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Does systematic self-deleting need to be prevented?

It happens quite often that low reputation users delete their questions or answers whenever they recieve a downvote. Reasons for this could be to minimize the damage either to their SO reputation or personal reputation (like getting their feelings hurt).

I tend to add comments to posts I downvote. This could potentionally help the poster to learn something new or others why the post is a bad solution/way to go.

Although it should be anyones right to delete ones post, I also believe that the knowledge shared in both right and wrong answers can help others learn new and better ways of developing. Unless the answer is based on misunderstanding or misreading the question, anyone should be allowed to benefit from this wrong/bad answer.

Could it be an option to allow low reputation users to request deletion of a post and let a moderator review the request? Or am I the only one having these thoughts?

  • 7
    High-Reputation users do this too, by the way. Commented May 14, 2012 at 22:02
  • @AndrewBarber Thats just sad...
    – Repox
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 22:02
  • I guess I can see your point of view, but a few things to note: 1) There's a badge for it (deleting posts of -3 score or lower) 2) it prevents continued down-voting (some may think the user is just being stubborn about their post being 'right') and 3) removes potentially incorrect information from the site. Commented May 14, 2012 at 22:04
  • 2
    I delete my old low rep (<=1) answers which are dupes or near dupes on questions that don't substantially add to the other answers.
    – user7116
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 23:47

1 Answer 1


This already happens; we have restrictions on when users can delete their own questions.

They're detailed here, under the heading "When can't I delete my own post?", but the short version is that you can't delete one of your questions that has received at least one useful answer, because then the question no longer belongs solely to you. Someone else has put effort into their answer, and as you rightfully observe, is contributing some useful knowledge to others on the Internet.

The current workaround is precisely the one you suggest. If a user really needs one of their questions to be deleted for some reason, they would have to flag it for moderator attention and ask that it be deleted.

The standard is a little bit different for answers. You can delete them whenever you want, unless they've been accepted. I'd say that's doubly justified for answers that have been downvoted. Your comment to a downvoted answer explaining your reason for downvoting is only useful to the person who posted the wrong answer. Presumably, they've learned from their mistake and removed the answer to keep down the noise on the site. Remember that comments on SE are ephemeral in nature and not an integral part of the Q&A platform. We don't worry about the possibility of comments being removed.

  • This hould apply to answers also. Today alone I was commenting on two answers I downvoted which just disappeared. These comments to wrong/bad answers does contain some value IMO.
    – Repox
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 21:44
  • @Repox The trick is to not post useful info in comments... Commented May 14, 2012 at 21:47
  • @yoda That I with agree can not (cool nickname, btw). On SO we kinda have a lot of answers already, some of them could and should be comments (imho). Commented May 14, 2012 at 21:50
  • @yoda Well, telling someone why their answer is wrong/bad (which is what you are encouraged to do when downvoting) should be posted as a new answer. Useful or not, this belongs to the comments.
    – Repox
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 21:50

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