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Edit: In response to the vote to close as "too localized", I am trying to make this a bit more general.

If I post an answer to a question, and a comment thread between myself and the asker suggests that we are not understanding each other, is it bad to delete my answer as a result? (I am leaning toward 'yes', it's bad)

In response to this question, I posted this answer (10k+ only). The ensuing comments lead me to "give up", and simply delete my answer. I came to think that the asker and I simply were not coming to a common ground to discuss the issue, and blame that as much on myself as him. (if I thought it was only his problem, I wouldn't have deleted, on the assumption that forthcoming up votes would 'vindicate' my position).

But now I'm wondering if that was not a bad idea, actually.

I'm not so much looking for commentary on the technical aspects of my answer and my comments. I think we were both missing each others' point at the edges. But did I do 'harm' by removing some potentially useful content from the site in general? (the answer to which I suppose will have some small implication of technical usefulness)

It's not an issue of the 'comment thread' at this point. I just want an opinion: Did I selfishly 'rage-delete' and, therefore, should undelete?

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I don't think the asker has any idea how threading works... –  user7116 Jan 19 '12 at 19:09
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I think you were well within reason to go ahead and bail out and save your afternoon. Instead of engaging in what is likely to be an extended, frustrating, and fruitless back and forth, you freed yourself to be more productive in other activities. –  Anthony Pegram Jan 19 '12 at 19:15
    
@AnthonyPegram That was exactly my thinking at the time I deleted; clear my name from the notification list for that question entirely, and assume someone else would answer. Immediately before I deleted the answer, I posted a comment to the effect of, "I give up; I don't think you understand what I'm saying..."... realized that was not a good comment, and made the decision to delete. (I also deleted that comment, separately). I think given the time now, I could simply let the answer stand as-is and ignore the question otherwise. So perhaps the temporary deletion served a purpose... –  Andrew Barber Jan 19 '12 at 19:18
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I say you were well within your right to delete. C# is not a tag bereft of qualified contributors, and the question is new, it can still attract views and good answers. You are also well within your right to later change your mind and restore your answer, provided someone else doesn't come in before and cover the same ground (no need to duplicate the same content, even if your answer was technically first). –  Anthony Pegram Jan 19 '12 at 19:24
    
I'd say this is getting dangerously close to the "taking my ball and going home" sort of rage quit that we discourage. If the answer was good it shouldn't be removed regardless of how dumb anyone might think the asker was. –  Ben Brocka Jan 19 '12 at 19:44

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

IMO, you didn't do anything wrong.

The comments on the answer indicate a disconnect between yourself and what the asker of the question is trying to determine.

Overall, it's the content of the entire topic that's important.

If it's a valid question, and as someone posting an answer you can't contribute in a constructive way (and this is not an indication that you were acting out of line, just that there is a disconnect, and that's ok), it's better to not answer at all. It takes away from the overall content of the post and that's really what's best for the site.

Remember, it takes two (or in SO's case, sometimes one if self-answered, or more than one, with multiple answers, you get the point). If you aren't compatible in one question, there's many more that I'm sure you're compatible for.

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More important than your answer was the commentary between you and the OP. Others who come across this question may suffer the same issues that you did in attempting to help this person.

Further, google searches down the road may throw people onto this page, and your answer may help them, even though it might not address the OPs precise needs.

Were I in your shoes I'd leave the answer up.

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Agreed. The OP may walk away without feeling answered, but the community still benefits from the content. –  David Jan 19 '12 at 19:24

I don't think this rises to the scenario of a "rage delete."

To clarify, we don't want you to come in long after a question has grown stale and delete an answer that the community has deemed valuable. This answer is unique (no other answer on the question covers the same ground), is usually upvoted (hence it has indeed been recognized as useful), and possibly even accepted by the question asker. When you come and outright delete the answer or alter it in such a way that it is no longer useful as it once was, you have done the community a disservice on a question that is not likely to attract a consider number of further views from qualified contributors, and is therefore not likely to have another answer like yours provided.

Deleting an answer on a new question after a brief back-and-forth with the asker is not the same thing. The question is new, it can still attract views, and it can still attract answers. Furthermore, no particular value had been assigned to it by the community. All you have done is saved what's left of your day from a frustrating experience.

You are in the clear.

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