A user deleted their question after 1 close vote: sh.file not executing on startup (via crontab)

Screenshot for those with < 10k reputation:

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I was given the option to "un-delete" this question and my quick-clicking-happy-finger chose to do so because I thought I had a good answer to post... ie cron @reboot works in /etc/cron.d directory scripts and not through crontab -e modifications.

My question is What is the purpose of allowing undelete votes on a question the OP deleted?. The question has no answers and the OP should be allowed to delete the question. Un-deleting an OP deleted question seems ridiculous on the surface. I must be missing something here....

  • 2
    It's worth noting that under the Creative Commons License, the material does not actually belong to the OP anymore; SE or SO (I forget which) holds the copyrights for the material. Therefore, if the SE community decides that it should be undeleted, they can theoretically override even the OP.
    – anonymous2
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 2:45
  • 7
    @anonymous2 No, the material still belongs to the OP: they, and no one else, remain the copyright holder. But we license our posts to Stack Exchange and to anyone who reads them, under a CC-BY-SA license, which permits anyone with a copy of the work to distribute it, as well as derivatives of it, so long as they abide by the license terms. Although the license has some restrictions, it does not require people to cease distribution on request of the copyright holder (though authors can ask that their name no longer be used with the work). Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


Short Answer

In general, it's OK (and sometimes beneficial) for users to delete their own posts and we have this ability, though there are some limitations to self-deletion*. The underlying reason for allowing vote-to-undelete is, as usual, that questions and their answers are not only for the OP but for the entire community of site users / visitors present and future. This means that if voters consider deleted posts valuable, they can vote to revert the OP's action.

*For example, you cannot delete your accepted answer (though voters (and of course mods) can) and you cannot delete your question if it has upvoted answers.

If you're still reading

The odd self-deletion isn't a big deal, but deleting more than five (I think) of your own posts in one day raises an automatic flag (and stops you from continuing). Deleting substantial amounts of useful content is taken seriously and could result in suspension (of course, self-deletion might be happening because the user's account was hacked, or accessed by their angry flatmate etc, so blocking rapid self-deletion protects the user too). Giving other site users the ability to undelete content helps to protect that content - which belongs to the community.

Take a look at some posts related to self-deletion on Meta Stack Exchange

Note that you always have the right to have your account disassociated from content (under the Creative Commons license used by SE). This provides a compromise between the community which benefits from useful content and may to vote to undelete it, and the author who wishes to delete content.

  • There's a rate limit on self-deletion in relation to up-voted posts, so that new users and trolls don't go around making new questions that keep getting closed, just to delete and the recreate them. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 9:52
  • I've accepted your answer but... If a user posts a question, it has no answers or comments, and deletes the question in 18 minutes, it "feels wrong" for others to un-delete it. If it is an interesting question someone else could rewrite it and answer it as their own question. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 16:05
  • @WinEunuuchs2Unix yeah that's true. I've never voted to undelete a question in this situation. OP probably found the answer themselves
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 17:32
  • @Zanna yeah I thought the same and regretted my quick fore-finger click to un-delete. Which made me wish I didn't have the option for that particular type of question and led to this meta question. Thank you for another stereotypical thorough Zanna answer though :) Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 17:57
  • @WinEunuuchs2Unix it still takes 3 votes, and as far as I can tell only a handful of people look at the deletion page in the 10k tools anyway :S If I actually want to undelete something, I reach out to people to vote; stuff won't just get undeleted automatically. However, I don't think it would be bad or unreasonable to undelete that question, it's just not something we normally do
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 18:04
  • @Zanna if does get un-deleted due to an anomaly, it would behoove me to answer it, so I had better remember to check up on this one periodically. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 18:08

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