Ten minutes ago, a user deleted a question they'd asked and created a new substantially identical question in its place. The old question had an answer, but it was downvoted and had already been deleted by the author, so there was no loss there. It did, however, have at least one helpful comment:

Can you include the complete sentence? – djechlin 16 hours ago

And this comment is now gone. Is "starting over" like this an acceptable thing to do?

  • For those without the reputation to view deleted posts: the deleted question is almost exactly the same as the current one. The difference is a minor formatting change in one of the specimen phrases.
    – jimsug
    Jul 23, 2014 at 10:23
  • @jimsug I was merely editing the question. I didn't know it would be a big deal.
    – meatie
    Jul 23, 2014 at 14:02
  • 6
    @meatie editing the question is one process, deleting and then resubmitting takes two deliberate actions. Could you explain how you confused the two? As pointed out by FunbleFingers below, previous answers, comments, and votes are removed when you do this, meaning that you're doubling the work for everyone that's trying to help. Also, the edit in question was emphasis and boldface on a single word. One.
    – jimsug
    Jul 24, 2014 at 0:49
  • 1
    Not only that, but in your edits, you don't seem to have taken on board the comments and requests for clarification from the original question.
    – jimsug
    Jul 24, 2014 at 0:52
  • @jimsug I am really sorry. I didn't know that deleting a question would cause some much distress. I was thinking that a poorly written question that requires substantial editing/rewriting should be removed and replaced with a brand new question
    – meatie
    Jul 24, 2014 at 1:42
  • 8
    @meatie But you didn't do substantial editing/rewriting. Your repost was the same as the original.
    – user230
    Jul 24, 2014 at 16:34
  • 3
    Basically the same thing has happened again with the same user, this time with Put Under Investigation and To Be Under Investigation. I’m giving meatie the benefit of the doubt and treating this as a defecit of understanding and not a subversive act. As far as I can tell, we have (perhaps by writing beautifully rather than clearly) given this user the impression that the deletion is the problem. Jul 31, 2014 at 17:57
  • 2

3 Answers 3


The OP for the deleted/reposted question comments above that "I was merely editing the question".

It's not obvious to me how one could "accidentally" delete and repost in such circumstances, but obviously there are several reasons why it's not a good thing to do...

  • Earlier answers and comments which might be relevant aren't visible to people without sufficient rep (or indeed anyone who can't be bothered to check every OP's prior questions).

  • It's really annoying to find the answer you've spend considerable time composing can't be posted because the question has just been deleted.

  • It creates pointless "clutter/noise" on the site

  • etc., etc.

I'd be tempted to closevote in favour of the original question (knowing full well that that was "deleted"). I'm not sure if you need a certain level of rep to "undelete" your own question, but in such circumstances I assume the mods would be happy to endorse a request from an OP to have his question reopened.

  • I don't think he did it accidentally, but I'm not sure why the original was deleted - it had net zero votes, no answers. Perhaps to bump the post?
    – jimsug
    Jul 24, 2014 at 0:58
  • @jimsug I am really sorry. I didn't know that deleting a question would cause some much distress. I was thinking that a poorly written question that requires substantial editing/rewriting should be removed and replaced with a brand new question.
    – meatie
    Jul 24, 2014 at 1:33
  • 6
    @meatie - Please stop claiming that your question required "substantial" editing/rewriting. All you did was put a word in bold italics – that's hardly "substantial". It was the wrong thing to do, and now you know why it's the wrong thing to do, so, no more apologizing. Just don't let it happen again.
    – J.R. Mod
    Jul 24, 2014 at 7:50
  • You can always undelete your own question (as long as you can get to its page; there's a "my recently deleted questions" list on your profile, but it has an age limit). For self deletions, it's instantly effective; otherwise, it counts as a vote to undelete. Possible exception: spam auto deletions. @FF What do you mean by voting to close "in favour of the original question"? As a dupe (which I believe isn't possible if the original's deleted)? Jul 25, 2014 at 12:16
  • @Esoteric: You can certainly closevote in favour of "On Hold" questions - I've often done it. And I've just specified the earlier (now deleted) question being discussed here as a "potential" duplicate. I didn't actually click on the "Close as Duplicate" button, because the better answer is now on the later question, but I've no reason to suppose the system would have let me select that dup in the first place if it wasn't going to let me go through with it. Jul 25, 2014 at 13:39
  • 2
    How unexpected! You've inspired me to give it a try myself, and I found that if you click all the way through and cast the vote, the server responds with an error box reading "the original question is deleted and cannot be used for closure." Jul 25, 2014 at 14:46
  • @Esoteric: Oh. I suppose it's not exactly a "bug" that would justify raising on Meta. But given how assiduously the SO techies usually maintain the UI, I'm a bit surprised by that behaviour. Whatever - I guess I should have said "I would have been tempted to closevote in favour of the original". I won't be tempted now, since I know it's not possible (but I could still vote to "undelete" the original, and encourage others to do the same in my custom closevote "Other" reason on the offending later question, te he! :) Jul 25, 2014 at 15:05

This particular O.P. has a pattern that goes roughly as follows:

  • ask a question – often about a preposition or a phrase containing a word with multiple meanings, and feigning a little confusion because a usage doesn't map to a dictionary with 100% precision
  • reply to answers with follow-on questions in comments, almost as if those questions were at the ready the entire time.

It's very trollish behavior, and becomes predictable when observed over time. Here are a few examples.

Question (#33042): Could X be an error?
Follow-on (in comments): So, the example usage is wrong?

Question (#33186): Is phrase X error?
Follow-on (in comments): So, X is a non-standard version of Y?

Question (#32921): Does X make Y redundant?
Follow-on (in comments): So, adding or deleting Y makes no difference?

Question (#32862): Is replacing X with Y okay English?
Follow-on (in comments): But the pattern "be X-ing whether ...." can be found in substantial numbers

Question (#32761): Does X mean Y?
Follow-on (in comments): Would Z be better?

Many of these questions do point out interesting quirks of English, which is why this O.P. has been allowed to keep participating. But those who choose to answer these should know they are probably not investing their time to help a bona fide English learner – not unless someone else happens by, and happens to gain some knowledge from the question and its answer(s).

Also, if you elect to answer one of these "meaty" questions, don't be surprised if you get a follow-on notification soon thereafter. Feel free to flag one of those predictable follow-on questions in the comments instead of answering it. Lengthy discourse beneath an answer is not productive and such dialog is subject to deletion.

  • I absolutely agree that lengthy comment discussions are unproductive, but follow-ons 1-3 strike me as asking for confirmation that he's understanding someone correctly, though maybe actual examples in context would demonstrate otherwise. 4 and 5 would definitely be better included in the initial question. I think it's rather unfair to cast meatie as somehow not a legitimate learner (unless you've evidence that he's playing dumb and really has a good command of the language or is otherwise acting in bad faith), though his posts are often less than exemplary and I can understand the frustration. Sep 15, 2014 at 4:51
  • I'll also add that I have not paid any specific attention to his posts (though I have read a lot of them), and you obviously have, so perhaps things become a lot more clear after an in-depth investigation. I simply mean that my impression is that there are some struggles grasping both English and the SE way of participating. Maybe more than with other people, but nothing obviously unreasonable to me. Sep 15, 2014 at 4:56
  • 2
    @Esoteric - This particular user in a known SE troll who has played the same game for years, under different monikers and sock puppets. I was trying to dance around that backstory while informing the community about who they are "helping" with their time and efforts. I don't so much mind the questions – some of them are a bit clever and may be helpful for the learner – but I'm not quite so fond of the ensuing discussions.
    – J.R. Mod
    Sep 15, 2014 at 9:20
  • Thanks, I wasn't aware. Such a shame. Sep 15, 2014 at 16:14

Not at all. When someone posts a question, it attracts everyone and then depending upon the response from the answerers it either trends or gets down. Resposting will certainly though indirectly dishonour the terms of the site.

If the question has become too old and did not grab the required attention, bounty is the way. But I don't find any reason for this question's posting, deletion and again posting.

  • I have to agree with this - if the user had changed the question in some way, then perhaps it would indicate the desire to improve the question. As it is, it appears to be an attempt to circumvent the mechanics of the site. I have asked the OP to substantiate their actions.
    – jimsug
    Jul 23, 2014 at 10:22

You must log in to answer this question.