The answer: https://security.stackexchange.com/a/23431/10863

The timeline as I understand it:

  1. The question is about Nmap and one of the original authors of Nmap answers.
  2. They copy the answer to their wiki two weeks later.
  3. Some time later, a moderator later sees that the answer is identical to the website and deletes for blatant plagiarism.
  4. The author edits, explaining that it's perfectly within his rights to post it in both places, both under the CC-BY-SA license and because he holds the copyright; moreover, the Sec.SE answer was first. It's clearly not plagiarism.
  5. The author adds a link from their wiki to Sec.SE, saying "This page originally appeared as an answer on [Sec.SE]", linking the answer.
  6. Radio silence. I guess the moderator did not see it.
  7. I found the answer on their wiki, see what happened, and try to undelete. I get the message "A moderator has deleted this post and cannot be undeleted."

Apparently moderators are considered infallible by SE, but that issue has an (old) open feature request on meta.SE so I won't open another topic for that. I do think the site's behaviour is rather weird here, we might want to be hesitant to use mod powers for deletion.

I see no reason for this answer to be deleted. I can see where the confusion came from and it's definitely not malicious on the moderator's part, I'm not complaining about the moderation, but the author clarified the situation and it looks to me like it should have been undeleted pronto.

I'm not sure what to tag it with, since it's not a discussion, I do not need support using the site (it has been made impossible for me to use the site as designed: despite having undelete voting powers, I cannot vote to undelete), and while the behaviour might be considered a bug or feature request, that is not the goal of this question. This question aims to seek moderator support and warn/inform others about the issue with the website. I'll tag with discussion because maybe someone else has thoughts on the matter.

Edit: I just saw that the top voted answer is another answer by OP. The link from their wiki seems to be outdated (it links the deleted answer).

2 Answers 2


Thank you Luc - you did exactly the right thing. I am unsure as to why we never saw the update/edit, so your meta post is the only thing that would indicate the mistaken deletion.

I have undeleted the post. I have currently left in the OP's edit mark to ensure others don't vote to delete as plagiarism again.

  • 2
    Umm.. I feel really stupid now but looking at the page again I just noticed the top voted answer is actually a copy of this one. It seems that, after editing the original, they posted another answer. You might want to delete the one I linked again, as the top voted answer has way more votes :x I'm sorry, I really should have looked at the whole thread before posting this.
    – Luc
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 11:13
  • 4
    hahahaha - yup. I hadn't spotted it all the way up at the top either. Guessing that is why we left that one deleted all those years ago.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 13:46

The reason is very simple and not about "infallibility". Mods do not get a notification when a deleted answer gets edited. The user did not use the comment section to ping the mod, so there was no way for the mod to get a notification.

The correct and expected process is to simply do what you did and to post here on meta. This is the place for this discussion. Meta is not a place for "last-ditch efforts to right a wrong when all else fails". Just post the issue and we can address it.

Now that I have had a chance to review, the answer can now be re-opened. The facts are indeed clear in hindsight.

  • "The reason is [not] "infallibility". Mods do not get a notification when a deleted answer gets edited." Sure, but I think users with the undelete privilege (I think that's somewhere above being able to see deleted answers, but didn't double check) should be able to vote to undelete even if it was a moderator who deleted it. That's what I meant by the site considering moderators incapable of making errors: there is no recourse built into the system, you have to get the attention of a moderator again.
    – Luc
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 11:15
  • 1
    @forest we all missed it
    – schroeder Mod
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 13:19

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