I just gave this answer to a question, but it was deleted by a moderator, because my initial answer was a placeholder answer, that I posted in order to be able to answer the question, even if it got locked.

Now that my answer is no longer a placeholder, how should I proceed?

  1. Add a new answer to the question?
  2. Flag the answer to be undeleted?
  3. Forget about it and leave the question un-answered?

Please advice on the appropriate way to act, because I am fairly new to SO, and I am not familiar with the ethics.

Note: The answer has now been undeleted. I edited the question to better fit the answers.

  • 5
    Please do not just write "try this". It's no better than posting the code alone. Can't you explain why your answer works at all? Maybe what's happening in there? No one is going to learn from copying and pasting code that someone else has written. (This is an entreaty to your conscience not official site policy) – ben is uǝq backwards Feb 5 '13 at 19:34
  • @benisuǝqbackwards Ok I will add a few lines to explain how it works. Thanks for the tip. – user000001 Feb 5 '13 at 19:36
  • @NicolBolas see my comment to the answer below – user000001 Feb 5 '13 at 22:32

While @juergend nicely describes why answering with Placeholder in case it gets locked. Working on the solution. is abusing the system, there is a non-abusive approach to answering a question you feel is valid.

Remember that closing a question is not the end of question since it can be re-opened. Once reopened you can then add your answer.

To reopen a question you can try the following

First edit or propose an edit to the question making sure that your edit makes it

  1. Not a duplicate
  2. On topic
  3. Would be interesting to someone outside of the OP
  4. Is answerable in our Q/A format.

Also improve it by

  1. Fixing up spelling and grammar problems.
  2. Improve the formatting
  3. Make sure you have the right tags.
  4. Remove anything that detracts from the question I wanted to know the Java code... probably contributed to its negative response.

Once you've done that it will automatically go into the reopen queue. If you have the rep you can also vote to reopen. Be patient and check back periodically.

If that doesn't work you can still take it to the meta chat room Posse Comitatus and state your case there. Be patient and check back periodically.

If that doesn't work you can flag it as other and explain why you think it should be opened. Be patient and check back periodically.

Finally you can bring your case to meta and explain why you think it should be reopened.

As an aside, I think what this question was asking was fine when I compare it to recent questions tagged . I would look at those questions like those below and try and model my edits to make it similar.

  • Thank you for the info. I didn't know neither about the Posse Comitatus, nor that edited posts automatically go to the reopen queue. That is very helpful. Accepting this answer because it explains what you should do when you feel that a question can be saved. – user000001 Feb 5 '13 at 21:57
  • @user000001 it took me a while to find as well. I used it for the first time a couple of weeks ago – Some Helpful Commenter Feb 5 '13 at 22:04

You saw that the question got downvotes and maybe gets closed and you still wanted to answer. So you placed a placeholder answer with no content to place a dummy answer before it got closed. (Because after closing no answers can be added)

That is wrong and abusing the system. Please don't do that in the future.

If the question is about to be closed, it is for a good reason and should not be answered. Otherwise that would just motivate users to ask bad questions because they still get answers even if closed.

  • Ok good point. I just felt sorry for the poor guy that was asking the question and got the downvotes. I won't do it again. – user000001 Feb 5 '13 at 19:41
  • 3
    I know the feeling. But to keep the site's standard high we have to tell such users politly how to improve their questions to avoid closing. – juergen d Feb 5 '13 at 19:46

To clarify for others: short placeholder answers are good, because they help us get information and solutions out faster... but only if the placeholder has real content that does answer the question. You can post a brief placeholder answer and flesh it out via edits, but that original post needs to be able to stand on it's own in case something happens and you aren't able to finish an edited version.

With that in mind, it should be obvious that if you post a placeholder answer that does not have real content, the most likely result is that it will be downvoted, flagged, and possibly deleted.

  • 1
    Why was his answer undeleted ? His placeholder was an abuse of the system, irrespective of the fact whether he later on got an answer on not. By restoring his answer, are we not supporting abuse ? – asheeshr Feb 6 '13 at 1:59
  • Don't know... I wasn't involved – Joel Coehoorn Feb 6 '13 at 2:25
  • I was asking for your opinion as you are a Mod as well. Bart is not involved in any conversation in this page, so its not possible to ask him directly. – asheeshr Feb 6 '13 at 2:28
  • I'm only a mod on meta... but I'd say it was undeleted because after the edit it was correct. A mod doesn't always see the whole history of what happened, and keeping it deleted would punish the asker and the community more than the answerer. – Joel Coehoorn Feb 6 '13 at 2:32
  • @AshRj Probably it got undeleted because at the time I corrected the answer, the question had not been closed yet. This is just a guess though. – user000001 Feb 6 '13 at 7:46
  • 1
    As it is the system can be gamed, and we should not encourage more of it, which is what has in fact happened here, IMHO. – asheeshr Feb 6 '13 at 8:01
  • @AshRj Yes but you can't really prevent someone from answering before a question gets closed. Probably the only solution would be to disable edits to answers after they get locket... – user000001 Feb 6 '13 at 8:04
  • @AshRj; Bart wasn't involved in undeleting the answer If you look at the post history it was undeleted by Bill... – ben is uǝq backwards Feb 6 '13 at 8:50

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