I posted an answer to Delegate Methods not called in Class Instance.

The author has left a comment in my answer asking "will you take your answer down so it looks unanswered".

First off, I'm not sure why it is important to have an unanswered question, but second off I'm a bit miffed that my attempt at troubleshooting his problem is not welcome. It doesn't encourage me to help answer this question any further.

Is it a common practice to delete one's answers at the request of the author? Many questions here have multiple answers that incrementally solve or answer the question. Isn't that the whole point of asking a question, to get answers?

  • 34
    "Is it a common practice to delete one's answers at the request of the author?" No, and I agree that his attempt at shooing you away is offensive, and essentially declines further help. I'd leave your answer up just so others can read his comments so they are warned about the kind of response they can expect when they try to help him.
    – Pollyanna
    Jan 24, 2012 at 14:36
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    Your answer is about a hair's width from being not-an-answer.
    – user1228
    Jan 24, 2012 at 14:54
  • 1
    @Won't Mmhmmm Jan 24, 2012 at 15:01
  • 3
    @TReddy - Won't is right. You should elaborate your answer a bit more - it's not much more than a comment at the moment. Jan 24, 2012 at 15:33
  • And now it's gone... Jan 24, 2012 at 15:47
  • Well...I wasn't given an opportunity to update my answer now that somebody made it a comment...oh well...
    – Tim Reddy
    Jan 24, 2012 at 16:18
  • 2
    @TReddy You can always provide a new answer, expanding your comment.
    – yannis
    Jan 24, 2012 at 18:54

3 Answers 3


Absolutely not.

First of all, his question is "unanswered" by the fact that it currently doesn't have an accepted answer.

Second, he may be the author of the question, but he does not exclusively own it. The community owns it. If the community determines that your answer is unhelpful or unwelcome, the community can down-vote and/or flag appropriately. (Note also that the author is part of the community. He can also down-vote if he feels he has cause to do so.)

I don't know enough about the subject matter to determine this for certain, but it's possible that your answer may be of help to future users who have a similar problem and find the question from a Google search. If the content is potentially helpful (and on-topic), it belongs on Stack Overflow.

The best you can do in this situation is either:

  1. Try to continue to help the user, modifying and improving your answer along the way.
  2. Walk away. If the user wants your answer deleted for some reason, he can flag it for moderator attention. If a moderator decides that the user has a valid reason, the moderator can delete your answer. I doubt that will happen, but that's the user's recourse if he so wishes.
  • 1
    +1, Agreed. Regarding the "unanswered" part, it could be that the question's author wanted it to continue to show up on the unanswered page (which is questions that have no upvoted answers, as opposed to no accepted answers) Jan 24, 2012 at 14:56
  • @jadarnel27: Good point. Though the acceptable way for the author to address that is to point out flaws in the answer and try to engage the answerer(s) a bit more. Things like "no change" and "it doesn't work" are kind of blunt and unhelpful.
    – David
    Jan 24, 2012 at 14:58
  • Haha, oh I definitely agree with that. I was just pointing out a possible motivation =) Jan 24, 2012 at 14:59
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    Your ownership comment nailed it for me. Thanks!
    – Tim Reddy
    Jan 24, 2012 at 15:00
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    People appear to be downboating my question because they didn't like that I asked someone to take down their incorrect answer (which I responded to below). However, downvoting my question because of this completely conflicts with the idea that it's a community question. This question could still help someone else (and me) if it's answered correctly. Downgrading it to hurt my reputation discredits stack overflow. The question is still valid and still in need of help.
    – Eric
    Jan 24, 2012 at 17:11

I understand what that user is trying to do. Unanswered questions look, on the front page, very different from answered questions. Questions with at least one answer get a big gray box next to them. Questions with no answer stand out because they don't have that big gray box.

It's generally true that people are less likely to read questions with answers (when they have the intent to answer the question themselves), on the assumption that the answers to that question are reasonable. I generally do that myself when I'm looking for something to answer, particularly in high turnover tags.

That's just the user's thought process: he wants his question to receive more attention. The same attention that attracted you in the first place.

Well... too bad. Him asking you to remove your answer just to satisfy his need to get other answers is generally rude. He should have told you what was wrong with your answer so that you could correct it, or he should have provided more information to get help.

It's fine for him to say, "That didn't help me." It's not fine for him to say, "That didn't help me, so bugger off."

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    As an aside: even "That didn't help me", without any further explanation, annoys me!
    – Arjan
    Jan 24, 2012 at 17:00
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    @Nicol, that didn't help me.
    – Ben Lee
    Jan 26, 2012 at 20:31

Everyone, I'm the person who asked T Reddy to take down their answer. My feeling being that the answer didn't help.I did the following:

I told him it didn't help. I changed the question to take out the part he answered so no one would get confused in the future as to what his answer was and why it was still there. Given the question itself had been edited to not reference the part he helped with, it made sense to ask him to take it down.

No disrespect, I promise. Stack Overflow has helped me tremendously.

Also, I just opened a bounty on the question.

  • 8
    So... you edited, hence invalidated an early answer?
    – Arjan
    Jan 24, 2012 at 17:03
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    Yes, T Reddy said "Take out these methods, you don't need them" I took them out, and still have the same issue. So I edited the question to take out those methods he suggested. Then asked him to take down the answer. His answer was no longer applicable to the question posted.
    – Eric
    Jan 24, 2012 at 17:04

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