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I'm trying to clean up my old obsolete and/or substandard answers when I run into this:

"You have already deleted 5 of your own posts today; further deletes are blocked"

enter image description here


I found conflicting information on this very annoying limit:

  1. This post from May 25, 2010: "Delete-vote limit should not apply to one's own answers". This is marked .
    If this is no longer the case, please edit that question and flag it as .

  2. Then this bug report from Mar 31, 2011, indicates that the problem has risen from the dead -- despite this moderator's post, saying:

    Each time that I've seen it (pruning subpar answers), it's been a user who is deleting their own redundant zero-upvote answers. Can you tweak the algorithm slightly so answers with less than one upvote don't count towards tripping this flag?

    (Emphasis added.)

  3. Finally, Jeff posted on Jun 12, 2011:

    I don't mind it when

    • cleaning up redundant answers on questions that have multiple alternate good answers
    • cleaning up old, "less awesome" answers that are no longer reflective of the user's current skill level

    (Emphasis added.)


So why do we have barriers in place, to making SO answers less, "less awesome"?



Proposed Solution:

Please let us (¿once again?) delete an unlimited number of our own answers, when they have zero up-votes and are not marked as the answer.

Otherwise, please edit the linked questions to clear up the confusion.

share|improve this question
    
This check was added to prevent users from vandalizing their own posts. Why do you feel like you need to delete answers just because they haven't received any upvotes? Maybe no one has seen them yet. I frequently see good answers that are old and haven't received any votes. Lots of times I upvote them, but I am often out of votes. I disagree that this is necessary. Unless the content is an obvious duplicate or actively harmful, give up on deleting it. –  Cody Gray Jul 16 '11 at 7:32
5  
What's wrong with cleaning up the crappy answers? –  jcolebrand Jul 16 '11 at 7:45
3  
I delete the answers because they are: (1) Obsolete, (2) Redundant, (3) not good enough or not as good as existing answers. Furthermore, in my case, most of the ones I was deleting were on questions that have proven to be low value (zero or negative votes, very low views after a year, too localized to benefit anyone else, with users who: "drive by" posted, showed no interest in their own question, and haven't been seen in a year.) ... These answers (and usually the question) do nothing but clutter up the results when someone tries to search for quality information. –  Awesome Poodles Jul 16 '11 at 7:46
    
The solution is to flag the answers to be deleted by a moderator, and explain what you're trying to accomplish. –  Cody Gray Jul 16 '11 at 8:07
2  
@Cody: That's not a workable solution. –  Henk Holterman Jul 16 '11 at 14:10

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

This limit is not a bug but intentional, it is meant to prevent rage-quitting users from deleting all their answers. But you're right that it ideally should not prevent you from cleaning up your substandard answers. We only want to prevent users from deleting valuable content, so I'd support leaving out unaccepted answers with 0 or lower score from this calculation. Though upvoting behaviour depends on the site and the tag, sometimes good answers don't get enough visibility to receive upvotes. One could also make only negatively voted answers exempt from the limit.

The delete-vote limit is a completely seperate thing, it has nothing to do with the self-deletion limit.

share|improve this answer
    
What's wrong with improving the answers? –  jcolebrand Jul 16 '11 at 7:45
    
@jcolebrand I'm assuming that there are other, better answers already present, as that is the only situation where I would consider deleting my own answers. Of course improving an answer is preferable, but only if you can add something on top of what the other answers provide. –  Mad Scientist Jul 16 '11 at 7:48
    
@jcolebrand: Nothing, per se, but often there are better answers already, or the question was really too vague in the first place, or the question has proved to be low value -- so why waste time and bump it when it would have been closed if the current mechanisms/standards were active a the time. Finally, we are under no obligation to answer, or to improve answers (although I try to). If we want to take out the trash, rather than try and glue it all together, that should be our right. –  Awesome Poodles Jul 16 '11 at 7:54

One man's "sub-par answer with 0 votes" is another man's "valid answer being deleted for completely arbitrary reasons".

Believe it or not, we've seen far too much good content deleted for reasons that make no sense to relax this limit.

I also think the limit gives you plenty of flexibility; if you want to delete your 5 "worst" answers every day, go for it.

share|improve this answer
5  
If you see a lot of good content getting deleted with zero votes then you have a much bigger problem. You'll have to acknowledge that the voting system you created doesn't work. That's uncomfortable. –  Uphill Luge Aug 6 '11 at 9:25
    
this has been known for a long time.. see the last 20 blog entries on blog.stackoverflow.com that I wrote (skip those by other authors). But the real root problem is, users have rather strange ideas of what content "needs" to be deleted. –  Jeff Atwood Aug 6 '11 at 9:28
3  
I don't see it, you blogged about question votes, this is about answers. And I don't get how deleting ignored and unappreciated answers is "strange". Zero votes == nobody cares. –  Uphill Luge Aug 6 '11 at 9:36
    
so by "ignored and unappreciated" .. you mean that every single anonymous user who incremented the view counter didn't see your answer? (also bear in mind we are VERY conservative with view counts.. you could easily x2 or maybe even x3 the view counter you see on any main site question). –  Jeff Atwood Aug 6 '11 at 9:41
1  
What does a conservative view count have to do with it? More users that look at the upvoted answers? Or more users that still didn't vote for the one on the bottom? –  Uphill Luge Aug 6 '11 at 9:52
    
See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/98630/… -- unless the number of views is zero, then that means somebody cares. I can pretty much guarantee that the person who found that question didn't visit there because they were bored -- they visited because they have a specific problem they need fixed, and read through all the answers. (within reason; but remember the average SO question has maybe 2-3 answers max.) –  Jeff Atwood Aug 6 '11 at 9:55
2  
Sounds to me you want to preserve content regardless if it is considered helpful or not. Why? Wasn't the point of the voting system to get rid of unhelpful content? –  Uphill Luge Aug 6 '11 at 10:21
    
sigh no. What I am saying is that the person who wrote the content is often the least qualified to decide if it really needs to be deleted or not. Same reason Google doesn't let you set your own PageRank on the honor system. –  Jeff Atwood Aug 6 '11 at 10:22
3  
sigh indeed. That's why others vote on an answer and nobody doing so means something. We'll probably never agree, let's call it quits for now. –  Uphill Luge Aug 6 '11 at 10:25
    
I think what you're critically missing here is the "nobody voted my post up, therefore f**k all ya'll, I am deleting my post and going home" factor. Happens a LOT more than I would have predicted. (p.s. patience, and the view counter, are often required..) –  Jeff Atwood Aug 6 '11 at 10:27
3  
You make it tough to quit. The f**k factor is way too easy to fix: make it a 10K privilege, they don't go home. I have to assume you considered it. Is what is being critically missed here is that your livelihood is affecting the users behavior? Answers are a business card here. Of course nobody want to leave a bad impression. –  Uphill Luge Aug 6 '11 at 11:20
    
Jeff, this answer, and this question's new status, conflict with The new delete-votes limit should not apply to one's own answers. Shouldn't that question get an updated response and status? –  Awesome Poodles Aug 6 '11 at 13:58

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