I recall that Thurston answered a question, showing that a particular graph braid group is the fundamental group of a three-manifold. I even recall that the answer proved that the three-manifold was arithmetic. I told all this to a student, and now, embarrassingly, I can't find the question or the answer. I suspect that the question poser has deleted their account. I've emailed the poser and not gotten a reply... so - is there some way for me to find this answer? I'd be happy to see just the answer and not the question (if that is needed to protect the question poser's wishes).

thank you!

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    $\begingroup$ As far as I see, Thurston has only one deleted answer and that seems unrelated (also, the corresponding question is not deleted). $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 10:06
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    $\begingroup$ I will just ask whether you tried searching using user:9062 is:a together with some reasonable keywords. (Most likely you did - still I asked.) $\endgroup$ Commented May 6, 2023 at 10:14
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    $\begingroup$ Now that a mod says that there isn't a deleted fulfilling these criteria this is moot, still I'll mention that one could check deleted questions or deleted answers in a specific tag - but here regular users cannot restrict this by the post owner. (Mods can search among the deleted posts.) $\endgroup$ Commented May 6, 2023 at 10:14
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak - Thank you - your search gives exactly what I was looking for. My eyes must have past over it several times. (Somehow?!?!) $\endgroup$
    – Sam Nead
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ Hmm. Do I delete my meta-question now? $\endgroup$
    – Sam Nead
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 12:27
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    $\begingroup$ Concerning your comment asking whether to delete this question, I am not sure what is the best option. (Let's hope someone else might chime in.) A single deleted questoin certainly doesn't contribute that much to the possibility of post ban. (Aecdotal evidence suggests that it is rather difficult to get a question but on meta.) I don't think people will object if you leave the question here. I don't think that people will object too much if you delete it after some time. $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2023 at 5:01
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    $\begingroup$ Possibly you could post a self-answer explaining that it is possible to search using the modifier user:userid - which would make this Q&A useful for the users unaware of this. At the same time, this is in the help canter and there are some posts on this meta about this - such as: Keyword Search of the User's own (my own) questions or answers. $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2023 at 5:01

1 Answer 1


In fact the post was not deleted - I simply failed to find it among Thurston's (many) interesting answers! To prevent future users from suffering my fate, the right way to look for a single answer among many is to use the "advanced" search feature. The syntax is explained here:


The search proposed by Martin Sleziak

user:9062 is:a manifold fundamental group arithmetic

worked perfectly. In this particular example "user:9062" refers to Thurston, "is:a" refers to answers, and "manifold fundamental group arithmetic" are the search terms.

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    $\begingroup$ You can accept your own answer, if you like, and that will make the system a little happier. If desired, a mod (edit: or you) can make this answer CW, to reflect the fact it was more-or-less an answer in the comments, and this merely summarises them. $\endgroup$
    – David Roberts Mod
    Commented May 8, 2023 at 8:08
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the suggestion - I made the answer CW and accepted it. $\endgroup$
    – Sam Nead
    Commented May 8, 2023 at 12:48

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