I am wondering why a user will take all my answers at a time and ask on chat to delete the whole question.

Today I got 4 answers downvoted and then deleted because a user asked other users on chat to delete those questions.

Is this behavior ok? I mean, sure, it closes the question, maybe deletes my answer, but taking all my answered questions and delete them? All my answers with over 10 votes, no other answers, just those.

  • What chat was this? You have a permalink? – Bart Oct 10 '12 at 18:25
  • SO PHP Chat ... with the delv plugin .. – Mihai Iorga Oct 10 '12 at 18:25
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    I can't speak for whether those questions deserve to be deleted. But if they were specifically targeting you, then this doesn't seem right. – Mysticial Oct 10 '12 at 18:26
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  • they were only targeting me, no other delv – Mihai Iorga Oct 10 '12 at 18:27
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    I have 3 jobs at this moment, and I simply love SO and all it's features, I like to help others, but it's frustrating when I get home and I see my answers deleted, and SO is time consuming .. – Mihai Iorga Oct 10 '12 at 18:29
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    Sorry, but those questions were all too localized and deserved deletion IMO. – Pekka Oct 10 '12 at 18:31
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    Stop answering crap questions and the problem will go away. – Pekka Oct 10 '12 at 18:42
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    I too don't mind answering basic questions, but I try to be sure my answers are very substantial and will contain enough good content so that someone will think twice about deleting the question just because the answer is a very through explanation. These questions appear to be very basic, and your answers all appear to just be links to the function needed and the code needed to solve the problem, with almost no explanations at all. – Rachel Oct 10 '12 at 18:49
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    @Mihai sometimes a good answer can save a question from deletion. But would you seriously argue that was the case in any of these examples? I'm not saying the answers were bad, not at all. They sure helped the OP. But are they artifacts that should be saved for future generations? That have no better explanation elsewhere? Nah. The questions were textbook "too localised", and the answers didn't change that. – Pekka Oct 10 '12 at 18:59
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    @MihaiIorga Two of your answers simply say "use LinkToFunctionName();" followed by a code sample, and the third says "double equals if (($a%3 == 0) && ($a%5 == 0)) {". I'm just saying there's nothing wrong with answering basic questions, but if your answer is basic as well then there's a higher chance of the question getting closed/deleted at some point. – Rachel Oct 10 '12 at 18:59
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    Making comments such as "are you talking just to say something" (the one you made to @Rachel) is rude. This is not tolerated, to the point where it's codified in the faq. You might not like what she is trying to say, but she is trying to help, just as most other people here are. You would do well to remember that in your interactions with everyone here. – casperOne Oct 10 '12 at 19:12
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    Also, no one targeted you. They targeted the questions. The answers were not deleted because they were yours, but there isn't a mechanism to keep answers undeleted while questions are deleted (it doesn't make sense, if you think of it). – casperOne Oct 10 '12 at 19:14
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    No one person is ever targeted. It has never happened. If it gets suggested in chat, it is in jest. The practice of soliciting close/delete votes is contentious enough as it is (see various questions on meta, I can't find the links off hand) - we make sure that we play within the rules, because at the end of the day we are trying to help the site. Persecuting any particular user(s) is, if anything, hurting it. If you feel you are being targeted (and you aren't), chances are the reason is because you keep getting involved with sub-standard questions. – David X. Random Oct 10 '12 at 19:28
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    It's very simple. See a crap question or answer. Vote to close. Click the profile of the associated user and review the quality of other recent questions/answers. The odds are if there is no effort put in one, there will be no effort put in others. It actually makes it very easy to clean up some of the garbage on SO when users make consistently bad posts. We see people doing it every day, answering for the sake of building rep instead of closing as a duplicate or too localised, or whatever. If you make good posts, and make an effort to keep SO clean, you're never going to be a "victim" of this – Leigh Oct 11 '12 at 8:56

The questions linked to in the chat conversation were garbage. The very definition of the kind of content we don't want here, and what delete votes are for. Example:

I have this link


I want to replace this part: &w=120&h=120 with a blank so i would have just


I've tried with str_replace but no luck. Any ideas? Thanks!

As to targeting questions that you have answered - I don't think anyone is attacking you personally; but even if it were the case, then it's just you answered a couple of exceedingly localized and basic questions that someone maybe found through your profile. I don't know, but even that would not be a problem in my book. Answering crap is not a sin as such, but I've arrived in the camp that says answering these kinds of questions encourages the asking of even more of them, and that's a bad thing - especially in the PHP tag. Deleting this stuff is actually quality control.

If you do not want to risk answering a question that may be deleted, and losing the rep associated with it, refrain from answering it.

  • Like I said, I have no problem, I answer and I do other things in same time. My question: why an user is targeting me and ONLY delete my answered questions and not other? Check this: chat.stackoverflow.com/transcript/message/5716089#5716089, same thing – Mihai Iorga Oct 10 '12 at 18:37
  • @Mihai you didn't answer the question you link to? As said, maybe someone looked into your profile and saw you had answered some extremely basic questions. It's still not really targeting you, but the bad question. I know that particular user cares very much about quality, and does not discriminate by person. – Pekka Oct 10 '12 at 18:39
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    @MihaiIorga The PHP chat has tons of questions passed around like this every day. They're not specifically targeting you nor are they doing it maliciously. – Mike B Oct 10 '12 at 18:39
  • Do you see other delv ? Ok ... I believe you high reputation users are close .. I was sure I will be only pushed away .. – Mihai Iorga Oct 10 '12 at 18:40
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    @MihaiIorga 632 other delv-pls tags at a glance chat.stackoverflow.com/search?q=delv-pls&room=11 – Mike B Oct 10 '12 at 18:40
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    @Mihai I am mocking you because of your baseless accusation that I'm taking the user's side because we are somehow "close" and not because I think he was doing the right thing. – Pekka Oct 10 '12 at 18:47
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    @Mihai maybe he was indeed going through your answers and saw some that were answers to bad questions. But so what? Even that is targeting the questions, not you. That user once close voted and delete voted one of my top voted questions. He is cv-plsing and delete-voting stuff all the time. He's not discriminating against anyone specially, he just cares about quality in the PHP tag. – Pekka Oct 10 '12 at 18:51
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    You're making an issue because they were justifiably deleted all at once instead of one at a time.. really? – Mike B Oct 10 '12 at 18:52
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    @MihaiIorga Even if he was, you're going to get nothing out of going ballistic over this. Even if he targeted you 100%, which I doubt, then the closure and deletion was still valid, as you agree. That's it. Move on. Spend you energy on good answers or questions. We need you there. ;) – Bart Oct 10 '12 at 18:53
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    Just to add something, stackoverflow.com/questions/12817790/…, I've answered this question from my experience and he deleted the question, today, on chat, with delv. And then all started, he commented on that answer. – Mihai Iorga Oct 10 '12 at 18:57
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    As an aside: I've had very highly-rated questions deleted by those very same people. If I had a problem with it I discussed it with them and they raised some very good issues that justified deletion. This is how these matters should be handled, not posting to Meta. – Mike B Oct 10 '12 at 18:57
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    Well, I think this discussion is good to have here for future reference. – Pekka Oct 10 '12 at 19:05
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    I really like this part of your answer: "answering these kinds of questions encourages the asking of even more of them, and that's a bad thing". I think it explains clearly a too common problem with php questions on Stackoverflow. – Jocelyn Oct 10 '12 at 20:08
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    Thank you, Pekka. These words of yours ring like a symphony in my ears! – Gordon Oct 10 '12 at 21:29
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    By the way, congratulations, you have the 150000th meta post - meta.stackexchange.com/a/150000 :P – Doorknob Jun 28 '13 at 21:42

I would recommend for you to take a hard look at the type of questions you tend to answer:

It's not that people are targeting you. You just provide a convenient "database" of worst questions that SO can offer. I cannot blame people for using your profile as a good tool for cleaning up content.

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    The act of answering (easy) low quality questions just for the sake of the reputation gain, is commonly referred to as "Rep-whoring". Being a "rep-whore" would lead to exactly such circumstances. The lesson to be learnt, instead of providing answers to questions already answer, help moderate the site by closing them. – Madara's Ghost Oct 10 '12 at 22:06
  • I would recommend you doing that for all users. The question was why targeting and you are doing just that. Was never about the quality of the questions or answers. – Mihai Iorga Oct 11 '12 at 6:05
  • And as a side node, please take a hard look back to questions you answered. – Mihai Iorga Oct 11 '12 at 6:18
  • @MadaraUchiha like faq says I would recommend to start respecting, calling me names is not respectful. – Mihai Iorga Oct 11 '12 at 6:21
  • @MihaiIorga: I haven't called you in any names, and I apologize if you were offended. I'm simply relaying the information of how people who answer easy-duplicate-localized type questions are viewed. – Madara's Ghost Oct 11 '12 at 13:04
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    @MihaiIorga: All (most) of us were "rep-whoring" back in our early days. Innocent answering for these easy questions, thinking we're helping people. But as you gain reputation and veterancy at the site, you should start noticing patterns. Questions which are asked over and over again, and should not be answered (as you are feeding the help vampires), but instead should be closed as a duplicate of an appropriate question. You are a higher rep user, and apparently haven't gotten over that stage yet. That is why you were spotted and are "on the radar" of folks from the PHP chat. – Madara's Ghost Oct 11 '12 at 13:07
  • @MadaraUchiha, when I posted those answers I was low-rep ... so your argument is invalid. – Mihai Iorga Oct 17 '12 at 10:41
  • @MihaiIorga: My point exactly. These questions have been answered before numerous times, and/or could be very easily answered if OP simply takes a glance to the manual. Hence, they are inappropriate, and even though the answers took popularity, it doesn't mean that the question is good. – Madara's Ghost Oct 17 '12 at 11:06

Is it okay to go to chat and ask high rep users to delete content, yes. That is perfectly acceptable. You need a significant amount of reputation to vote to delete answers/questions, and it takes three non-moderators to do it. The entire purpose of those two restrictions is so that people who don't know what should be deleted won't be deleting content, and that one person's opinion (unless that opinion has been vetted by the community through moderation elections) will not be binding for such an important action.

The users will still be thinking for themselves; they will decide whether or not the content actually deserves to be deleted, and they can be trusted to take the appropriate action. Bringing a bunch of questions/answers to their attention (if done in good faith) is not a bad thing, even if some of those questions aren't delete worthy.

So bringing it up in chat isn't an issue, that only really leaves the question of, when looked at in isolation, should each of those answers have been deleted. It seems that the general consensus here is that they should be. If they weren't then you could bring them to the attention of others in just the same way that someone else brought them up in chat to ask for un-delete votes. If such votes would be justified you would likely get them.

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