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I have read lot of questions related to deleted questions or answers to be available for users to see in their profiles, but my question is, does excess deletion of our own questions and answers attract penalty from the owners/moderators of SO?

Sometimes what happens is, when we see a question, we don't understand it properly but jump into them to answer to get early upvotes and later (when we get downvoted) we realize our mistake and would want to delete our own answers. The reason could be any of the following:

  1. The answer is just not reasonable enough for the question asked.
  2. To save your reputation points and avoid further downvotes.
  3. Your answer has 0 upvotes and a better answer is already available for the question.
  4. The question gets edited and your answer is no longer valid. New people would not know that the question has been edited and they start downvoting your answer since it's no longer relevant.

In doing this we might go to extreme cases, maybe in the range of deleting hundreds of our answers. So is there an upper limit for the number of answers we can delete in order to avoid penalty (if there is any such penalty for deletion)?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Yes, excess deletion of our own questions might get you suspended (this is not automated though). Or if the reason is that many of your questions are really bad, then you might run into the dreaded Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions from this account (which is automated).

So, if you find yourself deleting a lot of your own posts, then please consider giving things some more thought before posting. When writing a question you'll see a link "asking help", which itself has some nice links in the "related" part in its right column. Read those!

Deleting surely is allowed, but should rarely be needed!

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Quality answer. –  abel Jan 11 '11 at 13:05
    
Yes, Agreed. Also its good to see that suspension is given after a warning through mail etc. This is indeed very good feature. –  Sachin Shanbhag Jan 11 '11 at 13:10
4  
@Sachin Shanbhag: It is more suspicious if you're deleting questions than if you are deleting answers (the link Arjan provided gives an example of a user trying to "clean up" their history of bad questions: this hurts others who spent time answering them but getting no recognition for it). It's much less a problem if you want to delete your own answers, but please don't just do that because no-one upvoted them: they can be useful to someone (and get upvotes) many months after they were posted. –  Jan Fabry Jan 11 '11 at 13:20
    
@Jan Fabry - Yes, its a good advice too. Sometimes I have also gone and deleted my answers which have no upvotes. But then I have made sure that my answer is covered in other answers which helps others is already available before deleting mine. –  Sachin Shanbhag Jan 11 '11 at 13:47
    
This is a very good answer. I do think there should be a rep penalty involved though in addition to the threat of getting suspended. Even if no up votes or even answers are involved, there could have still been significant effort on the part of the community to respond to that question. –  demongolem Oct 5 '12 at 1:25

We shouldn't discourage people from fixing their answers when they discover mistakes. Sometimes, the answer is fundamentally wrong, and deleting is the best answer; although I tend to edit the answer to say something like "WARNING: when i wrote this, i was wrong." for future reference.

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No. If the post was downvoted, deleting a question helps you recover the reputation on the next recalc. So if you feel like deleting a post, go ahead. If you try to delete a question with answers or a post with comments, you may not be able to delete it by yourselves.

However if your post had upvotes, you will lose the reputation on recalc, this may come across as "penalty"

Abusive behavior for example asking a question and then deleting it after you get an answer is bad, because the intention of SO is to help the community gain from each other. However if you are only deleting bad, incorrect, duplicate questions, I think you have nothing to fear.

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