# Should 'newbie' questions be allowed to be deleted by the contributor without oversight?

'Vets' will probably know where this is leading to as most of us have experienced it at some point (it's not my first time!)

I then decided to answer the question in full. I didn't get an immediate acknowledgement of my effort.

And much to my annoyance the contributor had deleted his question when I checked in this morning.

This is both frustrating and ineffective: the question (and answer) had received no down-votes or votes to close and could have been informative for other members or searchers.

So it appears that some new contributors simply lose interest in their own question and delete it, together with someone else's work! 'Newbies' are of course not quite as invested in P.SE as regular contributors.

I wonder if some moderator oversight would be useful here?

• While "lost interest" is a possible explanation for this behaviour - as is misunderstanding what the "delete" action is for, especially for new users - there is also a more malign interpretation: The question is e.g. a question in an exam and they delete it after having received an answer because they don't want to leave the evidence visible. I have no data on how common this is but it certainly has happened several times. – ACuriousMind Jul 6 '20 at 21:29
• I'm pretty sure that a question with upvoted answers can't be deleted by itsauthor, but I don't know the vote threshold. – rob Jul 6 '20 at 21:39
• @rob Any upvotes on an answer at all keep the question from being deleted. – Chris Jul 6 '20 at 21:42
• OPs deleting their possible homework or exam question shortly after receiving a valid answer is fairly common on other sites, like Mathematics & SO. I suspect it's less common on Physics, due to our strong policy regarding homework-like questions. – PM 2Ring Jul 7 '20 at 2:45

So... what exactly are you proposing that we do about it?

I mean, I agree that this is undesirable behavior; while we do generally want to allow people to delete their own questions within reason, they shouldn't be able to do so when it takes away content contributed by others that may add value. SE has taken some action on this in the past, but it probably doesn't go quite far enough, and I still see complaints about this come up from time to time. Ideally, we'd have some technical restriction like, say, disallowing self-deletion of a question less than $$X$$ hours old that has received an answer within the last $$Y$$ hours (e.g. $$X=48$$, $$Y=24$$). But only SE can make those changes. The mods can certainly try to bump up the importance of this feature in SE's view, but realistically it's going to take a long time for them to deal with it.

• What baffles me a bit is that the Q&A seems to have fallen off the edge of the earth. Vanished completely, not even visible with my $>20k$ rep. – Gert Jul 6 '20 at 22:26