# On a question that was deleted recently.

I noticed that yesterday a question that received many upvotes (>40) and no downvotes, and which mathematically seems quite interesting was deleted by a Stack Exchange Moderator. I definitely don't want to stir up trouble when someone has wisely decided to remove a problematic post." So I ask whether in such a situation one should simply assume that there were good extra curricular reasons for deleting, or whether it is worth enquiring why? Note that since the post was deleted by a moderator, voting to undelete does not seem to be an option. Since the question itself seems interesting, I wonder if something less radical than deleting it entirely might be an option? Please note that I do not ask for an explanation of why some action was taken.

• Please add a link to the question or some other clear indication what you are referring to. – François G. Dorais Jun 11 '14 at 0:45
• @FrançoisG.Dorais: I was deliberately being vague since I didn't know if it was appropriate. But here is the question: mathoverflow.net/questions/56048/… – Lucia Jun 11 '14 at 0:46
• I don't know what's going on; it was deleted by a Stack Exchange employee, not one of us. I'll ask. – Scott Morrison Jun 11 '14 at 0:50
• That post has an odd history since the OP had deleted it but the community decided to undelete it. – François G. Dorais Jun 11 '14 at 0:53
• Totally appropriate question, Lucia. This question seems to have a very odd history. – Ryan Budney Jun 11 '14 at 4:00
• @Scott: Under which circumstances do Stack Exchange employees delete posts on MO without consulting the MO moderators before? -- I'd have thought they do so at most in quite extreme cases(?) – Stefan Kohl Jun 11 '14 at 12:16
• Wayback machine: web.archive.org/web/20130929134858/http://mathoverflow.net/… – jeq Jun 11 '14 at 12:33
• @FrançoisG.Dorais I assume this was only meant as a quick way to express something, namely that some hig-rep users decided to undelete it, but still I feel like pointing out that the formulation "the community decided to undelete it" is somewhat misleading IMO. A couple users decided to undelete it for some reason. (Was there some discussion around this? If there was and there was indeed consensus this should be done I retract my comment.) – user9072 Jun 11 '14 at 12:44
• @StefanKohl: Ideally, never. We just reminded SE staff of that. It's easy to forget, though, when processing a batch of user requests. – François G. Dorais Jun 11 '14 at 12:53
• @quid: That's a silly nitpick. This was the standard way for the community to express itself in such matters. It's not as common now due to software changes making self-deletions less visible. (In my opinion, this is an unfortunate change since a few users regularly abuse this.) – François G. Dorais Jun 11 '14 at 13:15
• @FrançoisG.Dorais perhaps I expressed myself not well, I was not searching any controversy, I merely meant to point out that "the community decided" was used by you in the sense of the tools of community moderation were used as opposed to there was a debate on meta and a decission was made (a decision in the latter scenario would carry more weight in my opinion); also the latter could have been the case and in my opinion the formulation you used rather suggests the latter. I would have some additional remarks, but I will not make them here. I might contact you (the mods) about it though. – user9072 Jun 11 '14 at 17:21
• @StefanKohl, see the answer from TimPost below. We've followed up in private, and are happy with the outcome. – Scott Morrison Jun 11 '14 at 21:41
• Regardless of the situation in this specific example, it seems problematic that the local moderator team (and the whole community) was bypassed. I thought part of the idea behind all the negotiations prior to the move was that this sort of actions were to be explicitly avoided. – Andrés E. Caicedo Jun 13 '14 at 4:19

This was me. I should have left a comment, but the question was removed due to sensitive reasons, so I didn't want to attract any more attention to it than I had to.

I obliged the request of the author because the question had no answers - the only time wasted by removing it would be the author's, and it was the author that requested it. Had there been answers, I would not have honored the request.

We'll make sure to CC the MO moderators when we take actions as we work through our user support system (which is how we were contacted). It happens so rarely that there wasn't really a need to establish any kind of procedure for it, so now is as good as time as any.

• Thank you for the response. – Lucia Jun 11 '14 at 13:24
• On every site it should be the local moderators who handle such things... – Dilaton Jun 11 '14 at 20:34
• Since the matter seems to have been resolved to the satisfaction of the MO moderators, I accept this answer and consider the discussion complete. – Lucia Jun 11 '14 at 21:47
• @Dilaton This request came through our support desk, team@stackexchange.com - there's no practical way to let moderators into that, and honestly, it's such a smelly place to go that I'd hate sending any there. – Tim Post Jun 12 '14 at 3:56
• @TimPost the MO moderators could have been informed and consulted. Executing such (or even more drastic) moderator actions by Stack Exchange employees or moderators without the local moderators and community of a site even being informed (and consulted), seems not appropriate to me. Good that this specific issue is resolved for good now. – Dilaton Jun 12 '14 at 11:20
• @Dilaton I believe to understand where you are coming from. But I feel this is a quite bad example to make this point. (Tangentially, the action was pretty minimal, and OP could even have essentially taken it themselves. Even on practical grounds only it seems neither feasibale nor really desirable to request everybody by consulted and informed for each such action.) – user9072 Jun 12 '14 at 12:16
• @quid: to the contrary, I think that it is feasible and desirable that moderation of this sort should be done exclusively by local moderators. If the local moderators do not have access to the "support desk", surely they can be contacted by email. Fortunately the local moderators have indicated they have followed up in private (still without access to the support desk, presumably...) – Carl Mummert Jun 13 '14 at 1:19
• @Carl I have no interest to continue this discussion here. You seem to try to stir up some controversy and conflict where there simply is none. – user9072 Jun 13 '14 at 8:50
• @quid it is probably not much more to be said concerning this spedific issue here as it is resolved, but I generally tend to agree with Carl and also with this comment, and give the advice to be wary and closely watch such and similar incidents ... – Dilaton Jun 13 '14 at 10:20
• @Dilaton not only is the current issue resolved, but Tim Post also promised right away to put in place a mechanism/procedure to avoid it in the future. I really do not know what more one could expect. More generally, MO is on the network since almost a year, and I did not notice any problems. So, in reference to the comment that you link to: yes this was part of the idea and it works really well in my opinion. If somebody thinks differently they should raise the issue in a clear way. – user9072 Jun 13 '14 at 12:17
• @quid I agree with you that there is not yet cause to be alarmed, and I will add that Tim Post in particular has generally done very well by this local moderation team (I can think of some sticky situations where his job has not been easy). And yes, Tim has given us his word; I am satisfied by his response here. But it's also fine that Dilaton, Carl, and Andres ask questions and sound cautionary notes -- people have differing experiences with the stackexchange network. I don't see anything untoward in their (politely expressed) comments; thus I'm editing the final words of your last comment. – Todd Trimble Jun 14 '14 at 13:44
• @quid: not every comment is directed at you, nor needs to be responded to. By responding immediately to every comment here, you've forced anyone who wants to share their concerns to engage you in a conversation. The effect, though I'm sure unintentional, is to stifle people's ability to speak without starting a confrontation. [I say this as someone who agrees with you on the substantive point.] – Tom Church Jun 15 '14 at 16:28
• @TomChurch yes not every comment is directed at me, only those that start with @quid You can check that I did eg not comment on Andres Caicedo's comment right away (while I wrote a comment during the relevant period of time). Only when it came up in a comment in fact directed at me did I say something on it. Or, would Carl Mummert wish to make his point without engaging me he could have simply made it. But he talked to me using @qui. So, I replied. Now you talked to me so I replied. But, it is true that I sometimes comment too much. Thanks for the reminder. – user9072 Jun 15 '14 at 16:46