Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 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

How frustrating it is to be submitting an answer to a question with much time and effort, only to find that after clicking the Submit Answer button, the message appears "User has deleted his question". I propose a mechanism to prevent users from deleting their answer while someone is actively engaged in answering the question.


This is not about alerting the user. That is already implemented. I am talking about a block altogether, like when you try to delete a Word document in Windows but there is a file-lock. I am proposing that if the answer is locked for 24 hours, the user be allowed to delete it. It is not an indefinite lock.

share|improve this question
@random: This is not the same. This is not about alerting, it is about preventing the question from being deleted altogether while someone is entering in an answer. – Brian Jun 21 '11 at 13:07
@random: Not about warning :) I am talking about locking the question. – Brian Jun 21 '11 at 13:21
That's the reason it was posted as a comment and not as duplicate – random Jun 21 '11 at 13:22

I have seen questions that ask "how can I X, without Y?" After accumulating a few answers they edit saying "oh wait sorry I meant with Y". There is assorted yelling in the comments and the person deletes the question entirely and starts fresh. This can happen in as little as 5 minutes. In that scenario, how would it help the internet, or even you, to insist they can't delete their "hot mess" and post something closer to what they meant? You might not even be answering the real question.

Other times, people realize the issue is not what they thought it was, but just a silly typo (missing a semi colon for example) or thought error (oh, right, I'm writing C#, not C++) and when it's pointed out to them they delete it, either out of embarrassment or because it really isn't going to help anyone for posterity to leave it around. Again, how does it help the internet, or you, to let you get a kick at answering that one just because you started to type?

And thirdly, sometimes people post spam or offensive crap, and moderators delete it. If the OP or a friend could roadblock that deletion by something as simple as starting to type an answer, that would be bad. Sure, we could say "lock it for OP deletion but not for mod deletion" and there's probably some sort of exception to that too. This just all leads to complicated code and UI for little or no benefit.

FGITW doesn't happen in every tag. If you're going to play FGITW, you have to play it as-is, with other people answering too, edits underneath you, stuff getting deleted and migrated, and all that jazz. Or, don't - restrict yourself to questions a few hours old that have probably settled down. Your choice.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

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