Why can anyone view my deleted posts?

After I delete a post, anyone else can just click the orange edit pencil icon and see the post in its entirety. Surely this cannot be the intent! See my deleted reply post below for an example.

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I wondered what the orange pencil meant whenever I came across one but never thought to investigate. Veeeeery interestink

I saw it. So that means the board has been misprogrammed (again !!).

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Deleted posts disappear after a grace period. I believe the default setting is 24 hours. During that period you have the option to undo your decision.


Ray light has it…there is. 24 hour grace period before a post is permanently deleted. After that, no one will be able to see it.

Ok, but still, why should anyone else except the poster be able to view a post they deleted?

Why shouldn’t they? It’s a public message board. You can see everyone else’s edits - just click on that orange pencil on this post.


Sure, but perhaps I mistakenly posted something that I quickly realized was wholly inappropriate. I don’t want anyone else to see it, even for only 24 hours.

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Try clicking on the flag that’s down in the edit/delete line and sending a message to get it permanently deleted sooner.


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Yeah, that might work, but until some admin deletes it, the damage remains. It simply should not be possible for anyone but the original poster to view a deleted post. After all, I can edit the contents of a post to non-existence (apart from having to leave some minimal number of characters) to simulate deleting it, but the deleted content isn’t viewable by anyone, even the author, starting immediately! [ EDIT: testing if “edit history” is viewable… ] [ EDIT#2: and so it is! ] [ EDIT#3 after 5 minutes ] [ EDIT#4 after 1 minute ]

The edit history is visible to everyone. Edit and delete work in the same way in that respect. If you delete a post and change your mind before it expires, the “(post deleted by author)” will show up as a revision in the edit history. If you edit a post, the previous version will be added to the edit history.

There’s one exception. If you edit a post within a short period of time it won’t count as an edit. Pretty much just enough time to spot and correct a typo. (I believe the default setting is 5 minutes.)

If you want something to go away you need to delete the post. One way to go about mistakenly posting something inappropriate would be to edit your post to state that fact before deleting it. Your original message might still be visible in the edit history, but curious users would be able to see something more explanatory than “(post deleted by author)”.

As for why, a stated reason (here) is that “deleting posts is a great way to grief people”. The logic is that with instant delete you could post something really offensive and delete it before people can flag it. For example, imagine a heated discussion where offensive remarks disappear and reappear out of the blue. Or someone spamming @mentions and deleting their posts.

Another reason that I can think of is that it explains what happened to the post and avoids confusion. Without it, users would get a notification of a reply, open the topic and wonder where the post went or why they keep getting “(post deleted by author) notifications”.

So, it’s intentionally designed to work the way it does. Keeping posts for a while is a way of keeping users from saying hurtful things and then having no record of it.

It configurable, however. It’s possible to disable edit history being visible to other users, as well as changing the duration of various timeouts.


Thanks for that detailed explanation. I think you convinced me that this feature is an asset, rather than a foible.

As for the exception: I just edited a prior post in this thread twice in quick succession and then again after more than 5 minutes and it seems to work as you’ve described. I was unaware there even was an edit history, so thanks for bringing that to my attention.