Why aren't answers held to the same rules as questions?

Answers can only be flagged, or voted upon. We see many examples of new-to-Stack Overflow-users posting comments, questions, and follow-ups as answers to their own questions. Why can't we vote to delete as "Not a valid Answer," or other reasons?

I don't think downvotes should be the solution here, as I'm not a fan of punishing the many new-to-Stack Overflow-users who unknowingly do these types of things.

Possible Restrictions:

  • You must have 3k rep to vote for answer-deletion.
  • You cannot delete an answer that has +2 upvotes.
  • In my case, I downvoted because I don't think we should be able to do this. – devinb Aug 25 '09 at 14:13
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    Insert rant of how meta discourages feedback – Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 14:21
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    "Stop thinking my opinions are wrong! I'm guaranteed the right of freedom of expression so you have to accept my ideas!" ffffffffffff Hippies! I'm covered in hippies! They're biting my shins and elbows with their sharp vegetarian teeth optimized for biting carrots and cucumbers and other long, cylindrical, hard vegetables. Get them off of me! I don't deserve this. – Welbog Aug 25 '09 at 14:24
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    @Welbog, Vegan teeth. Sharpened for eating nuts and seeds. They can also crack coconuts on their own foreheads. – devinb Aug 25 '09 at 14:27
  • @Jonathan: If you can't close answers with more than 2 upvotes, then why are you concerned? They will already be near the bottom of the list. – devinb Aug 25 '09 at 14:28
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    Answers aren't always sorted by votes. And an invalid answer at the bottom of the list is still an invalid answer. I'm not a fan of isolating noise to the bottom of the page - I'm a fan of eliminating it altogether :) – Sampson Aug 25 '09 at 14:30
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    Why on earth would someone who is offended by down votes not be offended if you vote to delete their answer? – GEOCHET Aug 25 '09 at 14:35
  • Downvotes remove reputation. A deletion does not. – Sampson Aug 25 '09 at 14:36
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    Why can't we downvote comments? ;-) – Wim ten Brink Aug 25 '09 at 14:43
  • If you're going to put those restrictions on it, shouldn't there be a time limit as well? Wouldn't be hard to have an answer deleted before it was even given the chance to be upvoted. Either way, downvoting an answer works just fine, then the user can just delete it to save himself the reputation cost. – Brandon Aug 25 '09 at 14:48
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    Deleting a question certainly does remove reputation. It removes 100 reputation. Why would an answer be any different? – GEOCHET Aug 25 '09 at 14:49
  • This is like saying "I don't want to hurt new driver's feelings by issuing them a ticket for disobeying traffic laws, instead I just want to impound their car." – GEOCHET Aug 25 '09 at 14:55
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    OH NO! Someone has decremented my arbitrary number by two! How will I go on! – GEOCHET Aug 25 '09 at 14:57
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    Argument Rulebook Entry #1: When in trouble with standing your ground on an argument, ignore all responses and concentrate on anything you can try to express as 'immature' or 'sarcastic'. Ignore logic and assume that somehow invalidates the other person's argument or further validates your argument. Never actually debate the points, just cry about your unfair treatment in the hands of humor. – GEOCHET Aug 25 '09 at 16:43
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    Argument Rulebook Entry #2: When your argument is all out of steam, keep spamming the same gibberish, nonsense, straw man arguments. If no one can understand what the hell you are talking about, you win! – GEOCHET Aug 25 '09 at 17:35

Wouldn't this just open up the site to abuse? You could find a really good answer, copy it and then vote to close the "duplicate" original in favour of your own? I don't see the value in this feature. Downvoting an answer rather than voting to close it allows people to see good and bad answers in an argument, if you close all the bad answers, you have no contrast to learn from.

Also, closing a question means closing it for further answers, and in some cases, results in the question being deleted (if it's not real or not programming related for example - SO-wise). What does closing an answer do? Stop it being edited?

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    Surely you don't think a single user will have the authority to delete an answer? – Sampson Aug 25 '09 at 14:15
  • I'm sure someone that vindictive can fake a few other accounts or get some friends in on it. It's not unprecedented. – Jeff Yates Aug 25 '09 at 14:20
  • That type of behavior can already take place. That's what we have algorithms in place, for detecting who is doing what. – Sampson Aug 25 '09 at 14:24
  1. It's not as common for answers to be off-topic.
  2. When answers are off-topic, spam flags, downvotes and moderator attention whinings are good enough.
  3. This is pretty much what downvotes are for.
  4. Vampires (filling in my bold quota for this answer to guarantee acceptance)

Picture of a vampire, as the commenters required it:


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    I was going to add my own answer, but I realized that you'll just strategically downvote it, so I'll just upvote yours. Yours was the fastest anyway. – Bill the Lizard Aug 25 '09 at 14:15
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    Here's some context for anyone who happens upon this months from now and mistakenly thinks my comment above is serious: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/17204/… – Bill the Lizard Aug 25 '09 at 14:17
  • 5. Profit! – perbert Aug 25 '09 at 14:17
  • Don't worry, Bill. No-one thinks you are serious! – Ladybug Killer Aug 25 '09 at 14:18
  • @John: I can't take that chance. :) – Bill the Lizard Aug 25 '09 at 14:18
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    +1 Showing my support for fellow Vampires :) – BinaryMisfit Aug 25 '09 at 14:19
  • @Bill the Lizard ♦: That's know to have happen. – perbert Aug 25 '09 at 14:20
  • @Bill I'm very disappointed in your accusations, especially from a man in your position. – Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 14:20
  • +1 MS Paint bloodsucker – perbert Aug 25 '09 at 14:24
  • @Welbog: That looks nothing like @wood! – GEOCHET Aug 25 '09 at 14:34
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    @Rich B: My fault. I requested a vampire, not the Vampire. – Ladybug Killer Aug 25 '09 at 14:36
  • +1 for the vampire pic, -1 because I can't recognise it as vampire. +1 for taking the efford, net worth +1. Congressatiolations or whatever. :-) – Wim ten Brink Aug 25 '09 at 14:45
  • lol @ "bold quota" – Rob Aug 25 '09 at 14:48
  • @Alex: -1 to you for not being able to spell a simple word like 'effort'. – GEOCHET Aug 25 '09 at 14:51
  • Hey, there are plenty of errors in this post and all you notice is efford? :-) – Wim ten Brink Aug 25 '09 at 17:06

I think this is kind of completed,

since users with 20k+ user can vote to delete answers with score of -1 or lower




Downvote, post a comment saying "this is a comment, not an answer" and instruct the user to edit their Question or whatever needs to be done. A downvote is not punishment. Deleting their content would be punishment.

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    Man, I wish more people would think like this and stop being crybabies about down votes. – GEOCHET Aug 25 '09 at 15:16

Downvotes are the way to get rid of answers.

The reason that questions need close/delete votes and systems is that they occupy clog up the front page and they are the basis of the site. It makes sense that there would be systems in place for this. For answers, you just downvote the person into oblivion.

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  • I don't think down-voting a new user is a great way to make them feel welcomed. Especially if they don't yet know how to use the system. – Sampson Aug 25 '09 at 14:19
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    If downvotes offend enough to stop someone using the site, perhaps they have other issues to attend to before interacting with the big wide world. – Jeff Yates Aug 25 '09 at 14:21
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    Jonathan, closing and deleting their answers would make them feel just as unwelcome. As long as you downvote and comment, or perhaps comment only, then they'll still be able to grow from what they are told. The "closing/deleting" aspect will not help with this. It does not add anything extra. – devinb Aug 25 '09 at 14:24
  • Deleting an answer should not hurt their reputation. – Sampson Aug 25 '09 at 14:31
  • @devinb: +1 I hear way more vehement arguments regarding the closing of people's questions than the down votes on them. With down votes you only get whiny little cry babies asking "Why the downvote?" in the comment of every post they get down voted on. – GEOCHET Aug 25 '09 at 15:14

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