My Question

If you delete an answer on a question that is opened and then that question is closed, can you undelete that answer after the question is closed?

The Story

I noticed in some comments on a question on SU where a person was writing up an answer for someone, and then a mod came through and closed the question before he was able to submit the detail he was writing up in the answer and the person got frustrated with this.

The moderator suggested the person simply try not to write up answers on questions that are too broad and the questioner puts in absolutely no effort which he and others agree.

The Workaround

It seems that a workaround to this issue would be to submit a partial answer before it is closed and then add onto it even though the suggestion is not to write answers on such posts in the first place.

Then I suppose the concern could be if you write up a partial answer only and people see it and it doesn't seem quite complete or helpful that it could take down votes.

Since you can delete an answer and then edit that deleted answer and save those changes and then undelete that edited answer, I wasn't sure if this was only possible based on the timing. By timing I mean specifically if you delete the answer before a question is closed and then it gets closed while your answer is deleted, can you then undelete that answer.

I searched Meta SU and couldn't find much but my SU Meta search skills aren't the best either.

  • 2
    That's an interresting thought. Preparing a good answer takes time, if you are getting disturbed even longer. If you calculate it takes time for 5 users to agree to close a question you are frustraed if it is closed immediately by Administrator intervention. It's not to oppose the rule to not feed users showing no effort, but if you took time to prepare a general answer follow up users would benefit from. I guess I'll have to ask the question myself then and give the answer too. – LotPings Jun 29 at 22:38
  • “It seems that a workaround to this issue would be to submit a partial answer before it is closed and then add onto it even though the suggestion is not to write answers on such posts in the first place.” - Personally, I wouldn’t find an answer like this helpful, and would likely downvote it. If you are answering questions that are getting closed your likely answering the wrong questions. Better idea would be to improve the quality of the question so it doesn’t get closed. – Ramhound Jun 29 at 23:25
up vote 10 down vote accepted

I'm fairly confident that the ability to delete and undelete answers is independent of the question's closure status, so the strategy you describe could work. But doing this knowingly (i.e. with intent to answer a close-worthy question) is likely to be considered abuse of the system and would be dealt with as such by moderators. There is a self-vandalism deletion spree auto-flag that might (I'm not sure) get triggered if someone does this a lot. And since people will be less likely to upvote an answer to a poor question, the entire question could easily get 9-day'd, making the entire scheme for naught.

Weirdly, there is a half-implemented grace period for publishing an answer that was started before the question got closed, so somewhere along the line someone thought it would be good to let people get something out of the effort they put into answering a just-closed question. If you find yourself taking advantage of that feature a lot, though, you need to reevaluate which questions you're answering.

There's another option. If someone is going to put in the effort to create a good answer, why associate it with a bad question? Create a new, high quality question that doesn't suffer from the problems of the original, and self-answer it. Or if the original question is salvageable, improve it.

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