If you attempt to delete a question which has answers, you first see:

Clicking "Delete Question" pops up the following error banner:

This is problematic for two reasons. First, the "you can't do this" should appear when you first click "Delete" and not after "Delete-->Delete Question--> jk you can't."

Second, it provides users guidance to flag for a moderator to delete it. However, in many (most?) cases moderators actually do not delete questions in situations like this, even though the guidance explicitly calls it out.

My recommendation is to just remove the second half of this prompt. It would be nice to have better guidance, too, but the easiest solution is to just make the prompt say, "Sorry, this question has answers and cannot be deleted."

  • 2
    It should probably recommend editing as an alternative to deletion. – Cody Gray Aug 7 '16 at 14:01
  • Those are two different messages on two different levels. The first is not blocking, just a "friendly tip", which also doesn't check the answers score as far as I know. The second is the actual server side validation, checking for answer score at the time of pushing the button, so it really can't be removed. For example suppose a user spends few minutes on the page, and only then decides to click the "Delete Question" button. In those minutes, an answer got upvoted. What you suggest is that the deletion will fail without any message at all. Not a good idea IMO. – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Aug 7 '16 at 14:37
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    @ShadowWizard did you not read the suggestion? I am suggesting removing the "flag it for moderator attention instead" part of the second prompt, which doesn't change any functionality for how the validation occurs. – enderland Aug 7 '16 at 19:23
  • @CodyGray But then it would also have to point out blanking the question is not an option either! – Mark Hurd Aug 12 '16 at 4:12
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    Why can't the prompt be "Sorry, this question has answers and cannot be deleted. Please see how deleting works."? – Mathieu Guindon Aug 19 '16 at 17:03
  • @Meta'sMug IIRC, you can delete a question with answers if none of the answers are +1. – Der Kommissar Aug 19 '16 at 17:11
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    @EBrown yes. IMO the problem is that the message is telling users to custom-flag for moderator attention, and then the only thing a moderator will do is decline and provide a link to "how deleting works" - the custom flag part is useless. – Mathieu Guindon Aug 19 '16 at 17:13

We've changed the guidance on the red warning message. It now reads the following:

new warning for questions that cannot be deleted 'cause they have upvoted answers

And that link point to /help/deleted-questions, so here, on MSE.

That way, we're doing three things:

  1. Informing the user that the action cannot be taken;
  2. Informing the user why the action cannot be taken;
  3. Providing a link to more detailed information.

We also considered showing the red warning before the other one, thus reversing the order in which the checks are done, but decided against it: it still makes sense to warn the users on why we generally advise against deleting one's own posts, even if the particular instance at hand can't be deleted.

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  • Is this also done on MSE? – enderland May 8 '17 at 16:00
  • It was, indeed. – JNat May 8 '17 at 16:23
  • @enderland - do you have a reason to think otherwise? – Oded May 8 '17 at 18:52
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    @Oded I misunderstood the timing of the guidance. It only appears after the first dialog, I was expecting it to have replaced the first dialog (such as when I try to delete this question :-). – enderland May 8 '17 at 18:56

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