Since the content on PSE is licensed under CC BY-SA $4.0$, I suppose the content that is once posted on PSE becomes part the free culture (correct me if I am wrong), and thus, even if the author decides to delete a post of theirs, the community can still decide to keep the content of the post up (of course, without linking it to their name if that's what they wish). Currently, a no-delete policy only applies to accepted answers, however, I think it'd be a good policy to adopt for all posts (or at least, for all posts with a positive score). As I already mention, I think the user should be allowed to disassociate their name from the post if they wish to do so (it would still be visible in the edit history, I suppose).

I was led to this idea due to a recent social media post by an SE user who expressed that they plan to delete as much of their content as possible from one of the SE sites because they were disgruntled by a moderation decision made on the relevant SE site regarding one of their posts. The anecdote is not of any particular interest except to drive home the point that we wouldn't like to lose valuable content if a user gets angry at SE (for whatever reason, justifiable or otherwise). And, due to the CC license, I think we have the ability to make sure we don't lose the content in such cases.

I suspect that this would be an SE wide policy but I suppose it is a good idea to discuss it within the PSE community first. If this is not the right approach towards discussing an SE wide policy, I'd be happy to delete this post and post it on SE wide meta.

  • $\begingroup$ Would Meta Stack Exchange be a better place for this question? $\endgroup$ – rob Sep 24 '20 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, look at me not reading your final paragraph. $\endgroup$ – rob Sep 24 '20 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ The policy you're describing is already the status quo. What makes you think otherwise? $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Sep 25 '20 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty Well, I didn't know about the safeguard against mass deletion which I came to know about when Chris mentioned it. Except for that, what I'm describing is a bit different than what we have, for example, I can delete an answer of mine without approval from a moderator as long as it's not an accepted answer. $\endgroup$ – Dvij D.C. Sep 25 '20 at 21:26

If a user wants to delete an answer of theirs, we usually assume good faith. Perhaps they've decided their answer is wrong, in which case we definitely want them to be able to remove them. In the unusual case that an answer is deleted that demonstrably should not have been , the answer can be flagged for moderator attention by any user who notices the deletion.

Mass deletion, of the sort you are describing in your second paragraph, is a different story. As described here, mass deletion of answers is not allowed, and moderators will take action to undelete posts that should not have been deleted.

tl;dr There are good reasons to delete posts sometimes. When a post is deleted for a bad reason, it can be undeleted.

  • $\begingroup$ Ah, nice. That's reassuring to know. I'd say that it might be more economical to not let anything deleted by the user (but allow them to disassociate their name) and if the answer is truly bad, the community can report it for deletion as it happens already. Because it might be hard to notice a fishy deletion from an old post that nobody is necessarily visiting regularly. $\endgroup$ – Dvij D.C. Sep 24 '20 at 20:51
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    $\begingroup$ @DvijD.C. It's hard to label single deletes as "fishy" anyway, since we tend to assume good faith on deletions unless there is clear evidence otherwise. Mass deletions are automatically flagged for moderator attention. I'm inclined to think requiring all deletions to be processed by a moderator would greatly increase the burden on moderators without much benefit. $\endgroup$ – Chris Sep 24 '20 at 20:56
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    $\begingroup$ @DvijD.C. There are good reasons for a user deleting an answer of their own. For instance—a case which actually happened to me—one may realize to have misinterpreted a question such that their answer is actually a non-answer: why waiting the community to delete it? $\endgroup$ – Massimo Ortolano Sep 25 '20 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ @MassimoOrtolano Sure, this is not the hill I'd die on but I just think that community is anyway supposed to take care low quality answers. I get it that it speeds up the process if the author takes care of this themselves. I guess it boils down to whether we want to prioritize the efficiency with which bad posts are deleted or the efficiency of preventing good posts from getting deleted. I tend to prioritize the latter but if it's going to put undue burden on the moderators as Chris suggests, I'm okay with prioritizing the former as long as there is a safeguard against mass deletion. $\endgroup$ – Dvij D.C. Sep 25 '20 at 7:50

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