Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 157 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

I gave an answer to this question. It had a single downvote, and no criticizing comments. The OP accepted it, and in the comments I added a bit to the answer. But the answer was deleted by a moderator.

It is not a great answer in any way, I admit. There are many here who can give a much better one. But they didn't, and I don't think anything I've said there was either misleading, incorrect, or not informative. (It is not an exact answer, since the question was about efficiency; but the first sentence was "you will have to profile it", which is of course the right thing to do, and the OP's measurements supported the answer).

The criteria for deletion are these, according to the FAQ:

Answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. This includes answers that are:

  1. commentary on the question or other answers
  2. asking another, different question
  3. “thanks!” or “me too!” responses
  4. exact duplicates of other answers
  5. barely more than a link to an external site
  6. not even a partial answer to the actual question

The only remotely applicable choice is 6, but it was at least "a partial answer" to the question, otherwise it would not have been accepted.

I believe that if an answer is worth deleting, I deserve at least a note about the reason why it was deleted, if only to warn me against such answers in the future. What are the consideration regarding such deletion?

As requested, here is a screenshot of the answer (as I've said, I'm not very proud of it, but it isn't worth deletion-without-notice. convince me it's wrong or bad and I'll remove it myself. I've edited the answer a bit after the deletion, to avoid being too chatty):

enter image description here

share|improve this question
Screen shot of the answer for those of us without 10k? – Daedalus Jun 5 '13 at 2:14
@Daedalus you got it. – Elazar Jun 5 '13 at 2:20
I'd not have deleted it, but I can see why it was. It was discussiony and includes a question. Restructuring in the form of facts with references will not get deleted – Brian Webster Jun 5 '13 at 2:28
@FrankstonRalphingtonIII it does not really include a question. It includes a suggestion. I guess using a question mark was not a good idea - but you see the OP did take this advice. – Elazar Jun 5 '13 at 2:30
I've flagged accepted link-only answers that have been deleted - I find those are quite common on older posts. – Richard J. Ross III Jun 5 '13 at 2:46
@RichardJ.RossIII I don't understand what you are trying to say, about this case. Link-only answers are explicitly defined as worth deletion. – Elazar Jun 5 '13 at 2:52
It can be phrased as facts with references. People won't want to delete it that way. I wouldn't delete it as is, but I'm just letting you know why it is annoying some people – Brian Webster Jun 5 '13 at 3:54
@FrankstonRalphingtonIII Then thank you. It began as a comment, and then copy-pasted and extended. If I was noted, I would improve both its structure and contains; facts, references, phrasing and all. – Elazar Jun 5 '13 at 3:57

It's really not even a partial answer. The first paragraph says, essentially, "figure it out yourself" followed by a guess:

You will need to profile it, but my guess is...

The second paragraph is so vague as to be meaningless. "Software engineering" is not a "consideration." You assert that "global data is bad" without making any attempt to back it up with an explanation or a reference.

if you can't fulfill the requirements otherwise, then it has to be done

This line seems particularly unhelpful. Are there really situations where the only solution is global data? Is any alternative better than global variables? The question asks how one should decide between global variables and other approaches, and the only answer here is that one should consider software engineering.

The question asks for specific knowledge: which is faster? what else should be considered? A reader won't know any more after reading this answer than they did before.

share|improve this answer
Thank you for the answer. (1) I think "Figure it out yourself" is a good and important advice in this case. No one will be able to give it more than a guess without profiling it themselves. (2) "software Engineering" is indeed a vague term, but it is not meaningless. I am sure you did anderstand what I meant by it - and yes, I should've chosen a better way to phrase it. (3) yes this line is a tautology, but it just says "it's not an unbreakable rule'. – Elazar Jun 5 '13 at 3:14
The question is two questions - read it again. and the information in the answer is: (1) global variables mean less reference counting, and less memory overhead (by copying) (2) other considerations to using global data is the "engineering" thing. it is so well known that I didn't think of getting more into it. (3) an advice for using classes (4) in the comments, double dictionary lookups for classes and (5) the cache may contain small amounts of data, so profiling should consider it. How does that counts to "no information"? – Elazar Jun 5 '13 at 3:18
Anyway, I took your comments, and updated the (still deleted) answer accordingly. The moderator could have done pretty much that. – Elazar Jun 5 '13 at 3:28
you say that "A reader won't know any more after reading this answer than they did before" but at least one reader thought he does, made decisions based on this answer, and was thankful. – Elazar Jun 5 '13 at 3:40
@Elazar Thanks for the edit. I undeleted your answer. – Adam Jun 5 '13 at 4:07
@AnnaLear thanks. I will be glad to know if there is any other problems. – Elazar Jun 5 '13 at 4:09
@AnnaLear you think you could explain why you've done that? (Maybe as an answer.) – hayd Jun 5 '13 at 7:59
@Elazar The moderator could have done pretty much that. The moderator's role isn't to copy edit low quality posts to make them more acceptable. Sometimes they do anyway, mainly because they're also interested SO users, but the mods certainly don't have time to do that for every post. – Caleb Jun 5 '13 at 15:31
I meant: he could have told me what you told me now. In a comment. – Elazar Jun 5 '13 at 20:40
@Elazar What I wrote wouldn't fit in a comment. Also, I don't think the mods really have time to write an explanatory comment for each and every post that gets deleted, moved, closed, whatever, especially considering that whatever they write will often be ignored or never seen. You were able to find the usual reasons for deletion yourself, and you asked for help when they didn't make sense to you. I answered, you improved your answer, and Anna undeleted it. Seems like everything worked pretty much the way it should. Also, consider that the mod was probably responding to flags from users. – Caleb Jun 5 '13 at 21:05
It was a response to a flag from a user. Here's a comment: "This is a bad answer; It is chatty, not backed by facts or references, and does not belong here. Please improve or remove it." This would've saved everybody's time, and will make it more probable that the OP will actually see the updated answer (or understand it is not an acceptable one). Downvotes should be accompanied with a comment, so marginal deletion should too. – Elazar Jun 5 '13 at 21:45
@Elazar Meta is the right place for feature requests, so go ahead and ask. Personally, I don't see any need for adding a comment to every deleted answer, just as I don't think that comments should be required (and are not) with downvotes. Not to be unkind, but this doesn't seem like a borderline case. – Caleb Jun 6 '13 at 12:39
If it wans't, it wouldn't be undeleted after minor improvements. (BTW, since then someone else had answered and I requested removal of the acceptance, since his answer is indeed a far better one) – Elazar Jun 6 '13 at 17:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .