Several posts for which the Great Answer badge was awarded were erased (for lack of a better term).

(post deleted or otherwise unavailable)

I didn't think it was possible to completely remove posts from the site. In fact, most other posts in that list are deleted and still visible to 10k+ users.

This question is about revision deletion, but doesn't mention whether whole posts can be erased.

This topic is the only mention of that message on MSO, and it was just a bug there.

What's going on here? Is it a bug? Were those posts deleted deliberately? Is it possible (e.g. for the developers) to completely erase posts, and when is this done?

  • 1
    there are cases when posts are hard deleted - for instance - if person divulges too much personally identifiable material, production passwords etc
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 13:02
  • 1
    @Sathya That's what's mentioned in the linked topic. Still, it could be edited and the old revision only deleted. And I don't think a production password get 100+ upvotes...
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 13:47
  • 3
    You can still access them through their profile, which makes it even more awkward.
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 13:55

2 Answers 2


The badge reasons weren't always there. When they were added we had to backfill the reasons by looking at what they should have been awarded for. Unfortunately, due to reversed votes, deleted users, etc. many posts that got the badge may no longer be eligible, and while we don't remove the badge in these cases...telling which posts earned you the badge was either a) exceedingly difficult or more likely b) simply not possible (due to hard deleted votes when a user is removed).

So the message your seeing is the result of the backfill process being unable to determine which post that badge was awarded for, or the post was soft-deleted (by the community/a moderator) and it's not being displayed.

  • Half of the posts for which this badge was awarded are deleted now (the inspiration for this feature request), yet only three don't have a reference. Are you really saying that when badges were retroactively awarded the system didn't know which post it is at that time? Doesn't make sense to me. // It's also not clear why the fourth 100+ rep post in that topic wasn't awarded a badge. Unfortunately, I can't investigate myself.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Feb 12, 2012 at 11:04
  • 2
    There's a difference between hard delete (gone from the database) and "deleted" as you normally reference it (setting the DeletionDate field). "Are you really saying that when badges were retroactively awarded the system didn't know which post it is at that time?"...no, I said when the reasons were retroactively determined we didn't have enough information to know which posts they were all for. When those badges were awarded, the reasons didn't exist...and the links to the post on that screen didn't exist either. Commented Feb 12, 2012 at 11:33

Developers do have the ability to hard-delete posts, but it's usually only done when those posts include personal or sensitive information.

These posts aren't hard-deleted since they're still available from the profiles of users who posted them. The only thing that's different for those answers seems to be that the question they belong to is tagged with . It sounds like a bug to me.

  • They appear with this message in the list. So it's not difficult to see them. Three of them are in this list of Great Answers. On the individual user's badge page, they're also missing.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Feb 12, 2012 at 7:03
  • @DanielBeck Ack. Completely missed that earlier. I updated my answer.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Feb 12, 2012 at 7:11
  • I don't see a single great answer in the untagged list. There are 4 topics, with none of them having a Great Answer: Answer score of 100 or more. This badge can be awarded multiple times. I also don't see the posts Ivo refers to in his comment. The users have no great answer. Could you log out to switch into peasant view and try again?
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Feb 12, 2012 at 7:17
  • @DanielBeck Sorry, posts are visible to moderators from user profiles. Since the question itself is deleted, it won't appear in the [untagged] tag page either. If you had a direct link like this one, you would be able to access one of the "erased" answers. They aren't gone; the badge page just seems to have an issue. You have over 10k rep so you should be able to follow the aforementioned link and see what I mean for yourself.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Feb 12, 2012 at 7:21
  • Now that makes sense. Thanks for the link. Two others are also in there. It might be related to community wiki status, but now I'm guessing. The odd thing here is, there is one 100+ score answer for which there was no badge assigned. Do you want a proper bug description, or do I just remove the discussion from this one?
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Feb 12, 2012 at 7:27

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