In discussion on another question there was some disagreement over whether a question can be deleted by regular users if it has an upvoted answer. (Here we are talking neither about deletion by the OP nor deletions by a moderator. This is about deletions by votes to delete which are available to 10k+ users and with a bit less restrictions to 20k+ users.)

Despite looking at the same examples and the same FAQ and help entries, different commenters arrived to different conclusions. One source of the problem seems to be that I do not have sufficient reputation on this site to view deleted questions, so it's difficult for me to include specific examples that can be verified by 10k users on this site. (I am able to find some questions that have upvoted answers and were deleted using SEDE, but still I do not see revision history and I cannot check whether they were deleted by a mod or by regular users voting to delete.)

Question: Can a question which has an upvoted answer be deleted if regular users vote to delete the question? Could you in your answer include also some examples (from this site, if possible)?.

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe this is just case of "somebody is wrong on the internet" on my side. But since the linked conversation shows that this is a bit unclear even for experienced users, clarifying this issue here on meta might potentially be useful. $\endgroup$
    – Martin
    May 28, 2018 at 6:02
  • $\begingroup$ In short: you're right (proof: timeline of a question on SO which has an accepted, 15-score answer, has been deleted 4 times by 3 regular users) $\endgroup$
    – Andrew T.
    May 28, 2018 at 9:28
  • $\begingroup$ I think that such a question would be presented to the moderators with a "controversial review" flag from Community. I don't know that algorithm, but given the general slowness of our community review queues on Physics it seems you might not find an example without moderator involvement, even if Andrew's link on a busier site shows that the software allows such an outcome. $\endgroup$
    – rob Mod
    May 28, 2018 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ I have voted many times to delete questions with negative scores but with positive answers and, like AFT, don't know if any have actually been deleted. $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    May 28, 2018 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ @rob My understanding is that controversial reviews means that some voted one way and some the other, so I don't see how such a suggested deletion could be viewed controversial as there isn't a 'deleted questions' review queue. $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    May 28, 2018 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos AFAIK you can check your past delete votes (and whether those posts were deleted) on the corresponding tab of your user profile. This tab includes self-deletions. $\endgroup$
    – Martin
    May 28, 2018 at 16:47

2 Answers 2


While the Moderator Tools privilege page and Meta SE FAQ "How does deleting work" are both rather vague on this point, 10k rep members can certainly vote to delete negatively-scored closed questions with positive score answers.1

The screenshots below are from https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/386239/how-do-i-solve-this-luminosity-question (10k rep only link), which was closed by 5 non-mods and deleted by 3 non-mods with a question score of -3 and an answer score of +1 (which also wasn't voted for deletion either).

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1 Whether this is a good or bad feature is probably subjective and not the point of the post (which is about the possibility of doing so).

  • $\begingroup$ One source of confusion is that the language "X user, under Y circumstances, can vote to delete Z post", which is quite common in the documentation, is misleading: there are circumstances where the system will allow a 10k user to "vote to delete" a given post, but no number of votes-to-delete will actually lead to a deletion. (Example: a Low-Quality Posts review will show a (vote to) Delete button for 10k users even if the answer has score>0, but no number of VTDs from regular users will delete a score>0 answer.) $\endgroup$ May 31, 2018 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ Thus I'm generally wary of the language "you can vote to delete" in the documentation, as it's not actually indicative that a deletion will take place. $\endgroup$ May 31, 2018 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Emilio: it looks like your linked post is about a review, but there is no review queue here. The three of us just came across this Q (likely through the mod tools) and voted to delete it. $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    May 31, 2018 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not at all disputing your example. I was trying to explain that the specific language you use (10k+ users can vote to delete) is used with some frequency in the documentation for situations where that vote is moot and no actual deletion will take place. I try to shy away from that formulation, and use more concrete wording, for that reason. $\endgroup$ May 31, 2018 at 22:40

Can a question with an upvoted answer be deleted?

Can it?, yes - someone can, for certain.

See: What are the moderation tools available to 10,000+ reputation users? for the manner in which things function under normal circumstances.

I know someone with well over 100K and sometimes things he would have expected to work for him did not, while people under 2K were able to see the thing in question. Sometimes there's breakage and all is not how one might expect.

Sometimes it works the other way, another person with over 300K couldn't reproduce a bug nor rollback or view history to see the problem. Things 'just worked' for them; though they could see the before/after they just couldn't wedge themself into the spot to reproduce it.

My understanding is some people have privilege to delete and leave the earned Rep in place, but I can't find the link for a source to quote.

I've had my own questions VTC'd and made a trivial edit, getting it reopened - it went on, over time, to be well upvoted. Perhaps it shouldn't have been closed in the first place but people didn't understand the question or know the answer and just jumped on the bandwagon.

Recently they are holding for a week over hammering, though a one or two person hammer sometimes occurs.

Between privilege, Rep, physical access, voting, automatic tools and cosmic rays - anything can happen ...

Can and should are two different things. That's why there's automatic tools to quiz the humans to determine if they vote/edit in accordance with what the 'test question' expects they should do - with the risk of a ban for failure.

  • $\begingroup$ Re: My understanding is some people have privilege to delete and leave the earned Rep in place, but I can't find the link for a source to quote. I am not sure whether this is what you meant, but this answer says that reputation is kept if a post has been visible at least 60 days and score is at least 3: Do you lose the reputation (points) you acquired from a question if/when it is deleted? (I suppose it does not matter how the post was deleted or who deleted it to decide whether reputation is removed or not.) $\endgroup$
    – Martin
    Jun 17, 2018 at 3:47

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