I noticed that three answered questions all with a negative score of -2 were recently deleted, the notice reads

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This post is hidden. It was deleted yesterday by Community♦.

I would like to know why the system, i.e Community♦ (a bot), deleted the two questions even though they were answered.

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According to the FAQ on Meta these three questions should still be visible.

How does deleting work? What can cause a post to be deleted, and what does that actually mean? What are the criteria for deletion?

  1. The system will automatically delete any post red flagged enough times as rude or abusive or spam. It takes six red flags from normal users, or a single one from a moderator, to delete a post for this reason.

The questions were neither rude nor abusive and they were definitely not spam. Furthermore, no delete votes had been cast.

  1. The system will automatically delete closed, unlocked, and non-migrated questions that have zero or negative score, have no positively scored or accepted answers

This deleted question had an answer with 2 upvotes as did this one. This third deleted question by the same author had two answers, one of which earned a single upvote.

  1. The system will automatically delete negatively-scored, non-migrated, unlocked, and unanswered questions (both open and closed, including as duplicates) that are older than 30 days. (RemoveDeadQuestions)
  1. The system will automatically delete unlocked, unanswered questions older than 365 days on main (non-meta) sites, that have a score of zero (or have a score of 1 and the owner's account is deleted) (RemoveAbandonedQuestions)

The deleted questions were answered and were posted on 1 September and 19 August 2021

  1. The system will automatically delete any post with a negative score when its owner's account is deleted 1, unless the post is an open question that has at least one positively-scored answer 2 , or is on a meta site.

The account is deleted but it has upvoted answers on both questions.

  1. The system will automatically delete any post, regardless of score, answers, or the site it's on, when its owner's account is destroyed (only done for spammers and blatant trolls).

Other questions posted by the user remain visible, so it's clear their account was not destroyed.

Why did Community♦ delete three "answered" questions? What am I missing?

Is it because all three questions were closed in the last four days and each had earned two downvotes?

1 Answer 1


The questions were deleted because the user account was (self-)deleted and those questions satisfy the criteria listed here by Shog9:

  • ...score < 0 AND
    • ...are closed OR
    • ...have no answers scoring > 0

The FAQ mentions this in item 12 (emphasis mine):

unless the post is an open question that has at least one positively-scored answer2

  • 2
    But four perfectly fine answers were also deleted. And the questions were closed in less than a week. What happened to editing a closed question to improve it or make it on topic?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 7, 2021 at 10:01
  • 2
    ...But the indiscriminate deletion ends up hurting folks who have participated in good faith, have had their work recognized already, and worst of all have little visibility into or ability to influence the process that leads to deletion. Heck, we don't allow askers to explicitly delete their questions if there's an upvoted answer, so why allow them to do so implicitly by deleting their account? Shog9
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 7, 2021 at 10:02
  • “questions that score < 0 ... AND .... OR have no answers scoring > 0” This seems ambiguous, it could be a negative scored question that has one or more upvoted answers is not be deleted.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 7, 2021 at 10:30
  • 2
    @Mari-LouA If you feel that the questions shouldn't have been deleted when the user deleted their account, you should flag to undelete them, or post on Meta making the case that they should be restored. That's how the system is set up to handle mistakes. Deleted, like closed, isn't necessarily a permanent state.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 7, 2021 at 11:53
  • @ColleenV let's imagine someone answered a downvoted question, their post attracts 10 upvotes. The OP then posts a rant on meta, and as often happens on meta, two or more of their questions get closed. In less than a week, the disgruntled OP deletes their account. Along with that deletion is that answer with 10 upvotes. How does the author of that answer find out? Users are not notified when answered posts are deleted by the system or by moderators. I thought LQQs with upvoted answers were exempt from deletion, it appears I was mistaken.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 7, 2021 at 12:03
  • 2
    @Mari-LouA How did you discover that these questions were deleted? There is a "recently deleted" link at the bottom of our profiles' "answers" and "questions" tab, but it really comes down to whether the author notices they're missing. I think there might also be a "user deleted" event in their reputation history that might cause someone to go looking. The site relies on the community to collectively notice and correct mistakes. You noticed the mistake and you should bring it to the attention of the rest of the community so we decide whether to restore the question.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 7, 2021 at 13:04
  • @ColleenV The "user deleted" event, recorded in the reputation page, doesn't tell you who that user is though. But still, I hadn't thought of that. Good reminder. P.S Glorfindel is our moderator, so he could chime in but he's keeping mum...
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 7, 2021 at 13:11
  • 2
    Too busy with finishing work before holiday. If you want a system change, it needs to be discussed on Meta.SE. If we, the ELL community, should revisit our closing behaviours, that is topic for another question here.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Sep 7, 2021 at 13:28
  • @Mari-LouA Also, the moderation tools available to 10K+ reputation holders lists deleted posts, although because you haven't identified the specific questions that were deleted I don't know if they show up in that list.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 7, 2021 at 13:29
  • @ColleenV there are links to the 3 deleted questions, when I looked they didn't show up on the recently deleted posts for some reason.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 7, 2021 at 13:47
  • @Mari-LouA Ugh my eyes are old. I was hung up on the screenshots. Yeah, that was what I was afraid of... the user account post deletions by the Community bot may not show up there. I'd have to dig around on Meta.se to see if that's a known thing
    – ColleenV
    Sep 7, 2021 at 13:51
  • 1
    @ColleenV I did some science a while ago here, but it's not exactly the same case: that was a spammer, this is a self-deletion.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Sep 7, 2021 at 20:09
  • I left a comment there that it would be nice if positively scored answers made it to the recently deleted list. Spammers would be unlikely to generate many of those, so the list wouldn't be overwhelmed.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 8, 2021 at 14:01

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