I've asked some questions on here relating directly to "big reveals" I'm lining up for an interactive story I'm planning to run over the internet with some friends. The discovery is a big part of the fun, and I'm worried about some of the participants googling plot points and spoiling it for everyone else. However, I asked these questions on here not only for the help you all have given me (which has been wonderful, by the way), but also in case they could help someone else later on, so I don't want to have to delete them. What should I do?

Edit: To clarify, I was never seriously considering deleting the posts, and I'm happy to find out that that's not even really an option.


2 Answers 2


The relevant issue here basically boils down to whether others have found your content valuable. From a quick look at your profile, that appears to be the case.

Note that significantly changing the content of a post after the fact can be seen as defacing the content, which in severe cases can actually get your account suspended for vandalism, even if it is your own posts. This is especially true if people have spent time answering a question, or if there have been upvotes on the post, but other factors can also be at play there. So you certainly can flag a post and request deletion, but it is highly likely that such a flag would be denied. As Monica Cellio stated, moderators generally won't delete posts that the post owner can't delete normally (and even if deleted, they will still be visible to high-reputation users).

Keep in mind the terms of service, specifically section 3 "Subscriber Content", which starts out by stating (my emphasis):

You agree that all Subscriber Content that You contribute to the Network is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Exchange under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license. You grant Stack Exchange the perpetual and irrevocable right and license to use, copy, cache, publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content and to allow others to do so in any medium now known or hereinafter developed (“Content License”) in order to provide the Services, even if such Subscriber Content has been contributed and subsequently removed by You.

Additionally, the entire purpose of this site is to be findable. The entire purpose of the whole Stack Exchange network is to increase the corpus of knowledge on the Internet.

So, unfortunately, there isn't a lot you can do. If you aren't willing to perpetually license what you post to Stack Exchange, then you shouldn't be posting it on any site in the network. If you don't want the people you are involved with to find your posts here by searching, and possibly derive plot points and spoilers from them, then you will simply have to fudge what you do with them enough that it isn't readily recognizable as being based on the questions you have posted and answers you have received in return.


This essentially comes down to a discipline issue with the people you're running the story to. You need to convey to them that Googling plot points about it wastes your time and their time and is pointless.

On this end, we really don't want to see you deleting your questions: they're valid and good content that we don't want to lose. Moreover, StackExchange will not let you delete them: in the help center page on deleted questions, it says that

Users can delete their own questions if the question:

  • has zero answers
  • only one answer, but that answer has no upvotes

Given that I've seen no question here go without an answer for more than a day, I'm going to assume that all your questions have at least one upvoted answer, meaning you can't delete them. To get them deleted, you'd need to flag for mod attention and while I can't say for sure what that would bring, I'm fairly certain that they'd deny the request because it's good content. (Mods, could one of you chime in here?)

Especially given that you're going to be running this with friends, you should be able to make it clear beforehand that you don't want them to go off and Google stuff about your story.

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    $\begingroup$ Mods won't delete questions that the askers can't themselves delete unless somebody makes a really compelling case. $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2015 at 21:17

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