I read a lot about deleting the own posts, for example:

Under which circumstances should I delete my own question or answer
When should I delete my posts?
Should I delete my answers?

But I think I have a different scenario from the above questions.

In this question, I knew the answer right after the OP pointed where the line with the error was, via a comment, then I started writing my answer, when I published I saw that another user posted the answer in a comment to the question. Right after, the question received a downvote, probably because it is too localized or even because the OP didn't put any effort on it.

The OP accepted my answer as correct, okay so far. But I start wondering: maybe, the question is not useful for further visitors, and as the question has a downvote it can be eliminated from the SO forever after 30 days as per this topic says so.

So my doubt is, to keep my answer makes me a rep-whore? To delete it is of any benefit to SO? Maybe, should I delete it just after 30 days to make sure nobody else is going to answer it and make the questions to stay there forever? Should I flag the question to be deleted?

Considering that I want the best to the community, what should I do afterall?

  • 12
    You can't delete an accepted answer.
    – juergen d
    Apr 9, 2014 at 14:43
  • 1
    Well, this is an information I didn't know.
    – Math
    Apr 9, 2014 at 14:44
  • 2
    There's still a valid option: flag the question? And maybe an advice for me: don't answer fool questions, put the answer as a comment?
    – Math
    Apr 9, 2014 at 14:51
  • 2
    @Math Don't answer as a comment. Instead help the OP improve the question into one that is appropriate for the site by explaining the problems with it and how to go about improving it. If/when the question is edited into shape, to the point of being answerable, then answer it. Answering in comments isn't really better than answering in an answer.
    – Servy
    Apr 9, 2014 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


In this case, you could make that post useful to others. NPE is a common problem that most could probably figure out on their own with a quick search of reading the error log.

However, since they usually seem to not search for it, you could explain how you were able to come up with what the problem was. Edit the answer and explain how you got the line number, class, variable information, etc... then other who search for a NullPointerException may see this and learn some debugging skills.

For example, this is an answer of mine where I did just that.

Doing this will take a very localized question and make it helpful to many others. Obviously, this question could have been improved before answering (as Servy mentioned) or probably closed as a duplicate of many other NPEs but since it is already answered and accepted that would be my advice.

  • 2
    Given the way the question is written writing such a response is likely to be a waste of time as nobody will ever find the question to read the answer (as it'll be hidden in a sea of other almost duplicate questions, many of which will have a lot more Google Juice than this page), even if the answer would be general enough to be applicable to them.
    – Servy
    Apr 9, 2014 at 15:11
  • @Servy good point on that. I was thinking more of if they searched for "NullPointerException" on SO itself then someone might come across it since it is in the title. Maybe that still wouldn't be any different though?
    – codeMagic
    Apr 9, 2014 at 15:14
  • Humm, I was editing my answer.. maybe I'll wait one day or two until we make up our minds.
    – Math
    Apr 9, 2014 at 15:15
  • There are a lot of questions about null pointer exceptions on SO. As I said, this question would be hidden in a sea of other very similar questions. While it's certainly possible for others to find it, the odds are very low.
    – Servy
    Apr 9, 2014 at 15:16
  • @Servy shouldn't we flag them as duplicated so? Would that make any difference?
    – Math
    Apr 9, 2014 at 15:18
  • @Math By all means, go ahead and flag it as a duplicate of a canonical NRE question.
    – Servy
    Apr 9, 2014 at 15:19

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