Occasionally users vandalize or sabotage their own question, seemingly out of frustration ("SO doesn't do what I want!"). Usually it doesn't bother me, because those questions aren't high-quality to begin with.

Lately, I've seen this happen a bit more often; the latest example being this question.

Letting it stand as it is, is obviously not a great solution (if the link goes dead, the body currently reads "Pointless Pointless Pointless Pointless Pointless Pointless"). Rolling it back to an earlier version might not be the best course of action, because the OP is probably no longer interested in "maintaining" the question.

Should it just be deleted?
Should it be "salvaged" if we hope the answers might be relevant for others?


4 Answers 4


If a question has been vandalized, independently from who did it, it should be rolled back. If whoever vandalized the question keeps doing it, then the question could be flagged with a custom flag that reports what is happening. Moderators will take the necessary actions.

If the author of a question is not happy with the question, that user has the possibility to delete it, instead of replacing the question text with useless text, if the question doesn't have up-voted answers.

I don't see any reason to delete a question simply for the fact it has been edited from a user with the intention of making the question clearer, because an answer that was really a question's update has been merged with the question, or because any offensive word has been removed from the post.
If the user is unhappy with the fact other users can edit his own question, then the user is in the wrong place, since the FAQ clearly states that editing is encouraged.

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If they have good answers, they should be rolled back.

Otherwise, just flag a moderator for deletion.


If the question is not really useful without further improvement it should just be deleted, as the user obviously doesn't want to improve it further. As long as a question hasn't attracted any upvoted answer, the users can delete those questions themselves, so there is no need for vandalism.

The far more common case of vandalism is for questions that already received an upvoted answer, as those cannot be deleted by the owner anymore. In this case the edit should usually be reversed, as other users already invested effort into answering the question.

In cases of vandalism, don't get into an edit war, just flag for a moderator as they can lock questions and suspend users. An edit war only leads to a big mess in the revisions and communiwikification of the question.


Flag them for moderator attention. You could also roll it back yourself if you have the rep, but I suspect this will not be effective and moderator intervention will be required because the original poster will get a notification of your edit, and so be likely to put their own message back.

  • I'm aware of this option, but my question is: if the OP is no longer around to "care" for the question, should it be left there? Should we only keep it, if it's likely to be useful for others? Sep 20, 2011 at 13:35

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