I recently had an answer deleted due to the fact that someone saw it as a question.

I understand the need for deleting answers that are like questions, but clearly my answer was not a question, it was merely an explanation of a similar problem, that could pose as a solution.

Now I wanted to send a message to the guy who deleted my answer, so that I could help perhaps change the answer into a less "misunderstanding" layout.

Is this possible or is it not allowed?

  • I followed the ask question guide - found some tags that is about my question and posed my question, just discarding it and giving it minus points is not really helpful
    – serup
    Mar 9, 2014 at 6:40
  • 4
    @serup The problem is that even you are describing it as a question. The "how to ask" guide is irrelevant if you are posting an answer. Other people probably saw it as a question for the same reasons you are talking about it as a question.
    – elixenide
    Mar 9, 2014 at 6:59
  • 3
    To discuss this issue concretely, please provide a link to the Question you answered. It's also possible to format your Answer anew, avoiding the format of asking a similar problem (which seems prone to misinterpretation).
    – hardmath
    Mar 9, 2014 at 7:00
  • If you think the answer was deleted by mistake, flag it for moderator attention and explain why. You can also post link here and we can give our own advice if it should be undeleted or not. Mar 9, 2014 at 8:41
  • Not so sure your answer was clearly not a question, since if that were clear, it shouldn't have been flagged, much less deleted...Maybe you'd be better off just salvaging what content you can from the deleted answer and rewriting it as an answer with zero question marks or question words. Mar 9, 2014 at 12:28
  • The thing to do is to edit your answer so that it doesn't seem like a question, then flag it, explain what you've done, and ask for it to be undeleted.
    – ale
    Mar 9, 2014 at 17:01

3 Answers 3


I believe this is in reference to this answer. That answer was flagged by 9 users as not being an actual answer, and removed by a moderator.

The problem was that the wording of

I had similar problem with C::B and found that the problem is more than just compiler paths - it seems that the IDE itself had problems opening #include <...> files -- this however could be solved by Settings -> Editor -> Other settings -> use encoding when opening files : default

my encoding was not on default, and this somehow caused problems for the IDE to open include <...>

It however did NOT solve the problem with "was not declared in this scope"

makes it at first glance look like a "me too" response, which we often see when people are having the same problem and are leaving answers that don't actually solve the problem. The last line of the above, in particular, was what probably caused people to flag this.

However, I can see how you're adding something that worked to solve part of the problem for you, so I've undeleted that answer.

In general, if you've had a flagged answer deleted and you believe it to be a mistake, either leave a flag on that answer (I believe you can show your deleted posts in your user profile), or flag one of your other posts and explain what you think went wrong. We'll take a look into it and be able to undelete your answer if needed.

  • Yes I can see why it was deleted - I will try and formulate my answers in a more precise way in the future!
    – serup
    Mar 10, 2014 at 15:25

Now I wanted to send a message to the guy who deleted my answer

Not currently possible.

It is rarely the case that answers are deleted by a "guy" in the singular. It usually requires multiple people (3 to 6, depending on circumstances and the reputation of those flagging) to all agree that your answer is worth deleting. See this answer for the details.

The issue of allowing the user at the receiving end of a deletion to communicate with the people who made the decision has come up before on Meta. (Can't readily find a link now.) The problem is that if SO implements such communication mechanism, it will most likely mean that people who have the power to flag answers that should be deleted will stop flagging because they won't want to have in their notifications the complaints or the explanations of those whose answers were deleted. Maybe there was a mistake in your case (hard to tell without seeing your answer) but in most case flags are raised for clear cut issues like answers that say only "Thanks!" or "I'm having this problem too! Help!". Even receiving "I'm sorry." messages from people who figured out they did something wrong right away would get old fast.

So flagging for moderator attention is the means to get this kind of issue resolved.


It seems to me (after reviewing Answers on a couple of SE sites) there is a tendency among new users to confuse the Questions button at top left on pages with the Ask Question button to the top right.

Intending to ask a question, they will occasionally hit the Questions button. Presented with a raft of previously asked Questions, the conclusion is jumped to: I should add my problem to one of those related to mine.

Of course such a simple misunderstanding ought to be avoided. Perhaps new users should not be allowed to post an Answer until they have been presented with a pop-up that suggests fairly strongly to visit the Help Center and take "the Tour".

I don't know if that's the case with the OP in this instance, but they seem to believe they "followed the ask question guide". Perhaps they can provide some insight about what led to this confusion.

  • Are you answering to me? or are you asking a new question? its not really clear to me. I however disagree with sending a newbee to visit a tour - why not help him straight there - this is what this site is al about isnt it?
    – serup
    Mar 9, 2014 at 7:19
  • compulsory tour is good for SE!!! Which will avoid some common mistake like "posting the comment in answer"...etc!
    – Bala
    Mar 9, 2014 at 7:26
  • @serup: I am happy to [set?] you straight here or there. But I'm also concerned about a wider audience of new users. I'm glad you are following the discussion, and as noted above, I invite you to explain why you thought posting a Question in the Answer box was appropriate. Did you think that asking a similar problem would serve as an Answer to an existing one? I've got an open mind that this might be so, but I've not seen the specifics. Generally speaking an Answer in the form of a Question only works on a certain television show.
    – hardmath
    Mar 9, 2014 at 7:26
  • @Bala remember that newbies do not have right to comment. So if they wish to participate to somebody's question they have to use answear. Mar 9, 2014 at 7:32
  • Just to put it plain again - I did not ask a question - I answered a question and it was interpreted by someone else as another question
    – serup
    Mar 9, 2014 at 7:45
  • @serup: In your earlier Comment: "I followed the ask question guide - found some tags that is about my question and posed my question, just discarding it and giving it minus points is not really helpful." (emphasis added) Do you do see the confusion caused by your own words?
    – hardmath
    Mar 9, 2014 at 7:49
  • Yes I can see that is confusing - you see the first part was an answer that was deleted, then I asked a question about that and that one was moved to meta stackoverflow from stack overflow -- getting confusing - remember I am a newbee trying to fit in ;-)
    – serup
    Mar 9, 2014 at 7:51
  • 2
    @serup: This MetaStackOverflow site is for discussion "about" the StackOverflow site -- for example, how do Answers get deleted? It's a reasonable Question, and you should feel that moving it to Meta was a good thing, allowing it to be linked to previous discussions about that. The specifics of your Answer that was mistaken for a Question, well, I don't know what to say without seeing the details. It would help if you provided a link to the Question.
    – hardmath
    Mar 9, 2014 at 8:01

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