This interesting https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/222545/4686 answer was deleted by three community members. I looked in vain for a way to register somewhere my interest in this answer and my vote to undelete it. Is there really no way?

My opinion is that if this community site is to serve a long-term purpose, a chance should be given for perhaps wiser people of the future to ressurect past answers which were in their times not deemed compatible with the then prevailing mood.

update also https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/222610/4686 is a very interesting answer which has been deleted.

update and also https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/222577/4686. (sorry about this one, as pointed out by Mico this answer was owner-deleted.)

Why all this deletion frenzy? we need freedom of expression, these answers do address the original question.

Why isn't https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/222520/4686 also deleted? what does it put it apart from the previous three I cited?

  • Too short as an answer, but I think you need 20000 rep for undeletion votes. An answer itself can't be reopened, as far as I know, only question posts.
    – user31729
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 18:57
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    I agree that these are not that deletion requiring answers. But for your own case I guess you need 2K more rep points tex.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/trusted-user . I know it's weird, you need a mere 3k+ to close a question.
    – percusse
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 19:07
  • As much as I don't like this reason for not deleting the answer 222520, I assume that it's not deleted because unlike the deleted ones, this one allows some discussion over the opinion. Now matter how ridiculous it is on a Q&A site.
    – yo'
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 20:33
  • @ChristianHupfer have you noticed your reps exactly exceed mine by the interesting 99? (as of 21:39:42 CET on Monday January 12, 2015). I conclude you will definitely beat me to the 20K line, hence I await with impatience confirmation of your diagnostics.
    – user4686
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 20:40
  • @yo' the deleted answers are in a more affirmative tone, but it is hard for me to understand to what extent they do not allow discussion. Does one have to express oneself in a subdued manner to be categorized as allowing discussion?
    – user4686
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 20:43
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    @jfbu: No, I did not note this rep difference, but I would get easily to the 20k 'limit' if I post a question like: Why is LaTeX so complicated ;-)
    – user31729
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 21:08
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    @ChristianHupfer I will always upvote your etoc based answers ;-) even if it helps you reach 20K years before me (as I am an on-off practitioner of this site anyhow).
    – user4686
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 21:13
  • @jfbu: Thanks for 20 rep then ;-) I think, I have no more than two answers so far... more to come, promised ;-)
    – user31729
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 21:14
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    @ChristianHupfer You could ask why etoc is so complicated? And then jfbu could post an answer explaining why it is no more complicated than it has to be. And then you could go over the 20K line together ;).
    – cfr
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 4:01
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    @jfbu It seems to me that the deleted answers were (1) framed in terms more likely to provoke the outbreak of open warfare, (2) less sympathetic to TeX, and (3) written by authors with less reputation. Obviously, this does not hold as a comparison with all of the answers in that thread since some of them provide interesting and/or useful insights (though I am not sure how easily those insights will be found by future users). But there are weaker answers which seem to differ primarily in those ways. But I think this is an inevitable result of the question, to be honest...
    – cfr
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 4:09
  • @cfr: You should post your last comment as an answer.
    – user31729
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 7:15
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    @jfbu - The third "answer" you reference, viz., tex.stackexchange.com/a/222577, was deleted by the writer, not by votes of community members.
    – Mico
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 14:37
  • @cfr - On your third conjecture, that the deleted answers tend to come from authors with lower reputation. This may be a chicken-or-egg issue: Are answers by persons with higher reputation less likely to be deleted merely because the writers have a high(er) reputation, or does the fact that the writers have a high(er) reputation mostly reflect the fact that they have tended to post good answers and/or questions in the past?
    – Mico
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 15:13
  • @Mico Indeed. Hence the caveats/qualifications noting the limited applicability of my observations.
    – cfr
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 18:49

3 Answers 3


An existing feature of the StackExchange model allows for the resurrection of deleted posts. Yes, both questions and answers. Deleted questions can be voted on for undeletion by 10K+ reputation users who have access to moderator tools, while the same holds for answers in the case of a trusted user (20K+ reputation).

The only exclusion here would be when the post was removed by a moderator; only moderators would be able to undo their actions in this regard.

When attempting to vote-to-undelete, consider whether the post was deleted by the community or by the original poster. Similar to original poster having control over rolling back edits made to their posts, undeleting something that was purposefully deleted (by the original poster) may go against the original intent.

Here are some steps to take in order to address your concerns (in order of preference):

  1. It's always good to consult the community, so perhaps visit the chat room and discuss the concern with some experienced users and/or moderators. If persuaded they could be used to cast votes that may not be accessible to you.

  2. Post a question on meta to solicit community feedback on the motivation behind the action and/or future action (like undeletion); almost like taking a community poll or survey - something that can be used in support to justify an undeletion for a moderator (say).

  3. Identify the users involved in the process and inquire about their choices and resolve the issue first-hand. Perhaps revisiting (1) and/or (2) above.

FAQ reference: How does deleting work? What can cause a post to be deleted, and what does that actually mean? What are the criteria for deletion?

The only way to "register your interest" to undelete an answer while your reputation is between 10K (able to see deleted posts) and 20K (able to undelete answers) is to flag it for moderator attention:

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  • Thanks for clearifying this ... I've learned that even answers can be 'undeleted'. As you suggest, I would not vote to undelete an answer without asking the poster of that answer.
    – user31729
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 23:16
  • @ChristianHupfer asking the poster may not be so easy you can not add comments to a deleted post so there is no obvious place to @ ping them unless the poster is a chat room regular and you can ping them there Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 23:22
  • @DavidCarlisle: I know this 'missing' feature of SE :-( I would try on chat as you proposed or leaving an off-topic comment on another question/answer by the user. (I've done this already, however, for other reasons than undeletion)
    – user31729
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 23:23
  • Clear and extensive, thanks.
    – user4686
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 8:09

@Werner has already addressed the main subject of your query -- what the procedure may be for undeleting an "answer" -- so this posting will explain my reasons for having voted to delete the posting in the first place.

Basically, if we needed an "Exhibit A" for an opinion-based answer that's not in the least tinged by an effort to really address the subject at hand, the posting https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/222545/4686 certainly qualifies. Do we need such postings? I would argue that we don't.

In the first paragraph, an unsubstantiated opinion is offered as to what prompted Leslie Lamport to develop LaTeX (viz, to "provide a lift for newbies"). In the second paragraph, the writer tells us that he/she "simply hate[s] LaTeX". Maybe unsurprisingly, he/she offers no reason as to why anyone else ought to care about that person's opinion. In the third paragraph, we are exhorted, somewhat patronizingly, to read, re-read, and re-re-read the TeXbook -- the reason for doing so, presumably, being that by mastering Plain-TeX (more) fully, one needn't rely on the inferior and troublesome LaTeX. It doesn't appear to occur to the writer that there may be persons out there who have read the TeXbook several times and still choose LaTeX rather than Plain-TeX for their papers and other documents. Are such people just hopeless renegades?

I fail to see how such an "answer" either contributes meaningfully to addressing the concerns voiced by in the original query or tells us anything that's not just pure personal opinion that's of no apparent relevance to others. And that's why I voted to delete the answer.

  • I appreciate your motivations, thanks for spending the time recording them. The simply hate LaTeX might be a testimony of the poster being a teenager? who would have started using TeX at age 3 or 4? my personal opinion is that not up-voting, or, in case of strong disagreement, down-voting could have been enough. I concur that some opinionated answers might be simply outrageous, or completely off-topic. But the wording of the OQ itself was outrageoustangled webs of junk, ridiculous \makeatletter, much more fiddly than they should be, once the OQ was left opened, (no room)
    – user4686
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 18:11
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    .. well, I agree with most of what you say, but I hesitate to upvote, because I don't agree with all. damn'it... will upvote.
    – user4686
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 18:13
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    @jfbu - Thanks. It may also be worth noting, for the record, that the writer posted a comment in which he belittled the two initial critical comments as coming from "boys". Ad hominem attacks should definitely not be given much space on this site, right?
    – Mico
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 20:11
  • I looked at his network profile, this was his one and only incursion on tex.stackexchange. Maybe (s)he brought with him/her the wilderness of some other communities? I agree it is important to maintain a quiet atmosphere here. I don't read in the comment that much of an ad hominen attack, perhaps rather some lack of imagination. A bit of defiance for sure. But there is always the possibility to flag the comment for moderator attention!
    – user4686
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 20:22
  • @jfbu - It's one thing to call strangers "guys"; I certainly wouldn't have taken notice. Calling them "boys" -- especially if you don't know them personally -- is quite a different thing. It certainly shows a spirit of condescension and belittling.
    – Mico
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 20:27
  • @Mico Needed to say, I take it for a compliment if a stranger thinks I'm still a boy -- do I really look so good? :D
    – yo'
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 17:49
  • @yo' - One of the issues with calling someone "boy" is that it in no way need be an indication of age. In the US, until a generation or two ago many (though fortunately not all!) Southern whites routinely used to address all black men as "boy" -- quite clearly in a derogative and belittling way. To this day, calling any adult a "boy" in the US (unless you know them personally and it's perfectly clear from the circumstance that no insult is meant) at best betrays reckless disregard for manners -- and more likely constitutes a deliberate insult.
    – Mico
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 18:04
  • @Mico I know that it's an insult. I just wanted to make clear that I'm not feeling offended, nor am I in depression or suicidal because of that.
    – yo'
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 18:07

Since I was one of the delete-voters on the two answers, I can explain my reasoning why it got deleted, and maybe a bit of an insight why I didn't vote to delete Keks Dose's answer.

The question itself is a bit misfortunate and I've already stated my opinion on this. However, I don't think that question asking for opinion-based answers should receive these. As couple people proved in their answers, there is a way how to answer reasonably, giving good answers to the specific issues the OP has and being "on the spot". These answers are much better than the question itself.

However, the other answers are simply chatty. They do not attempt to address the issues specified in the question (as e.g. David, percusse or Henri Menke do), nor to give any general background (as Brent does). They are at best comments saying "me too" or "I agree, TeX is bad".

The reason why I personally didn't vote to delete the answers by Keks Dose and by Arne was, that I wasn't really sure what's gonna happen, I saw space for improvement there, so I didn't want to delete them (which would disallow the authors to improve them). Then, the close-and-reopen ping-pong started and I concluded that I'm not gonna bother myself anymore with it.

(I hope my post here makes at least some sense. I'm free to discuss it further in the chat.)

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