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The best answer on my recent question was deleted by its owner. It raises many of the issues that were the reason I asked the question and doesn't appear to have any major issues to be a cause for deletion. I tried asking about it in chat but didn't get a solution. The user isn't active there and I can't ping them there.

I tried flagging the post with a custom flag asking a mod what to do. They declined the flag and said:

You could @ them in a comment.

However since the answer is deleted, I can't @ them there. Is it really appropriate to find another one of their posts to tag them for something unrelated?

Basically, I don't know what the correct way to handle this situation is. I would like to be able to upvote or discuss the answer with the user but can do neither while it is deleted.

Carcer has pointed out an error with their answer in the comments of this post. This could possibly be the reason for deletion. However I think this meta question still stands. What is the correct approach in this situation?

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    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, that answer was probably deleted because the poster realised it was completely wrong - the spell points variant rule as presented in the DMG already includes a stipulation that, no matter how many spell points you have, you can only cast one 6th, one 7th, one 8th and one 9th level spell per long rest. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer May 15 at 7:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer Thankyou, that is useful information. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 15 at 10:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ no worries. I agree that the question in the general sense is still worth consideration! \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer May 15 at 11:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @linksassin, yes, that answer was based on a misconception that I only realized once I'd clicked post >.> \$\endgroup\$ – Speedkat May 15 at 16:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Speedkat that's ok. I had the same one and totally agreed with you until carcer pointed it out. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 15 at 23:19
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If assuming they did it for a good reason is off the table, you could @ them on your question, it’s still in context, and ask “@whoever I was liking that answer why delete?” It may not ping them but it's still likely they're viewing the question since they have participated in it.

No you shouldn’t go find another of their random posts but that’s not required. Just like anything (why'd you downvote, why'd you do anything else) we don't like to insist on explanation or facilitate demanding explanation lest it turn into cyberstalking.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @ them in comments on the question itself, you mean? \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer May 15 at 12:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, your question about the topic at hand. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica May 15 at 12:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think they'll get a ping from an @ on the question though. They haven't commented on the question or participated in revising it so they won't be on that eligible ping list. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 15 at 12:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener exactly what I thought. That's why this was a problem. I'm glad I wasn't just missing a simple solution. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 15 at 14:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Assuming they did it for a good reason isn't off the table. But I would like to be able to ask what that reason was if it is related to the content of the post. They don't have to answer but I have no appropriate way to contact them to even ask. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 15 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Status-bydesign. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica May 23 at 4:12
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At worst, you could repost their answer as your own (with credit)

This doesn't help if you have less than 10k rep, but in this case that's not a problem. If the user doesn't undelete their answer and doesn't respond to attempts to communicate (or they do and won't budge on their decision to delete the answer), you could copy-paste their answer as your own and give them credit.

If the user then does undelete their answer, you can then delete yours and upvote/accept/whatever theirs.

You could even make it a community wiki answer if you don't want to gain "unfair credit" (i.e. rep) for their answer...

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    \$\begingroup\$ This isn't a bad approach. Could even make it community wiki if I feel bad about the rep benefits. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 21 at 0:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @linksassin Good point, I'll add that to my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS May 21 at 7:48
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You can vote to undelete

Deleted answers can be undeleted with enough undelete votes. Of course, the author could just delete it again, but probably they'd engage in dialogue first if you left a comment. The 'undelete' button is where the delete button would be, but on deleted posts instead. It takes 3 votes to undelete something.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Vote to undelete is a 20k trusted user privledge. If I had that this would likely be the correct answer. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 16 at 6:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure I love the idea of voting to undelete an answer that someone deleted themselves. I think this is different than undeleting a question that was marked as a dupe because there is still value in different ways of asking and the querent may not be aware of that. But an answer is different and if someone wants to delete, it does seem like we should let them keep it deleted. Especially if it's because someone just wants to contact them. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 20 at 13:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch And in this case we would be undeleting (unwittingly or no) an incorrect answer which seems not the best of ideas. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 20 at 15:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch the querent wants to contact them to tell them to undelete their answer. They don't have a need to contact them if the answer is undeleted. Undeleting a wrong answer is a problem, but if that happens, the answerer will presumably let you know that and then redelete the answer. It's too bad we don't have a delete reason thingy like we do with edits. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil May 20 at 15:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ I get that, but if the querent wanted to delete, I don't know why we'd forcibly undelete it without their consent (especially if it's just so OP can ask them to undelete...which we've already done). But either way, They've undeleted and drastically changed it - so I'm not even sure OP got what they wanted. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 20 at 18:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Delete reasons might actually be the solution to the problem. Might make a feature request meta for that. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 21 at 0:57

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