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Recently a 133K user answered a question here, which was totally a wrong answer (No doubt, we all make mistakes, doesn't matter), but later he edited the answer using    and so on, and the original post was lost, is this a valid way to do so?

Should there be something like if answer is deleted, also show the edits which were done within 5 mins?

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9  
He deleted it too. Why would we need to see what he edited? We all make mistakes, why difference does it make? –  Martijn Pieters Jun 18 '13 at 16:23
    
@MartijnPieters Probably higher rep users can edit the answer and cast an undelete vote..(Which is what the feature is for undelete), and I am not sure mods can see that or not, it's not just about this post, am talking in general, also keeping answer with   wont be helpful to even mods when they are reviewing a user –  Mr. Alien Jun 18 '13 at 16:25
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@Mr.Alien: I don't think this is ever a real problem, no, even in general. –  Martijn Pieters Jun 18 '13 at 16:26
    
If you want mod input: I do this too, and none of the staff or other mods have taken issue with it. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 18 '13 at 16:38
    
This specific case aside, maybe you'd like Make first draft of a new answer part of the permanent revision history. –  Arjan Jun 18 '13 at 17:02
    
There are more restrictions on this than there used to be. HTML comments used to work. Since these have been implemented I've noticed a tendency for people to do the same thing by typing 30 characters of garbage so this actually seems a lot neater and a good workaround. –  Martin Smith Jun 18 '13 at 21:45
    
Happens all the time: stackoverflow.com/a/8403413/352552 –  Adam Rackis Jun 19 '13 at 17:14

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I see no problem it. Apparently he said something very silly and wanted to hide his shame, even from 10k users.

There's no reason for us to know what the content of an embarrassingly wrong answer is except to satiate our curiosity.

There actually is an edit history feature here, except after you make a post or an edit, you have a grace period to fix your post before it makes an entry in the edit history. this user deleted his post within a minute of making it, which is well within the grace period.

I'd leave it be. It's benign.

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Why shame? No one's perfect.. and am not talking about only this guy, am talking about users with low rep, will be useful for mods to see the edit history if the answer is deleted –  Mr. Alien Jun 18 '13 at 16:28
    
@Mr.Alien There is an edit history, but there's also a grace period in which you can make edits before an official entry is made. In the case where someone posts something that they later decide that they very soon realized that they didn't want to post why do you need to know what that was? –  Sam I am Jun 18 '13 at 16:31
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In order to use this "work around", the author would need to be aware of this potential workaround, know that you have a 5 minute edit grace period, and know that the answer was bad enough to warrant this action within that 5 minute grace period. My guess is this impacts a very small subset of questions and answers, and probably not worth the effort to implement. And that still doesn't address the question is why is it worth it? If the post was that bad, do we care? –  psubsee2003 Jun 18 '13 at 16:32
    
agreed tats why am suggesting to show edit history under 5 mins if answer is deleted, because these things are important for mods to review a users profile –  Mr. Alien Jun 18 '13 at 16:32
    
@Mr.Alien why is it important? –  Sam I am Jun 18 '13 at 16:34
    
@SamIam Ask mods, I asked once why we keep deleted answers, they told it helps them to review users activitiess –  Mr. Alien Jun 18 '13 at 16:35
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@Mr. Alien: This stuff is harmless. Even if somebody were doing this to hide abuse, either he doesn't repeat the behavior and everything is cool, or he gets caught eventually. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 18 '13 at 16:40
    
@BoltClock'saUnicorn Oh ok, I just suggested to show edit history even if it's deleted under 5 mins ;) –  Mr. Alien Jun 18 '13 at 16:44
    
"Apparently he said something very silly and wanted to hide his shame, even from 10k users." Why? Maybe he was just fast to realize, and changed within the 5 minute grace period only because he realized that soon. Not waiting for the grace period to have ended indicates nothing here, I'd say. Using whitespace instead of "Sorry, wrong answer" or "Sorry, answered wrong question" also means nothing to me. –  Arjan Jun 18 '13 at 17:07
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@Arjan since the post was only there for a brief period of time, there were no edit wars, lengthy comment threads or other sources of drama that needed to be moderated. The post is very insignificant. there's no reason to know what's in it. –  Sam I am Jun 18 '13 at 17:09
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"there's no reason to know what's in it, indeed! But you're boldly assuming the author wrote something "very silly" and maybe "an embarrassingly wrong answer"...? I'm just saying we cannot know. –  Arjan Jun 18 '13 at 17:11
    
@Arjan It's very clear that he didn't want anyone to see what he had wrote –  Sam I am Jun 18 '13 at 17:14
    
@SamIam But that doesn't establish anything about why he didn't want anyone to see it. –  jball Jun 18 '13 at 17:25
    
Why is that "very clear"? Should he have waited until the grace period was over, just to keep some history? What's the point in that? Also, it might have been a totally unintended copy & paste in the wrong place, which indeed he might not have wanted others to see, but how is that the same as "he said something something very silly and wanted to hide his shame"...? You're just guessing, I feel. –  Arjan Jun 18 '13 at 17:25
    
@Arjan It's clear because if he didn't care whether or not people saw it he wouldn't have bothered to edit the content away at all –  Sam I am Jun 18 '13 at 18:03

Two benefits I'm seeing here:

  • It removes all the content from the post. For a particularly long answer which gets deleted, this can greatly reduce the amount of space the deleted answer takes up on my screen. Reserving screen space for a useless self-deleted answer isn't very useful.

  • It prevents them from being drawn back into the question later. Other high-rep users could potentially vote to undelete the answer, which would make him a part of the question again. No one in their right mind will undelete an answer that has no content.

After all, it is a deleted answer. No one under 10k can even see it, so why does it really matter? Do you have some particular benefit you'd gain from seeing the original answer that a user felt was so wrong that they not only deleted it, but removed all the content as well - other than just curiosity?

This behavior does absolutely no harm to the site, so there's no reason to install additional features to account for it. If a user continually deletes posts with zero or negative score, the content within them will not matter to the automated ban (but this particular user will never see that).

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Especially the first point is why I'd do the same, though with "Sorry, wrong answer" rather than whitespace. And I'd also not explicitly wait for the 5 minute grace period to pass, if applicable, but remove as soon as I see my mistake. –  Arjan Jun 18 '13 at 17:05

I'm sure the user recognized their error after re-reading it (maybe MORE than 5 minutes later) and decided to reverse himself. Since the answer has no bearing on other answers received, as the answerer felt it was incorrect, the proper response is to move on.

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