Versions of this question have been asked before (check questions tagged ), but the problem persists.

A new user posts a question, obtains an answer, then promptly deletes the question, before the answer gets upvoted (which would have prevented deletion of the question). Presumably, the question is a homework exercise, and the user deletes the question to hide their tracks. This is not only annoying, but also insincere, a form of cheating.

A simple way to solve this problem would be to prevent users with low reputation from deleting an answered question, even if the answer has no upvotes. For all users, I would suggest alerting an answerer if their answer got deleted in this way, and allowing them to undo the deletion (perhaps with the intervention of a moderator).

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    $\begingroup$ As I'm sure I commented before, a reasonable way of self-defense on your part is to stop answering obvious homework questions the day they are posted. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented May 7, 2020 at 20:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Most of the traffic here is homework questions. Should we shut down the site? $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2020 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ I for one have been saying for most of a decade now that catering to homework dumps will create a bad focus for the site. #shrugs# Like attracts like. But yea, I have no interest in a homework mill. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented May 7, 2020 at 21:00

2 Answers 2


I consider deleting one's question after receiving an answer to be an abuse of the system. If you're aware that this has happened and the question is appropriate here, you can raise a custom flag for moderators; moderators are able to undelete the question. The problem, of course, is that it can be hard to learn that the question was deleted after you answered it, as you don't receive any notification of this fact. I don't know of any technical solution to this problem given how the Stack Exchange site currently works.

Everyone can form their own decisions about whether they want to answer questions that look like they might fall into this pattern.


A similar feature has been requested on the main Meta: My work has been deleted - how can we discourage that? and People deleting their own questions once they have an answer, but the system hasn't been adjusted since January 2011.

I guess that if the Q&A are really worth keeping, you can always raise a ♦ moderator flag to have the question undeleted, though I'll retract this if they indicate that this is not a proper use of moderator flags on CS.SE (it would be on the Stack Exchange sites I'm moderating).

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    $\begingroup$ Deletion of perfectly okay posts counts as self-vandalism at least (we can't control nor confirm if any cheating is done), and thus flagging is definitely appropriate. The problem is that it can be hard to detect a post deletion, and then to access the post, at least a low-rep user. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented May 7, 2020 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ True. There's a recently deleted list here which might help (no idea how long it is on this site, since I don't have 10k here ...) but only if you monitor it regularly. $\endgroup$
    – Glorfindel
    Commented May 7, 2020 at 21:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Glorfindel It's not too big, ~45 for the last 7 days (14 days shows more a few more questions, so I assume those displayed at 7 days are all.) Additionally, most of them are closed, and I think we can ignore those here. Self-deletion of closed questions with an answer we want to keep seems rare to me, at least. $\endgroup$
    – Discrete lizard Mod
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Discretelizard I think that list is limited to 50 hits (and indeed the period you select at the top of the page). I agree that closed posts generally aren't worth keeping - there's even an automatic process to deleted negatively scoring closed questions after 9 days. $\endgroup$
    – Glorfindel
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 12:45

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