Are there any current ways to see deleted posts? June 25, 2022 12:30 AM   Subscribe

Back in the days of yore, there were blogspot blogs that had feeds of deleted posts and questions, which I found really helpful for resolving "wait...I swear something was here" kinds of moments, as well as having a fuller understanding of the kinds of things that get deleted and why. (This was NOT a record of deleted comments, which is a very different spicy meatball.)

This last came up in 2020, but the solutions there either never worked right for me or no longer work. Are there any current versions or viable work-arounds?
posted by Charity Garfein to MetaFilter-Related at 12:30 AM (12 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I have no further information since that 2020 thread, but for anyone wondering about this, the tldr is that each post has an identifying number as well as title, and those numbers are consecutive, so when you see / detect a missing number, it's usually going to be because the post was deleted. Some people in the past have automated this process and posted the deleted posts on separate blogs. While some posts will lead to 404 pages, most will be visible with a note at the top saying why the post was deleted.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:36 AM on June 25




The MeFi RSS feed includes a lot of deleted posts - I don't know if it includes all of them though.
posted by Umami Dearest at 6:43 AM on June 25 [3 favorites]


There's an (unofficial) Metafilter-deletedposts add-on available for Firefox users that displays deleted posts in-position in red text, which seems to work better for me than the Greasemonkey script. I haven't looked for an equivalent extension for other browsers so it's probably worth checking.

I'll also mention that I've had to edit every Greasemonkey script to get them working for me, by copying the existing "include" lines near the top, pasting them underneath and changing http to https.

// @include http://www.metafilter.com/*
// @include http://*.metafilter.com/*
// @include https://www.metafilter.com/*
// @include https://*.metafilter.com/*

posted by Greg_Ace at 8:59 AM on June 25 [3 favorites]


There’s a kludgy way to see one of those “wait, something was there” posts. Manipulate urls. The FPPs are numbered sequentially. An FPP’s url is something like metafilter.com/1234567/title-of-post. Interestingly, the title is superfluous. You only need the url up to the post number.

So, you can check the urls to see if there’s one missing in the sequence...
metafilter.com/1234567/title-of-post
metafilter.com/1234566/title-of-post
metafilter.com/1234564/title-of-post
metafilter.com/1234563/title-of-post

Note, metafilter.com/1234565/title-of-post is missing. All you need do is plug-in metafilter.com/1234565 into the browser url field and you will see the deleted post in all its glory.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:17 AM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Do any of these work for Ask?
posted by Charity Garfein at 1:31 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


Yes, the same thing will work. Ask questions are also numbered sequentially.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:12 PM on June 25


Interestingly, the title is superfluous. You only need the url up to the post number.

That's because post URLs didn't use to include the title text at all. When the decision was made to change that to the current behaviour the canonical URLs were all changed to use the new format and a redirector was put in place to prevent links using the old format not working.
posted by Mitheral at 1:21 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


That's because post URLs didn't use to include the title text at all.

Originally, posts didn’t have titles.
posted by zamboni at 6:32 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


...and I still miss that old MeFi. If you do too, you can set the title font size to zero in your preferences, to eliminate them on the front pages.
posted by Rash at 2:22 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


There was a long period, like a decade i think, where post had titles they just didn't dispay on the front page of the site. At leastnot with the classic theme. Which meant about half were little jokes.
posted by Mitheral at 3:25 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


The third(!) Ivana Trump obit thread seems to have been deleted so hard it has ceased to exist.
posted by rikschell at 1:10 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


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