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I have a question which was asked on this site, but then deleted: namely the answer to "How to use the book Classical Electrodynamics by J D Jackson? [closed]" referenced here when I was doing research:

https://physics.stackexchange.com/q/325322/

https://physics.stackexchange.com/q/321345/

Now I don't want to ask it since if the original was closed, surely mine would be, but that question might contain valuable knowledge in its answers for me.

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  • $\begingroup$ The deleted question has no answers. It was closed as primarily opinion-based. $\endgroup$ – AccidentalFourierTransform May 25 '18 at 23:45
  • $\begingroup$ It's worth keeping in mind that questions won't be deleted if they have any answers with at least one upvote. If it is deleted (not to be confused with closed!) then it's rather unlikely that the deletion took down valuable content with it. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty May 26 '18 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ I deleted a bunch of comments belonging to a discussion that had apparently become obsolete, concerning potential edits to the question. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jun 5 '18 at 22:29
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the cleanup of the comments. I will just add that the now deleted comments were related to deletion of posts with upvoted answers. The discussion moved to a separate question: Can a question with an upvoted answer be deleted? $\endgroup$ – Martin Jun 7 '18 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ It's worth mentioning that 500+ rep users can see posts that they reviewed even after the post has been deleted by going through their review history. But it's not possible to view edits or comments that are hidden behind "show x more comments". $\endgroup$ – user191954 Jun 17 '18 at 2:51
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For closed questions, any answers that are there would be visible. See, for example, this question.

If there is a closed question without answers, two things are possible. One, answers may have been deleted. These would show up if you have at least 10,000 reputation. In the question you asked about, there are no deleted answers. Which leaves the second possibility -- it never got any answers before it was closed.

The original deleted question also has no answers, but you have to have 10,000 rep to see it. It's probably not great to have a question marked as duplicate when the original doesn't exist, however.

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    $\begingroup$ Might be worth it to add quick screenshots of the posts for the non-10k rep users. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos May 26 '18 at 17:37
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It seems that the discussion is partly also about finding out whether a deleted question has some answers.

For 10k+ users this is easy. If you have a link, you just look at the question and you see the answers. (Even if the question is not deleted, you can see both deleted answers and answers which are not deleted.)

One possibility for users with lower reputation is using data explorer (a.k.a. SEDE). SEDE contains also the PostsWithDeleted table. See: Database schema documentation for the public data dump and SEDE and also the corresponding feature request Can some metadata about deleted posts be included in Data.SE?

Keep in mind that data in SEDE are only updated once a week. So recent deletions can appear in this table only after the next data dump.


I made a rather simplistic query to find deleted answers to a given question from the data in PostsWithDeleted table.

Using this query I can see, for example, that question 1453 had 35 answers which are now deleted. Looking at a Wayback Machine snapshot before deletion of the question, which shows 33 answers, that sounds about right.

If I try the same with 325322 and 321345, I get zero answers.


If there are answers which were deleted, the above still does not help much. You only know that some answers have been deleted, you have a link - but if you are below 10k reputation points you still cannot see it.

One reasonable thing which can help to see deleted stuff is SEDE. If you're looking for something which was deleted recently, the content might be still in the data in SEDE and you can get it from there. If it is older, it is possible that you get it from past data dumps. (But this seems to be rather complicated process - and I'll admit that I do not know much about all the technical details.)

Other than that, probably you can try the stuff you would try on some other site which ceased to exist. You can check Wayback Machine, Google Cache, try to find whether the content has been copied by some scraper site. As not to repeat myself too much, I'll add a link to this post on another meta: Are there some possibilities for users below 10k to see deleted posts of other users?


But probably the easiest think to do is to ask politely a user who has 10k+ reputation to check the question for you. (For example on chat. I am not sure whether such request would be considered on topic here on meta. Although it is not unprecedented, here is an example of such post from the past: Can I have a screenshot of “Lagrangian of $\phi^4$ theory”?) I suppose that if this is not done too often and if you ask politely, somebody will help you. And you avoid all the hassle described above.

And also you could simply gain 10k points and you no longer have problems like this - but this is much easier said than done. :-)

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