Is there a way to encourage users to answer their questions if they've found an answer, rather than deleting the question. For instance, its owner deleted this question:

It wasn't a terrible question (is there a function for performing non-blocking I/O in this particular implementation of Scheme) and the answer isn't easy to find, and the kinds of things that come up in a search (like the mailing list post I linked to) actually strongly suggest that the sort of thing the user is looking for doesn't exist. The user, based on the comment, did find a solution, so it would be all that much nicer to have an answer.

Typically, I'd post a comment asking the owner to post and accept an answer so that other users would benefit from it, since the answer isn't obvious. Since the question is deleted though, I can't do that. I did vote to undelete the question, but I'm not clear whether there's anything else that can be done. It's obviously not appropriate to ask the user about it in comments on other questions, and I don't even know whether the user can get back to the question, now that it's deleted and the user has fewer than 10k reputation.

What's the best practice here?

  • 1
    Well, if people do it too much they can question ban themselves, but that's not really a particularly good solution to the problem in most cases.
    – Servy
    Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 2:42
  • 3
    How about showing a prompt to inform the user that if he/she can post his/her solution instead of deleting it?
    – Alvin Wong
    Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 3:08
  • @Servy as you say, that's not particularly helpful in this case. Even if the user didn't answer the question, the user's comment could have helped somebody else post a useful answer. I don't mind that the user didn't post an answer, but that an interesting question, with the nice comments to point to an answer, isn't going to be answered by anyone now. Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 3:53
  • I like @AlvinWong's suggestion. Maybe if the question has a non-negative score and the user's attempting to delete it, we can show a dialog saying, "Were you able to answer your own question? If so, please consider [answering your own question](link) so that others can benefit from your findings!" The link would simply close the dialog and bring the user to the answer-your-own-question template. Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 5:00
  • 2
    @AlvinWong that of course assumes people actually read dialogs that appear on screen. Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 5:22


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