I asked this question: Is fraudulent activity related to renting a residence - Theft by Deception?

One answer gave me a few good clues that I need to at least capture again. It was these details that I thought were important and valuable at least for further research. I was hoping to refer to the answer this week while exploring the question further. I had intended to post my findings, if anything new, here.

However, the question was deleted.

I understand having standards on the SE sites. I get it. They are intended to maintain quality.

One answer spawned quite a few comments regarding citations, links, or something. In defense, the poster echoed his comments in the answer and it fell into another category. Somewhere along the line, the answer got deleted by either the user or a moderator.

Again. I get it. Not a big deal, except the answer had value to me and I came back to reference it. Is it possible to clean up the answer and have it undeleted? Or is it possible that the important elements be posted into a new compliant answer?


I was able to find much of what I was looking for sifting through my browser history. Thanks anyway!

However, the question still stands in part. When a valuable answer is deleted; can, when, and should it be resurrected? It is my opinion that the answer should have survived but edited to conform to standards.


1 Answer 1


I was the moderator who requested citations, affixed a citation needed notice to the post, and then deleted the answer. I feel that some context and explanation of the circumstances surrounding this is warranted, so that the deletion of an allegedly "valuable answer" is not misunderstood. Here is my response to your question. You can scroll down to the bottom if you aren't interested in this or already know it.

Answer deletion generally

As per the guidance for the trusted user privilege:

Deleting answers

When should I vote to delete an answer?

You may vote to delete answers in the following cases:

  • The answer is extremely low quality: There is little to no scope for improvement
  • The answer doesn't attempt to answer the question; it may be a comment or a separate question altogether.

Currently, the guidance around undeleting questions is less clear. And so the latter part of your question cannot be answered.

This instance

You have called it a "valuable answer". However, I disagree and I deleted the answer as it was nothing more than a rant supported by no reference to legal authority.

It was generally an anecdote. Law Stack Exchange, however, does not exist to host recounts of people's lives. There are many services on the internet which exist to host people's experiences and recounts that are not limited to also being useful as an answer.

This is starting to become somewhat of a catchphrase for me, but: This isn't *Life Experiences Stack Exchange*, it's *Law Stack Exchange*. Questions should be about the law, and answers should be based on and supported by (rather than just related to) the law.

Were I not a moderator, I would still have voted to delete this answer. I gave the user every opportunity to edit their answer and provide citations to cases that supported their assertions. Instead, they decided to append a large rant about the ethics of citation to their post, and ignore the very reasonable request that their answer be supported by reference to law.

If it is your view that the answer should have been edited to conform to standards, then we are in agreement. The only person who should have to edit it is the person making the claims - that is, the author. If someone else had happened upon the post and been able to provide evidence to support the claims in the answer then that would also have been acceptable. Certainly, if I were aware of such evidence then I would have cited it.

Any user with sufficient reputation may view deleted posts. If they choose, they may adopt the content (noting that all content submitted on the site is subject to the relevant Creative Commons license) to form part or all of an answer of their own provided the CC license is complied with.

The bottom line

It is my opinion that the answer should have survived but edited to conform to standards.

I gave the user every opportunity to do this, and which they repaid by, instead of doing so, composing a lengthy diatribe on the ethics of providing references. Therefore the deletion was warranted, as the answer was unsalvageable. Having afforded the user the chance to edit it to conform to standards, and that chance being ignored, I feel no guilt over deleting it.

  • With respect, I did not insinuate that the answer fit the standards, but rather there were some valuable nuggets within it. It was valuable to me the OP. I was not questioning the deletion. A was asking, How can I get the information I was hoping to reference? Granted, there would have been a lot removed from the answer leaving just a few paragraphs. I was not even sure that what was left would fit your standards. Understood. I was just asking if what was valuable about the answer could be saved and not can we bring something back that otherwise should not live.
    – closetnoc
    Apr 26, 2016 at 13:30
  • @closetnoc - once a post is deleted, only those with sufficient reputation are able to view it. It seems that you have been able to access the content that you need, though.
    – jimsug
    Apr 26, 2016 at 13:35
  • 1
    Yes. I realize. I have enough rep on another SE site to take advantage of this feature. And yes. I did get what I needed. My point is that the answer, did contain some important points. Here is what I can do when I have more time. I can update the question with the missing information or offer an answer. However, with a sick Mom, sick cat, and a nightmare of a tenant that I filed on yesterday, I will be busy for a while. As well, not being a lawyer, I want to make sure I have as many of my thoughts in-line as possible. This is an important SE site. It will succeed. Good work! Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Apr 26, 2016 at 13:43

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