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A week ago I posted this question: anonym (https://math.stackexchange.com/users/1060773/anonym), How do I compute the Fourier Coefficients of a Riesz Product?, URL (version: 2023-09-06): How do I compute the Fourier Coefficients of a Riesz Product?

I received a good and detailed answer but I didn't have the time to go through it yet. Now it has disappeared and I really need it. The person that answered, can you repeat that answer please? I would appreciate it.

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    $\begingroup$ This is weird; the answer was deleted three days ago by the poster, who also changed the text to read "The answer has reached the expiration date." That said, I'm hesitant to vote to undelete against an author's wishes. $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2023 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean the poster of the answer? And where can i read that text? I'm relatively new here so pardon the questions. $\endgroup$
    – anonym
    Sep 14, 2023 at 20:37
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    $\begingroup$ Normally you need 10k rep to see deleted posts, but here are the logs for the deleted answer on your question. Link $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2023 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps it would be ok to ping the answerer on some of their other posts and ask them whether they are willing to undelete the answer. $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2023 at 22:28
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    $\begingroup$ I will also mention that you can find some data about the post from SEDE - until the next update of the database. (It is updated regularly on Sunday.) For example, the body of the answer or the text of the revisions. (All this is the state from the most recent update of the database - i.e., from the last Sunday.) $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2023 at 22:31
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    $\begingroup$ For future reference: you might want to "accept" answers you like, and vote them up, and add them to your list of "saves". Perhaps the answerer felt unappreciated, since you gave no sign of being aware of the answerer's efforts. $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2023 at 23:05
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    $\begingroup$ Answers do not have expiration dates on Stack Exchange. If the post is coherent, responsive, and useful for future reference, it should never be deleted, regardless of what the original poster wants. Flag the question for moderator attention, noting that a good answer has been deleted for no apparent reason and should be restored. $\endgroup$
    – Nij
    Sep 15, 2023 at 2:51
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    $\begingroup$ The answer has been edited again, to say that work on it is in progress. So if we are patient it may reappear, bigger and better than before. $\endgroup$ Sep 15, 2023 at 6:05
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you all for the help. I will keep that in mind and appreciate good answers sooner in the future $\endgroup$
    – anonym
    Sep 15, 2023 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Nij Strictly speaking, content posted on Stack Exchange is licensed under CC BY-SA, giving others the indefinite right to copy or reproduce it. But you also have the legal right to have your name removed, and it's just rather scummy to prevent people from deleting their own posts, and doing so can create hostility. Stack Exchange deals with that by allowing people to freely delete their own posts in many cases (but still keeping these visible for high-rep users), along with a manual process for exceptional cases. $\endgroup$
    – NotThatGuy
    Sep 18, 2023 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ If they don't want their name attached, they can get it dissociated. What's scummy is rejecting the future use of the information because of an arbitrary cutoff. I don't need lecturing on the use of CC on SE @NotThatGuy $\endgroup$
    – Nij
    Sep 18, 2023 at 20:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Nij Attaching arbitrary expiration dates to posts probably constitutes abusing site mechanics. But that only really applies if they have a habit of doing that, and I only have a single data point on that, which isn't enough to draw conclusion from. With no further information, I can't say it's much less likely that they just wrote that as some arbitrary text for their post they deleted for other reasons. $\endgroup$
    – NotThatGuy
    Sep 18, 2023 at 20:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Nij Or maybe they were copying text somewhere and accidentally copied a site message, deleting a lot of the edit they just made in the process. Not wanting to rewrite everything they just wrote, they just deleted it instead. Given how often I accidentally copy various site text that surrounds what I'm trying to copy, and how often I see similar things in posts of others, this doesn't seem like much of a stretch. Although I wouldn't know where that text would've come from. $\endgroup$
    – NotThatGuy
    Sep 18, 2023 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ The "work in progress" message was replaced by an actual answer on 1 October. $\endgroup$ Oct 15, 2023 at 12:25

2 Answers 2

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Generally speaking, people are permitted to delete their own answer, and Stack Exchange tries to respect that preference when possible.

This is a good thing. It seems like common courtesy towards the answer. Also, it is good for the site and our mission overall. Assuring people that they can delete their answer may help people feel more comfortable posting answers, knowing that they can delete it. For instance, I know that I have had situations where I wrote a detailed answer that seemed valid to me at the time, and probably looked good to others, but then I subsequently realized was flawed, and I deleted it to avoid spreading confusion. If the site didn't allow me to do that, I might be more reluctant to post answers in the future. Thus, perhaps counter-intuitively, knowing that there is always the possibility to "undo" an action (e.g., posting an answer) can help people feel more comfortable doing the action in the first place.

There are some specific cases when it's not possible to delete an answer. If an answer is accepted, then the site does not allow the author to delete it.

Also, there are exceptional cases. If someone makes a pattern of repeatedly abusing the ability to delete answers, then you can flag for moderator attention, to ask moderators to look into it. For instance, if a user was posting many answers and routinely deleting each of them after 3 days, that would be a bit dodgy and not in line with the mission of this site, so if you were to spot such a pattern, I would recommend flagging for moderator attention so they can look into it more closely. You personally might not be able to detect this, but people with 10,000 reputation or higher could. I wouldn't bother them with isolated cases, but I do realize there could be exceptional cases where this becomes a pattern that is harmful to the community. That said, I think you'll find that exceptional cases and abuse are extremely rare, and generally not worth worrying about.

I know it's not much comfort when there was a specific answer you wish you could see again, but maybe it is some comfort to know that the ability to delete answers contributes to people feeling comfortable to answer, and thus contributes to this site being such a great resource that often gets you fantastic answers.

Rather than trying to dig up that deleted answer (which, who knows whether it is even valuable), I think your time might be better off seeking answers to your question in general. Perhaps there are edits that can improve the question (e.g., work on it more on your own, following the hints given to you, and show what progress you've made in the question), or perhaps once you have enough reputation you can offer a bounty to attract attention to it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Note: 10k "moderator tools" does allow you to see quite a few things, but one's ability to investigate individual users beyond public undeleted posts and comments is still severely limited (probably intentionally so) (you can see deleted posts if you have a link, but no reputation privileges enable you to list deleted posts of a user). Regular users also don't handle custom flags. Elected moderators handle custom flags and investigate individual users, though. $\endgroup$
    – NotThatGuy
    Sep 21, 2023 at 10:16
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I declined the custom flag since the answerer has the option of deleting their post if they think it is erroneous or needs improvement. If the post in its current state were undeleted, it would simply show a banner saying that the post is being improved. Hopefully, that is the case.

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