In last few days I have noticed that questions API returns questions that where deleted hours before the API call.

This is a short example, if more logs are need to pin point the problem, please notify me and I can do further debugging of singular API call

I executed these API calls: (Timestamp is CET)

INFO  2016-06-23 22:12:31,020  Calling url: http://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions?page=1&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&tagged=java&site=stackoverflow&filter=!-MObZ6A82KZGZ3WvblLvUKz1bWU5_K147&key=myApiKey
INFO  2016-06-23 22:12:31,528  Calling url: http://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions?page=2&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&tagged=java&site=stackoverflow&filter=!-MObZ6A82KZGZ3WvblLvUKz1bWU5_K147&key=myApiKey
INFO  2016-06-23 22:12:32,028  Calling url: http://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions?page=3&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&tagged=java&site=stackoverflow&filter=!-MObZ6A82KZGZ3WvblLvUKz1bWU5_K147&key=myApiKey
INFO  2016-06-23 22:12:32,529  Calling url: http://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions?page=4&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&tagged=java&site=stackoverflow&filter=!-MObZ6A82KZGZ3WvblLvUKz1bWU5_K147&key=myApiKey
INFO  2016-06-23 22:12:33,030  Calling url: http://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions?page=5&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&tagged=java&site=stackoverflow&filter=!-MObZ6A82KZGZ3WvblLvUKz1bWU5_K147&key=myApiKey
INFO  2016-06-23 22:12:33,530  Calling url: http://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions?page=6&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&tagged=java&site=stackoverflow&filter=!-MObZ6A82KZGZ3WvblLvUKz1bWU5_K147&key=myApiKey
INFO  2016-06-23 22:12:34,041  Calling url: http://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions?page=7&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&tagged=java&site=stackoverflow&filter=!-MObZ6A82KZGZ3WvblLvUKz1bWU5_K147&key=myApiKey
INFO  2016-06-23 22:12:34,541  Calling url: http://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions?page=8&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&tagged=java&site=stackoverflow&filter=!-MObZ6A82KZGZ3WvblLvUKz1bWU5_K147&key=myApiKey
INFO  2016-06-23 22:12:35,041  Calling url: http://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions?page=9&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&tagged=java&site=stackoverflow&filter=!-MObZ6A82KZGZ3WvblLvUKz1bWU5_K147&key=myApiKey
INFO  2016-06-23 22:12:35,542  Calling url: http://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions?page=10&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&tagged=java&site=stackoverflow&filter=!-MObZ6A82KZGZ3WvblLvUKz1bWU5_K147&key=myApiKey
INFO  2016-06-23 22:12:36,043  Calling url: http://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions/25529155;29141729;9713058;2893819;574594;5775866;16236641;9980283;2798376;37984723;3762763;10267367;11679373;24650838;37333723;218384?page=1&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&site=stackoverflow&filter=!-MObZ6A82KZGZ3WvblLvUKz1bWU5_K147&key=myApiKey
INFO  2016-06-23 22:12:36,700  Calling url: http://api.stackexchange.com/2.2/questions/37939005;37944196;37956388;37956760;37968709;37837266;37839417;37841709;37930225;37646430;37669678;37694508;37706072;37727485;37735057;37735770;37738472;37743519;37743936;37748375;37749423;37758097;37766674;37767459;37775722;37781973;37782369;37791495;37792853;37798061;37800840;37803288;37809383;37811323;37821848;37976189;37827452;37827997;37828819;37830193;37830288;37832873;37834068;37847045;37847443;37847446;37851954;37854788;37858598;37861209;37862867;37865853;37868442;37869913;37872327;37872608;37873267;37873748;37874105;37874997;37875682;37875964;37876337;37876455;37881016;37885680;37886572;37888385;37890111;37891058;37891203;37891425;37896253;37897096;37899016;37899388;37899412;37899529;37899709;37900472;37902568;37906035;37906463;37910254;37913714;37914257;37914876;37915248;37915554;37916431;37917927;37922012;37922190;37923928;37924244;37924815;37925200;37926213;37927277?page=1&pagesize=100&order=desc&sort=creation&tagged=java&site=stackoverflow&filter=!-MObZ6A82KZGZ3WvblLvUKz1bWU5_K147&key=myApiKey

In the result I found this question in my JSON:

{"nr":7,"owner_id":3729911,"reputation":83,"creation_date":1466672851,"title":"N‌​eed a api or widget like Outlook calendar to create Appoitments","answer_count":0,"question_id":37987057,"is_‌​roomba":true,"tags":["java","c#","quartz-scheduler"],"score":-2,"accepted_answer_‌​id":0,"comments_count":0,"close_vote_count":4,"delete_vote_count":0,"view_count":‌​10}

As you see, (if >10K) the question was deleted 8 hours before my API calls.

The problem can be fairly easy reproduced (1 out of 5 times) by calling API for last 1000 questions in different high traffic tags like python, java, PHP, ios

  • 5
    Confirmed. But I would call this a bonus feature rather than a bug. ;) Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 21:43
  • @BrockAdams sure but then I will do a feature-request for a new attribute "is_delete:true" : ) Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 22:04
  • 2
    Update, sometime in the last few days the API stopped returning this particular question. So this bug may only apply to questions deleted in the last "x" (less than 7) days prior to the API call. Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 2:06

1 Answer 1


Confirmed; see bottom section, below.

However, please refer to Provide a way to retrieve questions and answers that have been deleted -- which is "status-planned".
This is a feature, not a bug. And this kind of feature has been requested many times. So, shush please, don't ruin it for us. ;)

Confirmation info:

You can see this behavior (for now) with this API search: /2.2/questions?fromdate=1466553600&...

Which still includes the deleted question that the OP references: Update, sometime in the last few days, this question stopped appearing in the results:

{ "tags": [
  "owner": { "display_name": "Kumar" },
  "question_id": 37987057,
  "title": "Need a api or widget like Outlook calendar to create Appoitments"

According to:

This behavior should not be allowed as the API doesn't know that I'm 10K (I'm not authenticated), and I certainly don't own the question.

Also, as a 10K user, I see:

Note: only content you own is returned when searching for deleted content

When using normal site search for deleted content.

  • 3
    hmm it's messing up some stuff for me... but ok I will not tell anyone. Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 22:13
  • There is no attribute on question that makes me understand that it is deleted, correct?, I have check filter and can't find anything useful. Trying to solve my issues, to leave you your feature : ) Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 22:28
  • No, but you can check the delete_vote_count. If it is greater than 0, check the question ID against the /questions/{ids} route. That route does not return anything for deleted questions. You can check up to 100 ids at a time. Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 22:38
  • In the response I had the value was 0 (see my json, maybe I have a bug but doubt it). I saw this comment, since the behavior is rather random I guess this feature is not much of a feature... Should I follow that advice? Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 22:42
  • I think the delete vote might take a few moments to show up, as I coulda swore it was zero for me too at very first. ... As for cross-posting, it now doesn't seem to make a difference, other than helping you to rack up the internet points. Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 22:44
  • Ok, thanks Brock, I will have to live with it. I hate cross posting and have no need for some meta points. Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 22:48

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