If a moderator decides unilaterally to close a question, and their decision doesn't have strong support from the community, and a number of people later ask for the question to be re-opened and give sound reasons for disputing the moderator's rationale in closing it, is it considered an acceptable use of privileges for that moderator to unilaterally delete the question in order to prevent further discussion of their decision?
A while ago, I asked a question on the Android stack exchange site which was unilaterally closed by a moderator with little explanation.
(It being deleted obviously means it's hard to view: here's the latest archive.org link from Oct 2013 but unfortunately this doesn't include the latest comments).
- Two other people with comment privileges, finding the question while researching the topic, commented voicing their disagreement with the decision to close the question.
- At least one other user (a diamond moderator on the site) voted for it to be re-opened (I can't see re-open votes going back so I don't know how many other people voted to re-open).
- Three people have favourited the question, hoping for it to be reopened and answered.
- The question has received over a thousand views ("Popular question" badge) and at least 5 upvotes (not bad for a niche question), showing that it is a topic there is interest in.
The meta discussion showed little support or substance to the moderator's reasons for closing:
- The two highest voted answers to that meta post, both from diamond moderators, say (in order of popularity) (+4) that the question is good, on topic and shows a good "amount of effort and pre-question research", and that the only issue is whether a question can be closed for being difficult to answer (I'm sure the official SE line is, no, a question being difficult isn't a valid close reason so long as it's on-topic, fact-based and well-researched), and a similar answer from another diamond moderator (+1) agreeing that the question is difficult, but should on balance be re-opened.
- The moderator's own explanation on meta couldn't possibly be the real reason they closed the original question: they criticised me for not including context and background, when the original wording at the time of their closing it was full of context and background which I had reluctantly removed in my edit thinking this context and background was what had caused the question to be closed.
- Their main other reason given for closing was to speculate that the question would be of no use to anyone else in future and so should have been "too localised", and there is clear evidence (above) that this is not true.
- I commented answering each point made by the moderator who closed the question, including pointing out that his main criticism argument was not true of the question at the time he closed it, and these comments were ignored. The vote score on the moderator's meta post (currently, 0) shows that his position did not have any strong support from the community.
Just now, after the second comment disputing the moderator's decision (which notified the moderator who had closed the question), that moderator instantly deleted the question, while leaving a hostile comment that shows his motivation is personal annoyance at the discussion of his decision to close the question ("...I see no further point in continually discussing an old, useless question..."). "Useless" seems an unusual way to describe a question that has been favourited three times despite not yet having had the chance to be answered - it's clearly not a judgement that is supported by the community.
To me, this doesn't seem like a correct use of deletion privileges.
My understanding from the help centre is that questions are to be deleted when they risk causing harm to a site (e.g. if they are offensive or so off topic they could give the wrong impression of the scope of a site). In this case, the reason for deleting the question seems to be to prevent discussion of their decision to close it.
Is this a valid use of deletion privileges? If not, what should happen?