Often after asking a question, the OP realizes that he made a mistake asking the question. Then the question starts getting downvotes and they might be reasonable too. What should I do as an OP to the question? Editing the question is an option; but if the question is really a bad question, we can't improve it by editing unless we ask a totally different question editing the original one. So in that case, if the question itself is outright wrong, what should I do to make it a better question to serve the community?

  • If you're worried about down-votes, delete the question (so that no more downvotes will be counted). Update the question (you can do that, since you are OP) and then undelete it once you think you've made proper edits.
    – hjpotter92
    Oct 10, 2013 at 6:37
  • 2
    @hjpotter92 note that deleting downvoted question has major weight towards question ban. In case of honest mistake the OP can flag the question, choose "Other", explain it's a mistake and ask to disassociate the question from his account then it can be deleted safely. Oct 10, 2013 at 6:42
  • @ShaWizDowArd, Nice trick. you should add this as an answer.
    – Mistu4u
    Oct 10, 2013 at 6:44
  • @hjpotter92: You won't be able to delete downvoted question if it has answers.
    – SigTerm
    Oct 10, 2013 at 6:46
  • @SigTerm only upvoted answer. Even with 10 answers, if all have score of 0 or less, the OP can delete the question. Oct 10, 2013 at 6:49
  • make an edit. improve your question by following the StackOverflow question checklist and when all that is done you can come here to meta and possibly ask people if there is anything else you can do to improve your question; some people who think your question is good as it stands will upvote it helping you reverse the down votes ;)
    – user221081
    Oct 10, 2013 at 7:04
  • I think the safe way would be to abstain of asking further questions until you figure why it was downvoted and how you can avoid this to happen again
    – gnat
    Oct 10, 2013 at 7:46
  • @gnat , It was a honest mistake by me. I did not understand that the question was going to be a wrong one. A donwvoter commented on the post and I realized the error.
    – Mistu4u
    Oct 10, 2013 at 7:54
  • @Mistu4u if 1) deleting the question is allowed to you (it has no answers) and if 2) it's the first time happening to you and if 3) you're positive that you understand how to avoid this in future then deletion looks like the way to go. If you've got #2 and #3 but not #1, take a look at another MSO question - The “I Get It” Reputation Problem
    – gnat
    Oct 10, 2013 at 8:00
  • 1
    All this delete advice plays poorly with the ban system.
    – Rosinante
    Oct 10, 2013 at 11:42

3 Answers 3


If it was really an honest mistake e.g. trivial syntax error you missed and saw yourself shortly after posting, you can follow those steps to avoid risk of getting question ban:

  1. Flag your own question and choose Other.
  2. Explain you did an honest mistake and ask to disassociate the question from your account.
  3. Moderator might or might not agree. Be patient and don't flag again.
  • If it's not salvageable, delete it.
  • If you can make edits sufficient to make it useful and keep within the spirit of the original question, delete it, edit it, then undelete it (to prevent additional downvotes while you are editing).
  • Otherwise, if the question is honestly different from the original question, delete that one and start a new question.

Bottom line: delete the question (even if just temporarily), then decide what to do about it. You can see your self-deleted answers, and undelete them at will, so don't worry about deleting it would make it gone forever (nothing ever really leaves the Internet).


If it's a bad question that's not making the internet a better place, then you should delete it.

If too many of your questions are bad, you won't be allowed to ask any more, but no one's perfect all the time. As long as you contribute positively overall you shouldn't worry about removing the occasional dud.

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