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My answer to this question was deleted 6 hours ago.

The question was how to divide a number by 3 without using *, /, +, -, % operators; my answer was to use Pascal's DIV operator, possibly invoking the Pascal code from C, since the question is tagged C.

I followed the link to the FAQ, and I don't think my answer meets any of the reasons for deletion listed there. It does answer the question as stated. I don't claim that either the question or the answer was of tremendously high quality, but my answer did have 5 upvotes and 1 downvote (the downvote may have been cast before I edited the question).

The question did have a large number of answers, but most of them are valid and distinct from the other answers.

It's been suggested that the question was a bad one, and I don't necessarily dispute that. I suggest that that's irrelevant to the issue of deleting my answer. It's entirely possible to have a good (or at least valid) answer to a bad question.

Why was my answer, along with a number of the other answers, deleted?

share|improve this question
The question itself is bad and probably should be deleted...but some silly bounty is keeping me from voting against it. – user7116 Aug 21 '12 at 18:57
Wow, that question is still around? Crazy. And what's with the strange bounty from nobody... – Bart Aug 21 '12 at 18:58
How is the question bad? Just because it has a lot of answers? The question is objective and it has verifiable answers. – Mysticial Aug 21 '12 at 18:58
@Bart Somebody ragequit and left 3 massive bounties. I flagged it and the user has been removed. But the bounties are still there. – Mysticial Aug 21 '12 at 18:59
@Mysticial It's not practical. It's a code competition. At best, it's for code golf, but it's not about shortest piece of code. It's not going to be on SO for long. – casperOne Aug 21 '12 at 18:59
@Mysticial Ah, thanks for that explanation. – Bart Aug 21 '12 at 18:59
How is the badness of the question relevant to deleting my answer? – Keith Thompson Aug 21 '12 at 19:03
@casperOne I disagree. IMO it's a legit question - especially if you were a hardware designer. A lot of verifiable answers doesn't invalidate a question. – Mysticial Aug 21 '12 at 19:03
@Mysticial The core question may be legit, however there's no effort evident from the OP and as phrased it's more of a poll than an actual question. The 33 answers (+ the deleted ones) prove that most people interpreted it as a poll... – Yannis Aug 21 '12 at 19:06
@Mysticial Explain what is "practical" about the question. And if that is the case, I strongly suggest editing it to reflect that, because it was originally an interview question, not reflective of a practical problem that people face. Show the practical problem and make the question better. – casperOne Aug 21 '12 at 19:07
@casperOne A processor designer who needs to implement an integer division would easily ask such a question. But I agree that editing the question to this would invalidate all but a few of the answers. – Mysticial Aug 21 '12 at 19:09
That question should be, and indeed already is, on Code Golf rather than SO. – Josh Caswell Aug 21 '12 at 19:22
@JoshCaswell I don't know if I agree, as there's no objective primary winning condition, as per their FAQ. – casperOne Aug 21 '12 at 19:24
@casperOne: I believe it's a straight Golf question: shortest character count wins. I am not very active on CG, so the rules may be more refined than that these days. – Josh Caswell Aug 21 '12 at 19:25
@JoshCaswell That was never part of the question, to add it would fundamentally change the answers, and that is a destructive edit that can't be made in good faith. – casperOne Aug 21 '12 at 19:26
up vote 11 down vote accepted

I deleted the answer.

The question is asking for C code, not for Pascal code. You also didn't actually provide code.

Both of those things lead to it being "Not An Answer" hence the deletion.

Honestly, the whole question is probably going to be closed soon, because it shouldn't be on Stack Overflow to begin with. At best it's a code golf question.

You should expect it to be closed very soon at the very least, if not outright deleted. Stack Overflow is not the place for code competitions.

As per the FAQ, this is not a practical problem.

share|improve this answer
I provided a C solution (more or less). There are plenty of valid answers that describe a solution without providing actual code. In this case, providing actual code was impractical because interfacing between C and Pascal is implementation-specific; given a mechanism for doing so, the solution is obvious from the information I gave. Closing or deleting the question is a separate issue; there's such a thing as a good answer to a bad question. – Keith Thompson Aug 21 '12 at 19:02
@KeithThompson You're already indicating that you didn't provide an answer when you say "more or less"; if you know this, then you shouldn't have posted it in the first place without going in-depth. – casperOne Aug 21 '12 at 19:05
No, I didn't say that I didn't provide an answer; I implied that I may or may not have provided an answer. On further thought, I believe I did provide an answer, one that might not be applicable to all environments, and one that I didn't describe in great detail because I provided enough information to write a detailed solution. That's probably worth a downvote; I don't think it justifies deletion. Are you judging my answer based on a off-hand comment I made several weeks later? – Keith Thompson Aug 21 '12 at 19:09
@KeithThompson If you can't make up your mind about whether or not you "may or may not have provided an answer", then why are you posting to meta in the first place about an answer that you "may or may not have" provided? That is noise. – casperOne Aug 21 '12 at 19:11
@KeithThompson Your answer was judged on the basis that it wasn't in the language that the question was targeted in, it only provided a statement that it could be done with no actual proof or guidance on how. At best, it was a comment, and if you wan't, I'll convert it to one. Or, you can flesh out your answer and flag it for moderator attention for it to be undeleted assuming you've actually provided an answer. – casperOne Aug 21 '12 at 19:13
This isn't about my use of the phrase "more or less", since I wrote that after the answer was deleted. I believe I answered the question. I see I'm not going to convince you of that. – Keith Thompson Aug 21 '12 at 19:16
I accepted this answer because it clearly answers the question I asked. I still disagree with the reasons behind it. (Would a similar answer to a good question have been deleted?) – Keith Thompson Aug 21 '12 at 21:35
@KeithThompson You aren't obligated to accept the answer. Accepting an answer is an indication that the answer is what you and only you found to be what worked for you. If you don't agree, dissent by not accepting an answer on meta is completely acceptable. And yes, a similar answer to a good question would have been deleted because it's "not an answer". If it's not in the technology asked for, or it doesn't adequately answer the question (by explaining the how instead of just what) then it's "not an answer" and treated accordingly. – casperOne Aug 21 '12 at 21:41
@KeithThompson And while you might not agree, you might want to take a look at the downvotes on your question vs the upvotes on the answer, this isn't the single view of a moderator, but generally how the community feels about this particular topic. I appreciate you might not agree with it, but it's not a singular vision by any means. – casperOne Aug 21 '12 at 21:43
I know I'm not obligated to accept the answer. I did because it answered the question I asked. – Keith Thompson Aug 21 '12 at 22:07
I've updated the answer with working sample code. – Keith Thompson Aug 21 '12 at 23:03
@KeithThompson that's excellent, it's undeleted now. Thanks for working to make a better answer. – casperOne Aug 21 '12 at 23:29

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