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It just happened (again) that someone removed a homework question after getting responses in comments. I realized this because the OP had responded to my comment before deleting the question, so that I got a notification in my inbox that led nowhere.

I am asking for guidance here how to avoid this kind of thing (or, as the case may be, why I shouldn't mind).

I feel that there is something dishonest about this. Both on the level of possibly hiding the question from the teacher and on the level of not thanking for a response (either with reputation or with a thank you).

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    $\begingroup$ c.f. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/108683/… ("You can't delete your question if it has more than one answer, if an answer has been upvoted, or it has been closed for less than 48 hours.") $\endgroup$ – Isaac May 22 '12 at 3:02
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    $\begingroup$ Well, this is a start; I would try flagging the moderators. This kind of behavior looks suspiciously like trying to "hide tracks" to prevent people from searching the site and finding out the question. If there is enough information for identifying the individual, I would contact the professor. $\endgroup$ – Arturo Magidin May 22 '12 at 3:03
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    $\begingroup$ 10k users can see deleted questions and vote to undelete it - so soon you'll be at least able to view the question in the scenario you described. In particular, if you post the link to the comment you have in you notification to mods somehow, they'll be able to see the question and decide what to do next. (However, I am not sure whether you should flag something and give that link there - basically there's no reasonable choice what to flag - or it would be better to use contact us at the bottom of the page.) Of course you can also comment on other question of the same user. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 22 '12 at 5:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Martin: While 10K users can see all deleted posts, the posts are only presented in a nice summary form in the 10K tools panel if they are "deleted by committee". Deleted by owner posts don't show up there. This makes it hard for users to "patrol" for such behaviour. Also, one can always use the free-form flag field. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong May 22 '12 at 8:35
  • $\begingroup$ @WillieWong I still haven't figured out how to find posts deleted by owner. Is there a way? $\endgroup$ – Alex Becker May 22 '12 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Alex: nothing easy that I know of (and there's also a difference between what diamond mods and 10K can see/search). Hence my previous comment. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong May 22 '12 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ I have just had the notification: "You have earned the "Popular question" badge for People who ask homework question and then remove them." I guess that explains why people do it if there is a badge for it :-) $\endgroup$ – Phira Jan 21 '14 at 22:15
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As Isaac wrote (somewhat ironically): the best way to counteract this behaviour is to adjust our own behaviour and stop posting answers as comments.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 because I like the irony of Isaac's comment to answer a question tagged "homework" (it is!). $\endgroup$ – Wok May 22 '12 at 9:05
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    $\begingroup$ I'm appreciating the irony that people suggested answering in the answer field instead of comments, in comments. Sigh. $\endgroup$ – mikebabcock May 30 '12 at 20:13
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    $\begingroup$ I agree, but this doesn't help the problem when users delete after a single answer is posted, too quickly to allow time for upvotes to the answer. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Oct 1 '13 at 2:55
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    $\begingroup$ @JonasMeyer: when that happens please try to contact a moderator (in any form: e-mail, flag one of the offending user's questions, or flag your own question and indicate why you are flagging). Having a link to the offending post or knowing the offending user is helpful, but not necessary, for moderators to take action. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Oct 1 '13 at 7:37
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    $\begingroup$ Unfortunately this only solves the problem if there are two answers or more. I just answered someone's calc 2 problem here and they deleted their post very shortly after I posted my answer. I was pretty irritated to see the post I had spent a minute or two writing in latex was deleted for no good reason but I don't think there is anything I can do about it. $\endgroup$ – Seth Jul 26 '15 at 14:33

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