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A question about how unequal currents come to exist on power distribution lines was asked (link only usable by those with > 10k reputation). In its original form, the question was flawed, and it received negative votes and was closed. The question was edited, and, I believe improved. However, the original poster deleted his account, and the question was deleted. Before deletion, I had answered the question, and it my answer had received positive votes. However, it was deleted by a bot anyway.

I think the question is ultimately a useful question to ask.

This video discusses residential power distribution systems, and the magnetic fields that surround them. At the 36 second mark of the video, the presenter states

We have a distribution line issue where we have unequal current flow [in the] delivery and return wires that are buried in the ground. [W]hen we have that situation, we have a net current. We have incomplete cancellation of the magnetic fields around the wires we talked about earlier. And then we have a very large magnetic field that surrounds the wires...

How/why is this unequal current flow created? And, why does this increase electromagnetic radiation?

I also feel that my answer may be useful to others. Is it appropriate to re-ask the question? Or would that be a "duplicate"?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Math Keeps Me Busy - On this occasion, I have decided to undelete & reopen the question, as explained in my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Commented May 22 at 7:23

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You're right that the question got deleted automatically, as part of the cleanup which is done when a user deletes their account.

Personally I wasn't aware that in this specific situation, the deletion was done based only on the score of the question, since in another situation (I won't go into irrelevant details) any answers with positive scores, like yours, would prevent deletion of the question. I live and learn... Sorry that I gave you wrong advice about this in the (now deleted) comments.

I agree that your answer has value and you did also significantly improve the question. However FYI the OP deleted all their comments too, leading to a chaotic jumble of orphaned comments which no longer made sense, so I deleted those (before the user self-deleted their account).

My proposal would be to undelete the question (and therefore your answer too), but not to reopen the question since the OP isn't around any more and (at least nominally) it's "their" question, yet they can't make further edits.

Let's see what reaction there is to this proposal. Other users (or other mods) may suggest a different approach.


After a bit more thought, and since the question did get significantly improved in a way that the OP didn't object to (before they deleted their account) perhaps reopening the question is also OK?

However the OP can't change their acceptance of your answer (and mods can't change it), so no-one else who writes an answer would be able to write an accepted answer, no matter how good it is or how many upvotes they get. Reopening the question may give a false impression that things are normal. But it is an option. I invite feedback on that point.


Decision

On this occasion, given that there was no clear consensus in votes and I didn't want to set a precedent of how to do attribution to a deleted question (and then potentially find that a given approach was wrong), I chose the option of undeleting the original question - thereby keeping all attributions intact in the question history.

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Normally it would be strongly discouraged to copy posts, but in this particular case the OP is missing and the question wasn't very good to begin with, making references to external videos etc.

So maybe it would be sensible to post all of this anew as a self-answered Q&A, where you write a new, better question and then copy the deleted answer over to the new post?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, it's a good idea to discuss. The reason I didn't suggest this, is the problem of attribution. If we undelete the OP's original question, I see no problem with attribution. It is the OP's original post, albeit after a significant edit which the OP saw & didn't reject (before they self-deleted their account). || If someone reposts effectively the same question (even if amended) it would need to give attribution to the original post (which would be deleted so only >10k users could see it) and to the original author (whose account is deleted). Instinctively this feels ... problematic. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Commented May 15 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SamGibson If a new, better question is written I don't see the need for attribution. Assuming that user Math Keeps Me Busy writes it, who is the original author of the deleted answer and therefore need not make any attribution to themselves. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Commented May 15 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ "If a new, better question is written I don't see the need for attribution." That's where Stack Exchange has a different view. If the old & new questions are put side-by-side and the new one is clearly inspired by the old one, then attribution is needed (even if the new question is rewritten in different words). This Meta topic proves that the new question would be inspired by the old one! There's no way around the need for attribution to the original question - which most people can't see and to an author whose account is deleted :( All that is avoided if we reuse the original question. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Commented May 15 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SamGibson So just include a link to the dead post which nobody will care about anyway... \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Commented May 16 at 6:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let me try an alternative approach: Do you have a specific objection to undeleting the original question? If so, please can you explain why, to help with the decision-making. TY \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Commented May 16 at 7:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought it was a pretty bad question with references to external videos. It holds no value in itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Commented May 16 at 7:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SamGibson I'm curious about this principle -- how consistent or verifiable is it? For example, I suspect you could search and find sets of dozens of questions, equivalent to each other under this metric, in the database currently; whether because it's an "ever-green" topic, the older ones weren't searched for to close as duplicate; or indeed someone having a question on a topic without referencing the post that motivated their question. Are these "illegal"? How could we know unless they said so (this thread indeed being a case in point)? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 16 at 12:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimWilliams - I don't understand your point, which seems to be proposing a situation that doesn't apply here. You talk about not knowing about other posts - in that case, obviously you don't have to give attribution to material you didn't know about and didn't copy. This case is different. || In this case, as there was an approach which avoided possible accusations of improper attribution of the original material, and there were about equal numbers of votes for that and for the alternative, I chose that approach which avoids attribution concerns. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Commented May 22 at 7:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin - Re: "it was a pretty bad question with references to external videos." Originally, I agree. However it was edited by Math Keeps Me Busy to include a transcript of the relevant part of the video, making it unnecessary for people to view the video to understand the question being asked (however, for referencing purposes, the link to the video has to remain there). "It holds no value in itself." As always, you can use voting if you feel the question is, or is not, useful. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Commented May 22 at 8:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SamGibson No, it doesn't quite apply here, it's a hypothetical, but I think a very plausible one, so I'm curious about it. To clarify, suppose: 1. There exists a question on some topic, and it's a top result under topic keywords. 2. Someone asks a question on the same topic, which appears as a slight variant to (1), whether because that user saw (1) specifically and wanted clarification, or because they have a convergent need. 3. As the question is short and easily answered, no one thinks to search for duplicates and close; (1) therefore is missed by reviewers and answerers; \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 22 at 11:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ 4. Later on, one discovers questions (1) and (2), and compares them. What are the appropriate actions?: a. comment to link the other as reference but not make an accusation of missing attribution [I would probably do this and leave it at that]; b. vote to close the poorer one as duplicate; c. edit (2) to add attribution, citing question (1). || The on-topic relevance is: if Math had simply gone and done this, without reference to the original, and without telling anyone, is that still wrong? How could we possibly know otherwise, short of stumbling upon the original? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 22 at 11:13
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I favour creating a new question.
While 'Meta' content is usually strongly discouraged, a brief comment at the end along with attribution and a link to the deleted question should be adequate (IMHO).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the input. However on this occasion, given there was no consensus of views and I didn't want to set a precedent of encouraging attribution to a deleted question which may not be incompliance with CC BY-SA 4.0, I decided to undelete & reopen the original question. That way it keeps all the original attributions. If you can find a way to attribute to deleted SE material which is definitely in compliance with that license, we can learn that for next time. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Commented May 22 at 7:19

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