We frequently receive flags where users ask us to delete their own question. However, if the question has received upvoted answers, we will usually not delete the question. Doing so would be unfair to users who have spent time answering the question, and to the community members who found them useful.

Moreover, deleting the question is not a one-size-fits-all solution for every issue users might be having with their own question. There are other alternatives that can address the actual problem more effectively than deleting the question entirely.

For example:

  • If you accidentally (or intentionally) posted something inappropriate that could get you fired, we could edit out the sensitive bits (and redact the older revision for especially serious issues).
  • If your question was selected for the Hot Network Questions, thus giving it an uncomfortably unexpected exposure, and opening you up to drive-by trolling in answers and comments, we could protect or lock the post, or put it on hold till we deal with the issue.
  • If the subject of your question is somewhat ... controversial, and you are receiving lots of unwarranted abuse criticism in comments and/or answers, we could edit the post to tone down or remove the controversial aspects, and deal with the criticism as appropriate.
  • etc...

We obviously want to help you, but we cannot determine the right approach without knowing the actual issue that compelled you to raise the flag. As a result, we will usually decline the flag, and ask you to flag the question again with additional details. This turnaround time can be reduced by specifying the actual issue in the first flag itself.

In short, avoid raising flags with comments like these:

Please delete my question.

I am withdrawing my question, please remove.

Delete this lol.

Instead, use comments like these:

Help! I accidentally pasted company confidential code in the wrong window. Please delete.

My question is on HNQ. If my boss mom sees this, I am in big trouble. Please remove.

I am tired of the endless lecturing on why berating my boss in a department meeting is a horrible idea. Alright, I get it, now let me delete this question.

  • Also, think twice before posting, and make sure if you do it won't reveal or expose something you will then regret and ask to delete. Not doing this will only waste the Community's time and effort in providing quality answers to questions that will be deleted afterwards.
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Aug 30, 2018 at 17:39
  • I think the last alternative is to ask for post disassociation instead of post deletion.
    – Andrew T.
    Aug 31, 2018 at 10:23
  • @AndrewT. Yes. However, that can only be done by SE, and we have been explicitly asked by the Community Team to not do it too often, which is why I didn't mention it in the post.
    – Masked Man
    Aug 31, 2018 at 10:36

3 Answers 3


Ask to disassociate question from your account

I posted a question that had been put on hold that had potential harmful consequences to my career should I be doxxed. After a few weeks of it not getting any helpful response I did a destructive edit which led to a rollback war with a mod and the question being reopened. The suggestion of the mod was that I use the contact button in the bottom left of the screen and have the question disassociated from my account by the Stack Exchange staff. Within a day the author of the post was flipped to anonymous.


Another option is something called “Redaction”

If something has been posted as part of your question that you later feel shouldn't be there, then raise a flag asking for that information to be redacted:

I put my mom’s email address here and now she’s yelling at me, please redact it for me

You know that you can edit your own question (or someone else’s), but the edit history remains visible to anyone with enough rep to see the edit versions.

Redaction allows that information to be disappeared.

Redacting someone else’s contend needs careful consideration as the Stack does allow people to post their personal junk if they really want to. But if it’s your own junk, then edit your question to take the junk away from the visible post and then flag, detailing exactly what you want removing.


Unsure why mods ask this sort of question. I have only once in my time here flagged something for deletion and the mods ignored it, yet it was very important to me, potentially personally dangerous even.

  • I'm sorry to hear that. Did you make that clear in the flag? Sep 4, 2018 at 22:32
  • yes I did, unimportant now, but at the time it could have identified me just when my country was on a purge prosecuting nationals who said anything detrimental online.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Sep 4, 2018 at 22:46

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