I want it back.

I am referring to an answer which was posted on my question: Did the English call a fruit “openærs” for 700 years?

NB Users with 10,000 rep are able to view deleted posts

The owner, Pisces, deleted his/her post on October 23 at 14:43. A post which I had awarded 350 bounty points, I therefore claim rightful possession. That answer belongs to me, I like it, I “paid” for it, so I want it back!

Seriously though, I would like the post to be undeleted. Apart from not understanding why the owner deleted a perfectly good post, which had also earned 8 upvotes, I would also like to know why I wasn't alerted. Inexplicable deletions of "good" answers (I don't care about the crappy ones) harm not only the overall quality of questions posted, but, in my opinion, harm EL&U as a whole.

And I would like to be informed/notified whenever a user deletes a post from one of my questions. The user is free to delete his or her post, but at the very least I am warned, and I might be in time to dissuade them from carrying out this action. Another excellent reason why this site would benefit from having personal/private messages system included.

(pause.... she remembers that user Pisces had also posted an answer on a different question of hers, she checks....)

I want that answer back as well, please.

It seems that Pisces has deleted all but one of their answers.

Before users start posting answers stating I don't "own" Pisces posts, I realize this. But I'm not entirely clear as to who owns our posts. Is it SE, the community, or the original posters? There's some mumbo-jumbo legalese posted here, for those curious to know more: Who owns the content I post? and here: Creative Commons, Legal Code

Wider Implication

I think my question deserves attention because when good answers are deleted from any site, that site is immeasurably poorer. What for instance would happen if Jon Skeet were to delete ALL his answers from SE Overflow? Could he do that? He is the "owner" of his posts, or isn't he?

UPDATE (sort of...)

Looking in the archives of Meta StackExchange brought little comfort. A question posted seven years ago: What to do when a user deletes all their questions and answers? One answerer suggests that users either do nothing or hunt for the deleted answers, and save them on their own computers. Two users suggests that a deleted post can be reversed and be made a Community Wiki or anonymous. In a second SE meta post,Is it ok for a user to remove *all* their contributions? @Rosinante says

Last time this happened, the defacement was all reverted and then some negotiation between the management and the user ensued. The site makes it clear that people who type stuff in here are granting a license, and so defacing your own stuff is no better than defacing anyone else's.

No mention of warning the OP or a bounty benefactor when a user deletes their answer that has been awarded a bounty. In my case, I have offered two bounties in vain.

  • Calling Pisces alter ego. Please undelete your posts, especially the ones you posted on my questions.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 10, 2015 at 9:03
  • 2
    Though your claim is legitimate (considering also that you paid a bounty ) my view is that the ultimate choice for what has been posted belongs to the original poster. Just my view.
    – user66974
    Nov 10, 2015 at 9:40
  • 2
    @Josh61 not so sure about that. What would happen if that Jon Skeet guy were to delete all his answers on SE Overflow? Pop over to Overflow and you'll see what I mean.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 10, 2015 at 9:44
  • @Josh61 Pisces has deleted all but one answer. It's not just a single case. And the two answers he deleted from my questions were good answers. I care about the good answers.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 10, 2015 at 9:51
  • This is meta, how else am I supposed to contact them? Via flags? This isn't a flagging issue, I don't think it is.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 10, 2015 at 12:27
  • 7
    @Mari-LouA If they've deleted the majority of their answers, a la infosuicide, then that counts on Stack Exchange as vandalism. The mods may want to discuss it among themselves a little, but restoring the posts is the normal and appropriate course of action. Nov 10, 2015 at 13:23
  • @curiousdannii I await a mod's explanation, because this can't be a unique situation. I might have to do some hunting at Meta SE...sigh...
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 10, 2015 at 13:28
  • @Mari-LouA I'm sure there'll be quite a bit at Meta.SE, and it shouldn't be too hard to find. Searching for "deleted all their posts" should bring it up I'd expect. Nov 10, 2015 at 13:29
  • Was Pisces involved in running several alter egos at the same time and voting up their own answers? (and multiple downvoting others?) If so, the upvote count is not very reliable. Nov 10, 2015 at 16:59
  • 1
    @Araucaria I don't know. But if it were true why wasn't the account deleted by the mods? I suspect Pisces may have had an alter ego, or, maybe Pisces still has...
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 10, 2015 at 18:18
  • @Mari-LouA I was just looking at an old post of mine. You can see from the comments (and might remember too) that Pisces' post was on a plus twelve score. Because some other user accounts have been deleted (perhaps Pisces' own other accounts), it's now on zero. At the time, it had plus 18 and minus six, so it looks as though the multiple accounting was worth twelve upvotes as well as a 300 point bounty on that question: Wrote it I did. Might be why Pisces decided to delete some answers ... ? Nov 19, 2015 at 13:27
  • @Mari-LouA I'm still glad their answer to your question got undeleted though. Nov 19, 2015 at 13:29

1 Answer 1


Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Excessive self-deletion is a big red flag for us that a user needs to be contacted. It can mean a variety of things--from rage-quitting to severe depression--and we take it very seriously, not just because it means losing valuable content but also because it can also mean losing a valuable user.

As far as deleted content, posts on StackExchange are viewed as community property. So no, this isn't really your content, but once something is posted, it does belong to the EL&U community, to all of us. This is evident in our process: we communally edit, offer bounties on posts that we didn't write, and vote on content.

That said, we respect OP's decision to delete their own content in most cases, as the primary case for deletion is downvoted or zero/low voted content. In this case, it is often clear that the community supports removing the content because it is not helpful.

However, if a post is highly upvoted and especially if it has been awarded a bounty, this is clear evidence that the community finds it useful. In those cases, we strongly support undeleting content. Therefore, for the two posts that meet this criteria, those answers have been undeleted.

For anyone who is considering deleting upvoted content for whatever reason, I would encourage you to contact the mods and ask for your account to be disassociated with the content instead.

As far as your feature request to be notified when answers are deleted from your posts, I think that's a question better posted on Meta.SE, since that would be a Stack-wide feature and not a local one.

  • 1
    Thank you, much appreciated. What about Pisces other answers? There might be an answer with 10 or 20 upvotes among the ones he/she deleted. If that's the case, will they too be undeleted? Where's the cut-off line? Any answer which earned ten upvotes or less, remains deleted?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 10, 2015 at 14:44
  • 6
    @Mari-LouA There were not many deleted answers, and I could see them all. I undeleted content that received 5 votes or more, but I think it's a judgment call where the actual cut-off is.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Nov 10, 2015 at 14:54
  • A follow-up question: the user Pisces at this point seems to have a reputation that is lower than the 350 point bonus awarded? Did the bonus go away during the restoration of the answer? The only answers that are visible have a positive score.
    – Floris
    Nov 13, 2015 at 23:15
  • @Mari-LouA - thanks that explains it!
    – Floris
    Nov 17, 2015 at 8:31
  • @Floris I just went to check....and strange no bounties have been awarded by him/her. I'm sure there was one. Anyhoo, look at the profile page and rep graph, and you'll see why the count is so low.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 17, 2015 at 8:33
  • 3
    Although Kit Z. Fox's answer makes some sense about whether a post is valuable, what doesn't make sense is to have someone go and undelete the posts just because they were popular. That is requiring manual effort by someone, and is only done if someone is alerted so that they know to consider making such a check. A more sensible approach would be for Stack Exchange to alter the process of deleting. e.g., if answer is highly upvoted then person is encouraged to not delete, and is not given option to delete, but has option to fill out a form requesting deletion. SE-wide, not EL&U-specific.
    – TOOGAM
    Nov 22, 2015 at 17:57

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