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I am aware of the own question deletion rules - in particular, kindly provided in an answer to Rules for deleting one's own question by Martin Sleziak. I think these rules have to be changed somehow. Maybe add a rule that, once there is an answer, the question cannot be deleted during, say, 24 hours.

Here it is again: the question derived tensor product and finite projective dimension has been closed by the OP in about half an hour after receiving an answer. There was presumably not enough time for the answer to get any upvotes (whereafter the OP would not be able to delete it anymore).

Although I voted for undeletion I am not tagging this as an undelete request since I am not completely sure whether it must be undeleted or not. What I am sure about is that there was not enough time for the community to see the answer and decide.

PS Contemplating the answer by Todd Trimble, another possibility came to my mind: why not leave the prerogative of closing a newly answered question to moderators, and, if OP tries to do it, respond with an instruction to approach moderators for that?

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    $\begingroup$ I think "you can't delete your own question if it has any answer at all" is a reasonable rule. $\endgroup$ – Sam Hopkins May 23 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ @SamHopkins Well suppose your question and its single answer have fifty downvotes each... $\endgroup$ – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე May 23 at 19:47
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    $\begingroup$ In that case the deletion should happen as a result of closure, or mod intervention. $\endgroup$ – Sam Hopkins May 23 at 19:48
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    $\begingroup$ (I don't totally know how it works, but my understanding is: closed questions are not automatically deleted; however, closed questions with enough negative response, e.g. downvotes, are deleted automatically after a period of time.) $\endgroup$ – Sam Hopkins May 23 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ @SamHopkins Well I would say for what I am complaining about there is not much difference between closure and deletion. The result is the same: an interesting elaborate answer with much effort put into it becomes lost for the major part of the community. $\endgroup$ – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე May 23 at 19:52
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    $\begingroup$ A user needs lots of points to see deleted material, but that doesn't apply to closed posts that haven't been deleted, does it? Incidentally, I note that the question (and answer) under discussion here has been undeleted. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson May 23 at 22:51
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    $\begingroup$ I will mention that self-deleted posts are not shown in the list of recently deleted questions in the 10k+ tools: Why are self-deleted posts not shown in the 10k Tools? and Which deletions are not shown in 10k-tools? Are posts deleted by roomba shown there? (Your undelete votes should cause that the question is shown among recent undeleted votes in the 10k+ tools.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 24 at 5:05
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    $\begingroup$ In case some stuff from there might be useful, here are some related discussions from Mathematics Meta: Are there some tools to follow deletions on this site? and Is there need to patrol for deleted questions? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 24 at 5:06
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    $\begingroup$ One of the things mentioned on Mathematics Meta was an old tea thread called Deleted questions with (possibly substantive) answers. Tea archive seems to be down, so I will add link to my copy. (The list of recent deleted questions - similar to the one on tea - can be obtained from SEDE.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 24 at 5:09
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    $\begingroup$ @SamHopkins Details on auto-deletion can be found in the help center and also in various posts on Meta Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 24 at 6:45
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak I believe it is certainly important to have that tea thread and any related discussions available. The question of "smuggling answers" from MO will, I think, reoccur again and again until something efficient is done about it, and, as illustrated by my case, unless newcomers know about previous considerations they will try to reinvent the wheel. $\endgroup$ – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე May 24 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ The suggestion that users should request deletion from moderators would mean that this would not be accessible for users below 15 reputation points, since such users cannot flag. (Maybe this is an intended side-effect.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 24 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Could not something like a direct channel to address moderators be opened for them (for such occasions only)? $\endgroup$ – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე May 24 at 15:41
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    $\begingroup$ This problem was also recently raised at cs.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1762/… . $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek Jun 1 at 6:55
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There are few things on MO more annoying than posting an answer and then seeing that answer deleted before it even had a chance to be seen (except by the account that asked the question). All that work for nought.

Occasionally though there are circumstances where the question-asker has a really compelling reason for deleting a question as quickly as possible. E.g., the question shouldn't have been asked because the PhD advisor or collaborator is incensed that the question was made public. We even had a case recently where it was argued (convincingly enough for me) that having the question stay open could result in a loss of job.

Most of the time that's not the case, and that's where moderators enter. Most of the time it's not extenuating circumstances, and the question-asker is behaving in ways that skirt the edge of academic integrity. The linked question might be a case in point (there's another red flag that I'm not at liberty to discuss).

So, my advice is: when you see this happen, flag for moderator attention. We can make inquiries, explain expected behavior, and mete suspensions if those are warranted.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hm I see. Sorry if I caused any harm with my actions. So that question must be closed again then? $\endgroup$ – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე May 24 at 6:18
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    $\begingroup$ On the afterthought: would not it be more appropriate if the moderators would have to be notified not by users who accidentally noticed the deletions but rather before the deletion by the askers having discovered that their questions should be deleted? For example, if an OP tries to delete a freshly answered question, an instruction to do it through moderators might pop up or something $\endgroup$ – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე May 24 at 9:38
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    $\begingroup$ @მამუკაჯიბლაძე Moderators already have access to the list of self-deleted posts. (This is mentioned in several posts on Meta Stack Exchange, I would consider the information reliable.) I am not sure whether a notification about this would be useful - it seems that moderators already have too many notifications as it is.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 24 at 12:05
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak, I took that to be @‍მამუკაჯიბლაძე's point: whatever action requires moderator intervention is likely to be the path less taken. So I think the argument is that deleting a post that already has an answer should require that moderator intervention, to make it a high-friction path while recognising that there are nonetheless circumstances that warrant it. $\endgroup$ – LSpice May 24 at 14:05
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    $\begingroup$ @LSpice Exactly my point, thanks for this clear formulation! $\endgroup$ – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე May 24 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ @LSpice Sorry, I have somehow misread the comment and thought the the suggestion is to create a notification whenever a question having an answer is self-deleted. Still, in the context of this discussions, it is useful to know that moderators have access to a list of self-deletions. (And also 10k+ users can get list of deletions from SEDE - but with some delay.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 24 at 15:11
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    $\begingroup$ @მამუკაჯიბლაძე I can raise this question with my fellow moderators. $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Mod May 24 at 19:46
  • $\begingroup$ The most "compelling reason" to do this is straightforward cheating. "Because the PhD advisor or collaborator is incensed that the question was made public" sounds like attempting to rationalize the situation by pretending that dishonest people don't exist. $\endgroup$ – alephzero May 25 at 12:49
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    $\begingroup$ @alephzero Would "compelling and good-faith reason" satisfy you? Of course cheating is an occasional problem, but the majority of attempts (from e.g. undergraduates) are summarily shut down. Cases of cheating that sometimes get further include contest problems. But this community is pretty alert. $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Mod May 25 at 13:58
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    $\begingroup$ @alephzero: This answer isn’t pretending that dishonest people don’t exist. It’s pointing out that there are a non-negligible number of honest people who would be hurt by the proposed change. $\endgroup$ – Peter LeFanu Lumsdaine May 26 at 2:12

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