In the last year a couple of users who have provided good or critical or ambivalent answers have been deleted or have deleted their accounts by themselves.

IMO some of these answers were helpful or good base for discussions or maybe even the best answers on the Questions.

Due to my access to moderation tools I'm able to read these answers and sometimes ask myself what if i copied the answer and posted it especially if it was one of those good answers, as even if i formulated an own answer it wouldn't be much better maybe due to my language skills or just because the answer was good enough.

So my question is how to deal with this:

Would it be considered as a copy-paste Issue?

  • Would it be considered as a copy paste?
  • If so can we any how vote to undelete an answer?
    • How would that work?
    • and what would it need?

Maybe you could add other interesting input to this discussion?

  • Than a new Question is born: Assuming I would copy-paste such an answer and check the community wiki checkbox would that be a problem?
    – Medi1Saif Mod
    Aug 12, 2016 at 11:48
  • I added my comments as an answer.
    – nim
    Aug 12, 2016 at 13:00
  • 2
    Re «some of these answers were [a] good base for discussions», that would bee one good reason *not to resurrect them. Being a good base for discussions is not a good basis for posting in the first place.
    – Caleb
    Aug 17, 2016 at 12:09
  • @Caleb as we claim that "Islam Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for experts in Islam, students of knowledge, and those interested in Islam on an academic level -> tour" IMO discussions shouldn't be avoided totally, as only with them one can move on and maybe understand or develop a new understanding. But of course you have a point.
    – Medi1Saif Mod
    Aug 18, 2016 at 5:04

2 Answers 2


The biggest concern with copy-paste answers — aside from potential copyright infringement which wouldn't really be an issue here since all SE posts are CC BY-SA 3.0 — is that they are often if not always posted by users who have pretty much zero critical understanding of what they posted and, as such, zero practical ability to respond to criticism, provide clarification, or otherwise improve the post when called to do so.

For the most part, answers are expected to be accurate, complete and self-contained; when users are leaving constructive criticism or seeking clarification in comments, and these are not being addressed, then the answer is likely not meeting these criteria.

And of course, if the user is deleted then there's nobody around to address these concerns; even if users are willing and/or able to correct the answer based on their own knowledge (rather than the author's), making substantial changes to another user's post is just bad form.

Most of this wouldn't be an issue if the answer was community wiki, since CW posts are intended to be worked on by the community as a whole rather than exclusive to the original poster. However, in my book changing an existing answer to CW when the original author didn't intend to do so counts as exactly the same sort of "substantial change" that should be avoided.

And as for the possibility of taking the existing (deleted) answer and posting it as a new CW post, that may have some merit. However, if the poster (or the community as a whole) has enough knowledge of the subject to actually respond to criticism, provide clarification, or otherwise improve the post when called to do so, why can't they just write a new post in their own words and post that as CW instead?

As for how to undelete an answer, any user with sufficient reputation (4000 on beta sites) can cast an undelete vote exactly the same as a delete vote. This, however, cannot be done if the post was deleted by a moderator, including the Community ♦ "user" which is responsible for deleting posts from deleted users.

The only way to undelete a post deleted by a moderator is by convincing a moderator to undelete the post.

So now the big question is "How can I convince a moderator that the answer has value and should be undeleted"? To which I will rebut with another question: Why was it deleted in the first place?

Even when an account is deleted, the Community user would only delete their answers if they already had a negative score: This suggests that at least not everybody thought it had value as an answer.

Moderators, for the most part, can't be assumed to have domain expertise: We are poorly equipped to judge whether an answer is correct or incorrect. In many cases, the only real criteria we can use to judge a good answer from a not-so-good answer is the same as for every other user on the site: Voting.

As such, it's a rather uphill battle to convince us that a post which was negatively scored, written by a user who no longer cares about the site (or, by extension, the answer itself), is worth undeleting at all. Chances are, it's not.

  • My conclusion from this is that what nim suggests would theoretically be possible, but you won't recommend it?
    – Medi1Saif Mod
    Sep 5, 2016 at 5:12
  • 1
    @Medi1Saif I would take it as a case-by-case thing, depending on the answer. I just have trouble conceiving of any situations where it would actually be more useful than just posting a new answer, but that's not to say that such situations can't or won't exist.
    – goldPseudo Mod
    Sep 5, 2016 at 5:38

If there is no way to undelete them, maybe you can put them as community wiki answers.

You can learn about Community Wiki posts from here: What are “Community Wiki” posts?

To able to make a post as a community wiki post; "The answer's author checks the community wiki checkbox when composing or editing the answer."

However, this is my humble opinion; moderators may not agree with me.

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