Please refer to the following question (on SO):

How to list all the files changed by a perforce change list

One of the answers to the question was deleted and converted to a comment:

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Although many users might not be aware, this is a correct answer. I would even go on to say that is better than the accepted answer in the thread.

Unfortunately, it was converted to a comment.

The reference to the (deleted) answer can be observed in another answer:

enter image description here

and also in a comment:

enter image description here

Was it deleted simply due to the fact that to err is human? Was it removed because the reviewers without a minimal understanding voted to delete it?

EDIT: It is worthwhile to state that this was a first post (link to user's profile) and a late answer. So it would have featured in both the relevant review queues. Moreover, it might have appeared in the Low Quality Posts queue too given it's length.


2 Answers 2


Probably because it started with the word Probably.

  • 2
    Seriously now... answer should be definitive, if it's just a guess... it probably should not be an answer. Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 9:53
  • 13
    You seem to be ignoring the following two words probably the easiest.
    – devnull
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 9:54
  • 3
    @devnull you are probably right, I guess
    – Shai
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 9:55
  • @dev I wasn't the one to delete, just explain the motive. If the answer would have started with "The easiest..." good chances it wouldn't have been converted to comment. Moderators act on flags, and they have LOTS of flags. If they see short answer that appears to be more of a guess than actual answer, they'll push the red button. :) Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 9:55
  • 3
    Sounds odd to me. OP probably didn't want to sound too definitive while saying that this was the easiest way.
    – devnull
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 9:57
  • 9
    So this answer is another candidate of comment :) Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 9:58
  • 2
    That answer did not have much content, the moderator most probably acted in good faith. Elaborating a little more about what the solution does and why it's the easiest would probably have prevented this. Probably. Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 9:58
  • @devnull I agree it's a fair answer and shouldn't have been deleted. However it's not relevant now with this existing answer Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 9:59
  • @FrédéricHamidi Doesn't it imply that we tend to flag posts without a minimal understanding?
    – devnull
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 10:00
  • @devnull, depends, most of the time content problems can be addressed without full expertise on the topic. In addition, one or more flags might have prompted the moderator to delete the answer. Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 10:03
  • 1
    Nevertheless, this reminds me of another question: Shouldn't reviews be done a bit more carefully?
    – devnull
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 10:24
  • @devnull not relevant, most likely (oops... meant probably ;)) it wasn't part of review just a user who stumbled over that answer and decided to flag. Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 11:31
  • @ShaWizDowArd Probably. However, it's worthwhile to note that it was a late answer and a first post.
    – devnull
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 11:35
  • @devnull but it was deleted five months after being posted so unlikely it was flagged as part of review. Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 12:02
  • @ShaWizDowArd I don't have data to conclude anything. However, chances are that it'd have been flagged during review. Might have eventually achieved a certain number of flags for the mods to act.
    – devnull
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 12:04

As @ShaWizDowArd said, I'd suspect it's because the entire answer is "Probably the easiest way:" with absolutely no explanation of why that is "probably" the best way.

Code-only answers are discouraged on SO, because they offer no information in addition to the code. SO isn't a "Find me code I can copy/paste" site; it's a collection of information and knowledge, and that answer doesn't impart the knowledge to go with the code.

It's fine to think something is "probably the best way", but the answer also needs to explain why that's the case, and provide enough information to do so. I'd have flagged that as "Other", with a reason that it's a comment and not an answer as well.

  • 1
    I agree that code-only answers might be off-topic. However, when a command is all that's required to answer the question, I'm not sure if an elaborate explanation is needed.
    – devnull
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 12:09
  • 3
    @devnull: I didn't say "elaborate". :-) Some explanation other than "Probably the best way" is in order, though. Even if it's a command that's needed, an explanation of what the command does and a link to the documentation is helpful, especially to new coders (which are IMO the majority of question posters on SO). If the "answer" isn't worthy of that much effort, it's a comment. :-)
    – Ken White
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 12:27
  • Your answer would discourage me from posting an answer from my mobile. If I'm posting using mobile, its inevitable that I won't include links to RTFM (read the fantastic manual).
    – devnull
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 19:55
  • @devnull: Sorry, but posting from a mobile device doesn't alleviate the need to post a decent answer. If you can't do that, leave a comment instead. As I said, "Probably the best way" is not an answer, regardless of how you're accessing the site. You still need to provide a sufficient answer.
    – Ken White
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 22:43

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