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If someone answers my question, I can't delete it anymore even if I have 10 down votes. After so and so condition I'm unable to edit the comment. I can't delete more than 5 answers a day. I can't take back my up vote, etc.

Why is editing or deleting content not allowed or limited in some cases? Is it legal to prevent me from doing so?

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Unaccepting answers to your question is something you can do as often as you like. –  Daniel Fischer Jul 23 '12 at 10:18
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As Arjan mentions - "beware that, once posted, you agreed "that all Subscriber Content that You contribute to the Network is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Exchange under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license" and cannot easily remove it. There are requests to have one's name removed from content though." - How can I delete my own question with a low score but with answers? –  Sathya Jul 23 '12 at 10:24
    
also meta downvotes indicate disagreement –  Sathya Jul 23 '12 at 10:26
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@HasanKhan sounds more like disagreement over your last 4 questions. Or rather the first and the last question in your last paragraph. –  Sathya Jul 23 '12 at 10:59
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Downvotes don't only indicate disagreement. They may also indicate a poorly worded question, "Not this crap again", "No, that's a bad idea" etc. As worded it's pretty easy to read a downvote on this question as "no, you don't" –  Ben Brocka Jul 23 '12 at 10:59
    
possible duplicate of Why can I only delete 5 posts in a day? Is this legal? –  user149432 Jul 23 '12 at 11:09
    
possible duplicate of Who owns the content I post? –  Pops Jul 27 '12 at 18:09
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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Stack Overflow policy is that a user's ability to delete his own content is limited. In some cases you can, in some cases you can't. A full list is at When can't I delete my question?.

The rationale here is that SO is a collaborative site, and you can't delete something on your own if it's proven valuable for others, or if other people have invested time and effort into responding.

So you can't delete an answer that's been accepted (since it's clearly useful to the questions original poster), and you can't delete a question which has upvoted answers (since evidently other people have spent effort writing, and deleting your question would require deleting their answer).

It's definitely not illegal; it's in the site's terms of service (Section 3). There's no lack of internet forums where you can't edit or delete posts once you've sent them! -- but I understand why you'd expect it to be possible on SE, since otherwise editing content is very much a part of the site. So, now you've got the rationale; you may not agree with it, but it's very much consistent with Stack Overflow's goal of being a long-term resource, keeping valuable content regardless of who posted it first.

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The conditions you post under are outlined in Section 3 of the legal link at the foot of every page.

You agree that all Subscriber Content that You contribute to the Network is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Exchange under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license. You grant Stack Exchange the perpetual and irrevocable right and license to use, copy, cache, publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content...

While you still own the content you provide you have given Stack Exchange the right to use and publish it forever. This means that your right to delete the content is restricted. The other thing to bear in mind is that if someone has answered your question if you delete the question you are depriving other people the benefit of the answer.

You always have the right to edit your posts, but you don't have the right to edit the content so that you completely change the meaning of the question or replace it with a meaningless statement. Again, this is common courtesy to those people that have answered the question and future visitors to the site.

If you don't want certain content attributed to your name you can ask Stack Exchange to disassociate a post from your account. However, this is not something that's encouraged.

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