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I sincerely want to become a valuable member of this community and I'm down with the general rules to try to keep the site from getting out of control and off-topic, etc.

Why was my answer deleted? - http://stackoverflow.com/a/8410040/758004

I'm not here to moan about it, but I'd just like some feedback on why my answer was deleted. The question didn't originally include all the information required to answer it so the first step of my answer was to request more information and I then went on to provide some (I thought) helpful suggestions to get to the root of the problem.

I'm sure a lot of people have run into this early on, but it's quite frustrating to spend valuable time trying to assist another person only to have a mod delete it 5 minutes later with no real explanation...

Do answers HAVE to be short/succinct and NOT ask for further information to be acceptable?

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I think it's the liberal use of question marks in your answer that made it seem like a question in itself at first glance. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Dec 7 '11 at 17:54
    
So perhaps hiding requests for additional information via phrasing like "It would be helpful if you posted the code from your DAL..." rather than "Can you post your code?" and "Make sure are utilizing connection pooling" rather than "Are you using connection pooling?" –  dbstrat Dec 7 '11 at 18:01
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These still don't make for an answer, though, as they don't really answer the question. It's still more of a comment. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Dec 7 '11 at 18:03
    
Agreed, I just meant in the context of still attempting to provide suggestions or an answer. As other comments here have suggested I probably surpassed the "?" threshold allowed for an answer. :) –  dbstrat Dec 7 '11 at 18:22

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The working model for Stack Exchange sites is Question/Answer. It is not a threaded conversation like you might find on a forum or the Usenet. We think that this distinction is important.

If your "answer" isn't an answer in fact, you're doing it wrong.

There is a comments feature available on your own posts and all post once you reach 50 rep that you can use to ask for clarification. Yes, the rep limit for posting comments can leave new users in a tight spot; had you posted a brief enough request for clarification the moderator might have converted it to a comment for you. Try to pare that down to less than 300 characters and they still might.


Aside: reposting as you did is strongly discouraged.

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Useful link on that subject from Gardening meta: meta.gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/201/… –  David Z Dec 7 '11 at 17:53
    
Point taken on the repost...did you happen to read my answer? There were a couple of requests for clarification in there but I also had some suggestions which I interpret as an answer. If the question doesn't have enough information do suggestions not qualify as "answers"? –  dbstrat Dec 7 '11 at 17:56
    
Also I didn't realize that comments weren't available on other posts so that's good to know. Still the suggestion that I turn my answer into a new question on SO doesn't make sense, maybe that's just a canned response? –  dbstrat Dec 7 '11 at 18:03
    
@David - thanks, that is a very helpful link! It's confusing to not have the ability to comment on the OP so my only option was to create an answer. –  dbstrat Dec 7 '11 at 18:05
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@dbstrat: Sort of canned, yeah. More bottled I'd say ;) –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Dec 7 '11 at 18:07
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@dbstrat Yes, sorry that's a canned response that doesn't make any sense on closer reading of your post. –  Bill the Lizard Dec 7 '11 at 18:07
    
@dbstrat: Did I read your answer? Not really. Just the first few lines, but mostly I relied on Bill the Lizard's take. In part because that topic is far outside my competency. Obviously if this is a really answer the above does not apply and I owe you an apology. Mea cupla. –  dmckee Dec 7 '11 at 18:25
    
@dmckee, no apology necessary. I appreciate your comments, I'm trying to learn and you have been helpful :) –  dbstrat Dec 7 '11 at 20:15

The question didn't originally include all the information required to answer it so the first step of my answer was to request more information and I then went on to provide some (I thought) helpful suggestions to get to the root of the problem.

If the question doesn't include enough information to answer it then it needs to be clarified (or closed). Asking for clarification should be done in the comments, not in an answer. The question has been edited since your original post, so please take a look to see if you can answer it now.

If you had only posted your suggestions without so many questions, your post probably would not have been flagged or deleted. If moderators see helpful clarifying questions posted as answers we'll normally convert them to comments, but your post was way too long to fit in a comment. In the future (until you get the 50 reputation required to comment) if you keep clarifying questions below 300 characters they stand a much better chance of being converted to comments rather than simply deleted.

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Thank you for clarifying. I didn't see this information in the FAQ so it may be worth adding. It's a great community but I wouldn't be surprised if plenty of potential good members are driven away simply because the rules can be difficult to understand –  dbstrat Dec 7 '11 at 18:21
    
@dbstrat Thanks for the feedback. I do often wonder how many people I'm pissing off when their first interaction with the site gets deleted. Unfortunately a balance has to be struck when keeping the site clean. –  Bill the Lizard Dec 7 '11 at 18:25
    
Understood. One more bit of feedback then is that the information in the thread which David Zaslavsky linked to would be really helpful to have in the FAQ - meta.gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/201/…. –  dbstrat Dec 7 '11 at 18:28

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