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The question Deleting answers with a positive rep balance, which popped up in the Meta queue today, reminded me of a question I've long had about deleted answers.

First, some background. When a moderator (or automated mechanism) deletes a question and its associated answers, site participants who posted now-deleted answers to that question may receive two forms of notification.

  1. If your answer has received net reputation points (for example, it might have received one upvote and one downvote, meaning that the net vote total is 0 but the net rep count is +8), notice of the change in reputation will show up—temporarily—in the daily reputation change listing on the reputation tab of the activity page of your user profile.

  2. Whether or not your answer received any upvotes, it will appear—again temporarily—in a list headed "Deleted recent answers," which you can find by clicking the 'deleted recent answers' link at the bottom of the list of answers that appears in the Answer tab of the activity page of your user profile. As far as I can tell, EL&U does not call your attention to such deletions in instances where your answer received neither upvotes nor downvotes; you just have to check "Deleted recent answers" periodically to find out that the deletions occurred.

I'm not sure how long a recently deleted answer remains visible on the "Deleted recent answers" page, but the duration seems to be brief. For example, on May 26, two questions that I had answered got deleted and, at first, appeared in my "Deleted recent answers" page; but when I checked that page today (eight days later), the listings were already gone. More mysteriously, the entry on my rep page for May 26—which had initially noted a net loss of 16 rep points (reflecting one upvote and one downvote for each of the two deleted answers)—vanished within a couple of days.

I can't think what purpose the very brief tenancy of deleted answers on the "Recently deleted answers" page serves beyond meeting some minimum standard of notice to the poster, followed by disappearing the answers down the memory hole out of respect for the principle of "out of sight, out of mind." But perhaps, from the perspective of the powers that be, even that level of notice is a courtesy.

So much for the "Deleted recent answers" page and the daily reputation change page.

My question is actually about all of my answers that people (other than me) or automated routines have deleted over the years. Some of those answers were (I thought) pretty good, and I would like to be able to review them to see whether I couldn't rework them in response to a question less flawed than the one that got deleted—or perhaps to attempt to rehabilitate certain deleted questions themselves.

Does EL&U archive the content of deleted questions (and their associated answers) following their deletion, or do those questions and their answers—and the record of their ever having existed—simply disappear into the ether? If the questions and answers still exist somewhere on the EL&U servers, is there any way for me to obtain a linked list of my lost answers? Basically, I'm asking for an "All deleted answers" list to supplement or replace the "Recent deleted answers" list that already exists.

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    You have to visit Meta SE, not that it makes for great reading fodder, but it does help to understand its quirks and how the system runs. – Mari-Lou A Jun 3 at 23:40
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Using the special search term "deleted:yes" along with "is:answer" should return a complete list of your deleted answer posts.

According to this Meta SE post, this search option is only available to users who have enough reputation to acquire the "View deleted posts" privilege.

No matter how much reputation you have, deleted posts that aren't yours won't show up as search results (unless you are a diamond moderator).

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    This is exactly what I was looking for, sumelic. Thank you! – Sven Yargs Jun 3 at 20:47
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    @SvenYargs Adding a "user:me" restricts the search to pages that contain your own posts. – Lawrence Jun 5 at 14:06

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