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Let's say I'm trying to answer a lot of questions just to up my reputation (even if I generally don't know what I'm talking about).

Then, whenever I get downvoted, I just delete my answer so that nobody sees that I've posted stupid answers, and so I don't lose reputation points.

  • Is this frowned upon?
  • Do I lose reputation points on downvoted answers if I delete them?
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I think I remember seeing something about a limit to the number of answers you can delete per day. –  Martin Smith Nov 2 '11 at 16:33
    
possible duplicate of Proper way to correct a mistaken answer –  The Unhandled Exception Nov 2 '11 at 16:38
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Not every stupid answer will be downvoted, especially since downvoting an answer costs the downvoter 1 rep. So you'd still be exposed. –  S.L. Barth Nov 2 '11 at 16:41
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@TheUnhandledException -- I was thinking more of a serial offender, than of somebody who does it accidentally and occasionally. –  Matt Fenwick Nov 2 '11 at 16:50
    
@MattFenwick Ah, OK. Point taken, probably not a dupe then! –  The Unhandled Exception Nov 2 '11 at 18:27
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@MattFenwick because downvoting on meta means disagreement, dislike, or having a bad day. They probably downvoted because of either "even if I generally don't know what I'm talking about" or as a way of saying "don't do this". –  The Unhandled Exception Nov 2 '11 at 18:50
    
    
Don't worry, you're not alone there... :-) –  The Unhandled Exception Nov 2 '11 at 19:52

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Posting bad answers is bad.

Deleting bad answers is good.

Strive for eliminating the first. Your only bad answers should be inadvertent.


At Adam Rackis's request:

There once was a dude with bad answers;
His activity was viewed as a cancer.
Deletion would nicely reverse it,
But the real solution: Don't post sh*t!

(Bad, I know :P)

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A bad answer may not be the fault of the answerer. There are plenty of instances where someone asked a question which got perfectly good answers but it turned out that the OP was actually trying to ask something else. The question gets re-written, making the previously good answers become invalid and then down-voted. One the one hand, it makes sense to delete the answer to recover the rep from the down-votes, but on the other hand, depending on the question, I think it can make more sense to roll the question back to the original version and create a new question for the intended problem. –  Synetech Mar 12 '12 at 21:15
    
Any chance you can turn that into a limerick??? :-D –  Adam Rackis Mar 12 '12 at 21:41
    
@AdamRackis As you wish. –  Matthew Read Mar 12 '12 at 21:55
    
Nice - I already +1'd, so my compliment will have to suffice for the extra work :) –  Adam Rackis Mar 12 '12 at 22:04
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That is not a limerick. –  Kyralessa Mar 12 '12 at 22:09
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@Kyralessa Yes, it's not classic form. I wanted to use "answer" and "cancer" and didn't have another good rhyme, so sue me. Pedantry and poetry are probably better suited to Writers than here :P –  Matthew Read Mar 12 '12 at 22:25

If you decide that your answer isn't actually useful, deleting it is definitely the right thing to do. I regularly delete answers of mine that I realize are redundant or incorrect.

You'll get any rep you lost from the post back immediately thanks to the recent changes to the system. Previously you would have needed to do a manual rep recalculation.

Posting a lot of answers in areas where you don't know what you're talking about might be frowned upon, though.

Be warned that deleting your answers can be a signal to the spam filter. If you don't have many posts and they've mostly been down-voted, you might actually not want to delete them or you risk being blocked. Once you've got some higher-scoring posts, you could go back and delete them.

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Strictly, you've already lost (or regained) the rep. It's just that the engine hasn't properly noticed yet. –  Donal Fellows Nov 2 '11 at 16:15
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+1. Deleting bad answers is so good, we have a badge for it –  MarkJ Nov 2 '11 at 17:41
    
Did that to get my -2 rep lost from a deleted answer and lost 125 rep... went from 6,490 to 6365... damm it! :) –  Frankie Jan 25 '12 at 17:14

It's a bad idea. At first, you can spend this time to prepare a good answer and post it instead of post everything. I also guess that users who have more than 10k rep (and they can see deleted answers) will not glad to see your another questions.

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Everybody make mistakes. You could spend ages on an answer only to totally miss the point of the question and get down-voted because you answered the wrong question. If the answer is bad and unrecoverable it should be removed. –  ChrisF Nov 2 '11 at 17:16
    
I agree with you, but how it related to my answer? We talking about answers on regular questions.. Perhaps, i don't understand something. –  beryllium Nov 2 '11 at 20:07
    
You seem to be implying that people should concentrate on posting better answers in the first place. –  ChrisF Nov 2 '11 at 20:08
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I mean, a user spends time writing meaningless five answers in order to obtain the minimum reputation instead of create one, but good answer. –  beryllium Nov 2 '11 at 20:16

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