This is a follow-up to the question that discussed what to do when both the question and the answer are bad. My next question is what to do when the question is bad, but the answer is not.

Here is an example of one such question and answer. The question is closed as "too localized", and the answer is flagged as "not an answer". On one hand, I would agree that the answer is not definitive in any way; on the other hand, it has a decent probability of sending a reader in the right direction - after all, it helped the OP. That is why I would be hesitant to remove the answer.

What is the preferred course of action in this situation? Should I disregard the potential helpfulness and second the flag, or would it be better to dispute it?

  • 4
    My rule of thumb: Never delete useful content. But it still has to follow the guidelines; it can't be link-only, overly promotional, etc. – user102937 Feb 4 '13 at 18:53
  • It did help the questioner, but a good half of the answer is definitely too localized (the pathname), and the rest can qualify as generic advice (check your includes). – Frédéric Hamidi Feb 4 '13 at 18:53

I would not second that deletion flag, and would even dispute it, because I don't think the answer itself should be the target of a deletion. That said, I think the question itself is low-quality enough to be deleted.

As I said in comments, the answer did help the questioner but is very localized in itself. It being deleted along with the question does not look like a huge loss for the community. Therefore, its existence should not deter us from deleting the question.

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    That's kind of... contradictory. Deletion is deletion; whether it occurs directly, or as a consequence of a side effect, the outcome is the same. A better metric might be: is this post (in its entirety) likely to ever help anyone else? – user102937 Feb 4 '13 at 19:02
  • @Robert, you're right, I tried to make it sound more coherent but my English is failing me. In short, I don't think the answer deserves to be the target of a deletion, even though it's not good enough to discourage us from the deleting the bad question. The answer being deleted while the question remains would be the worst case here. – Frédéric Hamidi Feb 4 '13 at 19:03

We're optimizing for pearls, not sand.

Just because the question is terrible doesn't automatically make it a candidate to be removed. If there are answers that truly shine in it, then it should be kept around.

  • 3
    "awesome" is not a criteria. "Could conceivably help a number of people in the future" is. I'm not seeing any value in that Q or A, it's almost "I forgot a semicolon oops" – Jeff Atwood Feb 4 '13 at 19:20
  • You're right. Let me go ahead and rephrase that... – Makoto Feb 4 '13 at 19:22

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