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This particular situation was where a poor (homework) question was posted, one answer was given (by a highly respected user, over 10k user) and it had a bit of a rantish tone (broken windows, to be sure) but the community responded before a mod ever saw it and the post was already at -5. There was also a community discussion in the comments (proper usage!) as to why the answer was so downvoted, so future users are likely to understand the cause.

Because the question was poor, it was closed, so folks in the future are guide-posted to know what is acceptable and what isn't for the site, and a guiding comment was left as to what could improve the question and why it was closed.

In the future, however, my question is. When an answer is -5 and the question is iffy and closed, is it prudent to just firebomb the answer? Is it best to go ahead and try to edit the answer into something usable when it's already at -5 or lower by the time a moderator finds it?

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Do you have a link example? –  amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Jan 18 '13 at 15:33
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Is the answer deleted? I can't find any recent -5s in the 10k tools. –  Mysticial Jan 18 '13 at 15:33
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Given my tenure on the site, if I felt that the specific question was worth discussing, don't you two think I would've linked it? I have my reasons for not posting any links, and if you'll reread the first two sentences of the post then you'll understand why. –  jcolebrand Jan 18 '13 at 15:35
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I'm looking for moderation guidelines, not "how do I handle this particular question". Let's learn how to best handle all SE posts. –  jcolebrand Jan 18 '13 at 15:35
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Related: meta.stackexchange.com/q/163900/186381 –  Servy Jan 18 '13 at 15:37
    
Well, on SO they'll probably be deleted after a while. The other sites I'm not too sure. –  casperOne Jan 18 '13 at 15:39
    
@Servy well found, well written. Thanks! Still not entirely related, but this is good info for future visitors. –  jcolebrand Jan 18 '13 at 15:39
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@jcolebrand It's certainly not an exact duplicate, which is why I just said related. It addresses your proposal on deleting any -5 score answer on a closed question. As for editing, answers shouldn't be edited for content, just for grammar, spelling, formatting, etc. If it has a score of -5, odds are the content is what's wrong/flawed, so it shouldn't be edited. –  Servy Jan 18 '13 at 15:44
    
@Servy but according to broken-windows-theory, if it's that broken, should it be deleted? –  jcolebrand Jan 18 '13 at 15:47
    
@jcolebrand I once again refer you to the question I linked to, in which I, among others, detail specifically why an answer shouldn't be deleted just because the content of that answer is wrong. If the answer was downvoted because of something other than it's content being wrong (i.e., because the answer was offtopic, not an answer, etc.) then it's possible it qualifies for deletion. –  Servy Jan 18 '13 at 15:48
    
Aye, I agree with the points raised there. Trying to ascertain a threshold, if one should even exist. –  jcolebrand Jan 18 '13 at 15:50

1 Answer 1

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I think there are two considerations here:

  1. Do you want to re-open the question? Is the question likely to ever be re-opened?

  2. Is the answer just wrong, or does it venture into overtly offensive territory?

(I'm assuming here that it does honestly try to answer the question, since if it didn't you should remove it without any further thought)

If the answer to both of those questions is "yes", then you should either remove the answer straight away, or attempt to remove the offensive / rantish / flame-bait qualities from it if you're so inclined.

If the answer to only #1 is "no", then you should probably delete the question, but if you want to give it some time (perhaps to let the asker see it, or because it's being discussed), then delete the answer.

If the answer to only #2 is "no", then leave it be.

See also:

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Well put, thanks. I want this to be intended more for moderators, and less for regular users. –  jcolebrand Jan 19 '13 at 5:11
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Incidentally, I now know what motivated this question; I wouldn't change this advice based on that, but it's probably worth noting I made no effort to speak to your specific situation either. –  Shog9 Jan 19 '13 at 5:35

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