I was looking for answers to the question I posted this weekend, but I just found it has been deleted, without an explanation of any kind. I understand it may have been ambiguous or opinion-based, but at least it would be good to get feedback. It's just so frustrating to have a question you took the time to write, not only to not receive answers, but also just deleted without any notice.

What can I do to figure out what happened? It was question about mortgages and finding good resources to be able to choose loans wisely.

The question is here:

Resource for understanding mortgages

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    Are you able to find and see your own question? You should be able to view your own question, even if it is deleted. If you can't find it, go to this link. It should show you any of your questions that have been recently deleted. If you want, you could post the link to the question here, and high rep users will be able to see the question and perhaps comment on it.
    – Ben Miller
    Oct 21, 2020 at 14:11
  • @BenMiller-RememberMonica I don't see it in my question list, but that link helped - thanks. Looks like the question is hidden; here is the link money.stackexchange.com/questions/132037/….
    – flow2k
    Oct 21, 2020 at 17:58

1 Answer 1


There are a couple of issues going on.

First, it is important for you to realize that questions asking for product or service recommendations are off-topic on this site, as well as most Stack Exchange sites. On this site, that is generally interpreted to include asking for recommendations on things like books, websites, and other educational materials. Your question specifically asks for a "resource (book or otherwise)," and so it was likely to get closed.

If you have a specific question about mortgages or even about something that you had read in the book you referenced, that would certainly be on-topic. But asking for a general "What books can you recommend to teach me X?" is off-topic.

Normally, questions that are off-topic are closed long before they are deleted. When this happens, a notice appears informing you the reason that your question was closed, and you would have the opportunity to respond via the comments or edit the question to try to bring it on-topic. Unfortunately, a moderator decided to delete your open question with no explanation. By doing this, he hid it from view, leaving you with no explanation, and has prevented you the opportunity to comment on or edit your question. Normally this is only done when rude or offensive language has been used, or in cases of spam. But those aren't the cases here, so I don't know why the moderator decided that this question was bad enough to warrant an instant delete, forgoing the normal closing process.

Sorry that this happened, but it is unlikely that the question could have been edited to bring it on-topic. If you have a specific question about the mortgage process, feel free to ask a new question.

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    Bear in mind that this question did get a spam answer, and was as you say unsalveageable. More generally, and not talking about this particular question, we do sometimes take firmer action based on private information, than might seem warranted from the visible context. Oct 22, 2020 at 15:16
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    @GS-ApologisetoMonica I don't think that the answer was spam. It was an answer to the off-topic question with a page about the mortgage process. But if you do consider it spam, then the answer should have been deleted, not the question. The question could have then been closed, giving the OP a notice that the question was off-topic. I understand that moderator actions can be taken due to private information, but when that happens the poster should receive a moderator message explaining what happened and why the action was taken.
    – Ben Miller
    Oct 22, 2020 at 15:35
  • It's often difficult to be certain about spam, but I suspect this was. And regarding the question, it's sometimes expedient to delete things to avoid further potential spam that we then also have to deal with again. Oct 22, 2020 at 15:46
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    @GS-ApologisetoMonica It is true that spam is often a judgement call. I know I have flagged posts as Spam before and then had second thoughts about it later. Unfortunately in this case, the OP had his post deleted even though he or she is not the one who posted the link. And because of the moderator action, OP was left confused. We need to remember that there are real people on the other side of moderator actions. Closing the question would have also avoided any further "spam" answers on the question.
    – Ben Miller
    Oct 22, 2020 at 15:52
  • On the other hand the poster is an experienced user of StackExchange and perhaps could have checked about asking for a product+service recommendation before posting. I'm not saying this was or wasn't handled optimally, but as a general principle, if we as mods always do the thing that is most friendly to a specific user then the end result may be worse for the site as a whole. Oct 22, 2020 at 16:03
  • @GS-ApologisetoMonica It is not obvious at all from our on-topic help page that questions asking "Where can I go to learn information about X?" are closed as off-topic due to the product/service recommendation close reason. That is an interpretation that is generally held among those that review questions, but it is not spelled out anywhere, and it is not a universal interpretation on Stack Exchange.
    – Ben Miller
    Oct 22, 2020 at 17:02
  • Fair enough - I've just edited that page a bit to spell it out for the future. Oct 22, 2020 at 17:05
  • @BenMiller-RememberMonica Thanks for the sentiment. And the detailed explanation.
    – flow2k
    Oct 23, 2020 at 7:45
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    @GS-ApologisetoMonica I appreciate the feedback as well. I still consider myself fairly green - never been a mod or a high rep user on any site. And I can only imagine how challenging being a mod can be - all the while volunteering your time. However, I must say that having no notification for question deletion is not a pleasant experience - I think I'd like to be notified, even if it's just a boilerplate message.
    – flow2k
    Oct 23, 2020 at 7:45
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    I'm not saying this to rant, but as a humble suggestion to making the site better. If the recent events in the past year have taught us anything, I like to think that it's communication and transparency can go a long way. Again, I appreciate the comments on my issue - now I know the guidelines a little better, and am looking forward to contributing more.
    – flow2k
    Oct 23, 2020 at 7:47

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