self-deleted but that you found quite valuable. As long as there is no good reason for deletion, it is fine to vote to undelete. Sometimes there is good reason not to, such as if the question is a cheating attempt or bad question and the answerer chose to self-delete. But in other cases, there is good consensus on undeleting valuable answers.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. As far as I know there is nothing incorrect in my answer, but after a number of attempts to engage the OP, without success, I began to suspect that my answer did not address the OP's actual question. After a year and a half, during which I expanded on my answer several times, the OP completely overhauled the question, removing all mention of Euclid. (Earlier versions of the question referred to the axioms of Euclid or Hilbert, but the current version refers only to Hilbert.) These were my main reasons for deleting my answer, and they still apply. $\endgroup$ – Will Orrick Oct 26 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ There was one further reason for my deleting my answer. After adding to my answer several times, I began to feel that my efforts might have been unwelcome to the OP, and might actually be preventing the OP from getting the kind of answer they really wanted. For one thing, other users might be reluctant to answer a question that already has a very detailed answer. For another, the system automatically bumps questions that don't have upvoted answers, and my answer was preventing that from happening. Indeed, after I deleted my answer, the system bumped the question numerous times. $\endgroup$ – Will Orrick Oct 26 at 15:00
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    $\begingroup$ This further reason no longer applies since the OP has answered their own question (and accepted the self-answer). $\endgroup$ – Will Orrick Oct 26 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ @WillOrrick: Ah I see. By the way, on Math SE it is not acceptable for the asker to completely rewrite their question after answers have been posted. And I am sorry to see that your post has been downvoted for no apparent reason. $\endgroup$ – user21820 Oct 26 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ Self-vandalism of speech is inconsistent with the societal tendencies of increasing tolerance of overt promiscuity and suicide. But, it is consistent with censorship of opinions that are not in favor of censorship. Be careful of what you wish for. Suggest you reconsider. $\endgroup$ – Carl Nov 3 at 10:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Carl: Who are you talking to? And you should be clearer in what you want to say, because it reads like gibberish to me. $\endgroup$ – user21820 Nov 3 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ Well, who said "self-vandalism" and is that not gibberish? $\endgroup$ – Carl Nov 3 at 12:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Carl: Search Math Meta yourself to learn that "self vandalism" is an established term with an established meaning. You are the only one here revealing that you do not know anything about this community. Yet you spout gibberish about promiscuity and suicide. Just in case you crave a response to your irrelevant nonsense, let me tell you that I do not tolerate immorality of any kind. $\endgroup$ – user21820 Nov 3 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ OK, I appreciate your honesty, but, not your POV. Self-vandalism is a neologism that is being used as an excuse to censor and reverse an author's freedom of speech, so it is, in my opinion, highly immoral. You, and this site, do not appear to share my opinion, and frankly, I have serious doubts about participating in such a hostile environment. $\endgroup$ – Carl Nov 3 at 12:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Carl: I strongly suggest you read my words more carefully than you have been doing so. I very precisely wrote "can be considered self vandalism", and did not express my personal opinion on whether that is good or bad. This is the way the community works, and I merely try to accurately describe the state of affairs. By the way, when you sign up for an SE account you already agreed to the terms and conditions, including the fact that everything you post here is licensed to SE under some CC license, meaning that you are not the sole owner of your posts. $\endgroup$ – user21820 Nov 3 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed. I will curtail further comments as they do not belong to me, even though I am held responsible for them. All of the responsibility with none of the privilege. How unbalanced. $\endgroup$ – Carl Nov 3 at 12:43
  • $\begingroup$ In real life if you write a letter and then post it to the president, you are responsible for the contents of the letter even if it no longer belongs to you! No matter how many things I dislike about SE, I do not think it is fair to say that a user has all of the responsibility and none of the "privilege". Did anyone sign up on SE with the notion that they are entitled to something? They did not pay for SE or sign any contract that grants them anything, nor were they forced to sign up. $\endgroup$ – user21820 Nov 7 at 17:06

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