Currently, authors can't delete their own question
- if it has multiple answers
- if it has a single answer with one or more upvotes, even if it has a negative score
- if it has an answer with an awarded bounty
I ask that another criterion be added, to prevent authors from deleting their question within 24 hours of an answer being posted.
It happened to me, and to others as well, that a relevant question of reasonable quality was asked, some time consuming research went into creating an answer, and as soon as that answer was posted, the OP immediately deleted the question. This happens often with questions asked for work purposes, and some companies seem to generate many such short lived questions every day.
This behavior is hard to provide feedback on, or to moderate for multiple reasons:
- The community loses content (the question and the answer) without having a realistic time zone independent chance to notice or vote on it.
- There is no natural way to contact the OP without spamming unrelated questions.
- There is no way to flag the behavior as deleted questions are not flaggable by ordinary mortals
- The current UI does not discourage this behavior in any way, so it may not even be intentional.
Also, per Tim Post at the Meta Super User question:
We have things in place specifically to stop people from potentially wasting their time by answering questions. You can't delete your own question if it has multiple answers, or a single answer with a score of one or higher. That generally stops it, what remains is the edge case of great answers not getting a chance to see votes before being removed.
Addressing the edge case is very simple, however.
I believe that even a relatively short protection period is sufficient to ensure an upvote on any high quality answer; but, more importantly, habitual or intentional answer snatching will become less practical, and honest question posters will better understand the public purpose of the site.
(While this does make it a little harder to delete one's own question after the OP genuinely changed their mind, there is a plenty of better ways of stopping to make a fool of oneself: improving one's question through edits, self-answering it, asking the answer owner for cooperation on deletion, waiting a day before deletion, flagging the question for closure, or requesting to be dissociated from the post.)