Let's start with the focus of this site.
It isn't for subjective discussion.. It isn't for sharing political opinions.. If your answer is based around what option is better, or what social ill is most important, it doesn't belong here.
Subjective discussions and political opinions are important too. But, they aren't on-topic here. Please do have them, elsewhere.
Here we want definitive answers based on empirical evidence with references that address notable claims.
Why was Randy Orrison's answer deleted?
@RandyOrrison's answer [10K rep required to read link] was unreferenced, and purely based on Randy's own speculative theory of what the effect of fracking would have. It does not belong on the site.
Unfortunately, the question appeared on the Hot Network Questions list, which means it got a lot of attention from non-regulars who don't understand the purpose of the site, and subsequently was upvoted.
Sklivvz deleted it as it was a broken window - unsourced, but getting upvotes.
Can it be reinstated, and if so, how?
Randy, or another user with at least 10K rep, could edit it to include references to (a) support the claims, and (b) better address the actual claim rather than the title, and flag it for moderator attention.
Was another answer also deleted (from Peter)?
Yes, @peter-a-schneider posted an answer [10K rep required to read link]
It did have some references. It didn't have references to support many of the paragraphs which contained several claims. The first thing I did was to add a "citation needed" banner.
It explicitly dismissed the question ("Discussing specific merits of the different ways to produce fossil fuels is beside the point") and avoided addressing it.
I went to edit it, planning to save it by removing the political claims, and leave the substance. However, I could not see a way to fix it without substantially re-writing it and changing the tone. I elected to delete it.
If so, is there any way I can see what it was?
Other people's deleted answers are only visible to users with at least 10K rep.
There seem to be a lot of Meta questions about deleted answers on this site. What's the deal?
People post off-topic items, and get upset when they are removed. See the individual meta-questions for individual details.
What can be done to fix this?
It seems to me a good answer would have these elements:
explain the hypothesis behind the original claim, with a reference to someone making the argument - i.e. burning fracked natural gas releases fewer CO2e gases than burning coal, so fracking will reduce emissions.
explain that the evidence doesn't support this hypothesis. Show that production (or better sales) of coal has not reduced as fracking has increased. [Avoid using prices as a proxy - the price of fidget spinners has dropped dramatically since 2017, but that doesn't mean sales have increased.] Alternatively, if coal production has dropped, show that it hasn't dropped enough - I would be quoting an expert here who has done the calculations.
Conclude that the hypothesis that fracking can reduce CO2e emissions is wrong.
(This section is based on the premise that Peter's answer was substantially correct. I don't have a personal position on this before I see the evidence.)
Dealing with other comments:
The smart thing to do at that point would be to undelete the (meanwhile improved) answer by Peter, something that would take you but a single click.
The answer was not substantially improved. A dig at me was added to the top suggesting I wasn't aware of climate change.
A policy of undoing all deletions while they are argued about isn't sustainable. It will just mean every political rant and spam source will remain on the site while complaints are dragged out on meta.
But I guess you're hoping that, by then, attention to that question / answer will have dwindled, so that your preferred political POV was reinforced and the critical voice goes unheard. Nice move
Assuming my political POV is pro-fracking is not a safe assumption.
I'd appreciate an assumption of good faith motives.
I prioritised spending my evening having a lovely dinner out over dropping everything to defend myself against insults on a site that doesn't pay me for the time I spend keeping it tidy. That was indeed a nice move, and I would make the same call again.
I feel that moderation is needed when there is an actual problem, not when a statement goes against the grain of a moderator's world view.
The relevant world view here is not about fracking. It is about what this site is for.
That's what the voting system is for, which doesn't deny even the OP to as much as read what a user took some effort to formulate.
Should I post my Game of Thrones slash fan fiction up on this site? It took a lot of effort to formulate. Shouldn't we let the voters decide?
No, on second thoughts, there are plenty of other places I could post it. We should keep this site for applying scientific skepticism.