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I noticed by accident that the question Recurrence on partial orders [closed], asked by user948104 on Sep 11, has been closed and deleted. Along the question went also my answer, to which I had spent some effort.

From the content of the question and answer, honestly I see no reason for deleting them:

  • The question is quite clear and meaningful. It received no upvotes but no downvotes either (net votes zero).
  • My answer, as far as my judgment is relevant at all, is informative, friendly, contains pointers to literature, and directly answers the questions raised. It received one downvote (I have literally no idea why, but perhaps that is not my business).

Now my questions are: Looking at this record of deleted Q&A

  1. How can one get any information on why they were deleted? The record says nothing more than "This question does not meet Mathematics Stack Exchange guidelines." which says absolutely nothing about the reason. (There is, for example, no hint that the question was considered a duplicate, nor do I personally think it is a duplicate.)
  2. Is there any method for asking the question to be undeleted? I do not see any undelete button on it. If there was any visible method, I would not be posting here.

To be honest about it, I find this "no-visible-explanation-at-all" deletion perplexing, even downright rude, both towards the original asker and towards my efforts in answering it. Putting that aside, I see it as a disservice to other readers since the information provided in my answer has been taken out of view.

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    $\begingroup$ This is an automatic deletion (the post is closed, and both the question and the answer don't have positive score, and the answer is not accepted). See here for more details. $\endgroup$ Oct 6 at 13:29
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, if it is undeleted, then an upvote would keep the post from autodeletion. But other users might vote to delete too, as long as the post is closed. $\endgroup$ Oct 6 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ Well I disagree about that being a "very low quality question". $\endgroup$ Oct 6 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson actually, it’s not clear to me: which part of the editing guidelines did that edit violate? Could you please clarify? $\endgroup$ Oct 6 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ That's just hilarious. If the asker knew enough to say that the numbers are available to $n=18$, the most obvious thing is that they indeed got that information from the OEIS but simply did not understand or remember to put that link in their post. (Sure, it is possible that they got the information from somewhere else but ... not bleaking likely. And would not matter anyway: this way or that, the OP had that maturity.) To imply that helping them out by adding that forgotten link is "suggesting greater mathematical maturity" and "changing the question fundamentally" is ... it's just rich. $\endgroup$ Oct 6 at 23:37
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    $\begingroup$ In fact, the very guidelines linked above say this: "You can add in relevant definitions, theorems, or simple background and motivation. You can add a source for the question." The question already contained the information (about numbers being available to $n=18$); all that these two helpful users were doing was adding a source reference for that already existing information. $\endgroup$ Oct 6 at 23:57
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    $\begingroup$ Also, i dont think adding a link to their claim changes the post fundamentally. $\endgroup$ Oct 7 at 1:11
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    $\begingroup$ I will point out, just for the record, that Mike Earnest proposed an alternative question which has the same mathematical content, but which essentially adheres to the standards of the site. He asked, point blank, if that would be a sufficient question. I said that I think it would be. It would take someone all of 30 seconds to copy that text, post a new question, and ask for a merge. Personally, I don't think that Mike's version is wonderful, and I would find the process of merging distasteful, but I would merge the questions and wash my hands of this whole thing. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Oct 7 at 1:25
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    $\begingroup$ Well, my goals should have been clear already from my Meta question, if one reads it plainly without assuming ulterior motives or "partisanship" (what a nice word). I was genuinely seeking to understand the underlying reasons for closing and deleting such mathematical content from the site. Having now seen them, I am better informed and now I better understand the state that Math.SE is in. This is good for me so I can better select where I think it is reasonable to disseminate mathematical knowledge, and where it clearly is not. $\endgroup$ Oct 7 at 7:33
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    $\begingroup$ "We have a policy that such edits are inappropriate." No, @Xander, we have a policy that you interpret as saying that such edits are inappropriate. Since you have a diamond, your interpretation wins, but it's clear from this comment stream that more than one user has a very different interpretation. It might be worth keeping this in mind. $\endgroup$ Oct 7 at 8:29
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson: You have consistently shown that your interpretation of the editing guidelines is very different from their originally intended meaning and the consensus of pretty much everyone else who reads them. You really should stop claiming that you are just enforcing what is written there. $\endgroup$ Oct 7 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ And I have now taken a second action: I have converted the question to community wiki. The argument has been made that the original asker is no longer around, and so the context edit / rewrite guidelines do not apply. While I disagree, I think that removing ownership from the original account is an acceptable alternative. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Oct 10 at 23:13
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    $\begingroup$ @JukkaKohonen A very sad ending. Especially to those who tried to preserve your answer. I hope you reconsider and un-delete your answer. $\endgroup$ Oct 11 at 12:54
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    $\begingroup$ "Yes, I can see that Math.SE withholds a lot of information from low-rep users." For better or worse, that is the SE model. It is not a perfect system, and (as is true with any group of people) it takes time to learn the rules. I would like to encourage you to undelete your answer, as a lot of folk here have put a lot of time, effort, and emotional energy into preserving it. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Oct 11 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Teresa, I can understand the challenges due to the SE model, but I doubt that the model necessarily mandates a condescending attitude towards well-meaning and reasonable answers. As to whether I see my effort being retained and rewarded, I don't think so. Quite the contrary. I see a determined effort in keeping it out, deleting and re-deleting, along with the question, and in preventing the question from being improved. This, even if the written instructions encourage people to improve questions. $\endgroup$ Oct 11 at 16:35
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From the content of the question and answer, honestly I see no reason for deleting them.

The question was closed for lack of context. Questions which are closed and meet certain criteria are later automatically deleted.

In my opinion, sufficient context would be something along the lines of "I am a combinatorics student/I am self studying combinatorics/I saw this YouTube video about combinatorics. Looking at the OEIS sequence for the number of partial orders on a finite set, we see that the terms are only computed up to $n=18$. I have seen many other combinatorial sequences which can be computed recursively from previous terms, like the Bell numbers. Is there a way to do this with the number of partial orders?"

My answer, as far as my judgment is relevant at all, is informative, friendly, contains pointers to literature, and directly answers the questions raised.

Your answer was deleted simply because the question was. This can be avoided by not answering no-context questions. If you find a question that you have an interesting answer for, you can comment to try to encourage the user to provide context. In some cases, you can fix a low-quality question by editing it yourself. (You have 2,000 reputation, so you have this privilege).

[My answer] received one downvote (I have literally no idea why, but perhaps that is not my business).

Often, people will downvote answers when they are in response to a question they think is low quality, as a strategy to discourage people from answering low-quality questions. Your answer is quite informative and well-written, so this is the only reason for the downvote I can imagine.

How can one get any information on why they were deleted? The record says nothing more than "This question does not meet Mathematics Stack Exchange guidelines."

You cannot see the close reason because you have less than 3,000 reputation.

Is there any method for asking the question to be undeleted?

Once you reach 10,000 reputation, you get access to the delete/undelete vote.

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Oct 6 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ To wrap up the answer to my question 1: No, it is not possible (for a low-rep user) to see any reason beyond the blanket "it's closed". In anything visible to such user, there is not the slightest hint of what would have been wrong. Now whether this is just as it should be is another issue, but I'm happy to learn that this is how it is. This is one nice meta-message sent to low-rep users ("you don't deserve to see a reason"). $\endgroup$ Oct 6 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ @JukkaKohonen It's perhaps worth noting that the question asker does see more information. Details about the differences in the notices are available in the following post on Meta Stack Exchange: New Post Notices are live network-wide. $\endgroup$ Oct 6 at 20:52
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    $\begingroup$ "Often, people will downvote answers when they are in response to a question they think is low quality, as a strategy to discourage people from answering low-quality questions." Also as a strategy to make it easier to delete the question. $\endgroup$ Oct 6 at 22:44
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    $\begingroup$ I edited in a segment from Mike's suggestion as well as a link to OEIS. Let's see if we can get this undeleted. $\endgroup$ Oct 9 at 9:29
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    $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen Not just undeleted : it's been reopened as well. I'm happy with your context rewrite, so I went for the reopening despite having deleted it earlier. I usually have doubts over how much one is "putting words in the mouth" of the OP, but this feels (I can't justify it) natural in some sense. Can you provide a more "in the spirit of the guidelines" justification? I would say that this counts as "simple background", which is why I agree with it, but I'd like to know why you went for it, given that context rewrites are usually done with a "rare circumstance" caveat. $\endgroup$ Oct 9 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ @TeresaLisbon I appreciate your vote of confidence. I'm afraid I cannot completely justify my choice of action within the spirit of that guideline. You see, I have a personal history of overediting questions like this a bit. I have not unlearned all old habits to the extent that a strict interpretation of the guideline would not apply. In fact, I would not have been surprised to be overruled by some voters. $\endgroup$ Oct 9 at 18:29
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    $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen Thanks for your comment, I'd like to say I'm fine with what's happened. I wouldn't have voted to open if the edit wasn't made, but the question following it is better, essentially because I get from the OEIS why the sequence is special and needs attention, and is not any other run-of-the-mill sequence. $\endgroup$ Oct 9 at 18:36
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    $\begingroup$ A few small factors. The question is in a sense about an open problem, totally unlike a botched homework question. The account of the asker has been deleted, so I could also follow the route of rewriting a better version. But I'm not sure I could do an essentially better job, so that would feel very contrived. Also, it sounds like Jukka's answer tells everything there is to know about this, so there is little sense having another thread about the theme. None of these are mentioned in the guideline. I'm not sure they should. Just my personal feeling that could and possibly should be criticized. $\endgroup$ Oct 9 at 18:37

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