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I answered a question in a rush recently. For good or bad, the answer received a downvote quickly. I deleted the answer soon thereafter... but kept thinking about the question during the weekend.

Now I am at a point where I could write up a new answer - completely different content compared to what I wrote initially.

Is it legit to simply write up a new answer? Is it "mandatory" to un-delete that first answer, hoping that the downvoter (or somebody else) happens to come by and see the changed content?

For the record: I wrote up that new answer by now over here ... so decide for yourself if that answer is really "new" or should have better been a rewrite of the earlier attempt.

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  • 6
    One caveat is we have to be crystal clear that we're not talking about someone deleting/re-posting simply to get rid of down-votes. Mar 28, 2017 at 20:43
  • @RobertCartaino I added a link to that question. You can decide yourself now ;-)
    – GhostCat
    Mar 30, 2017 at 19:36

2 Answers 2

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Yes, definitely write a new answer.

Peoples votes on the old answer would still stand if you undeleted it, and if you did make sweeping changes to the point where the content is unrecognizable, then their votes really wouldn't be on the present content. It would be on the old version. (This goes for undeleting posts that have been upvoted, too - it really isn't fair to the voters or anyone else.)

Granted, when a post has been edited, people can reverse their votes. This is, as I said before, so the votes can be on the new content, not the old. However, if you've deleted a post and then waited a couple days, chances are good that the folks who voted on it aren't going to see it again, and so their votes likely won't change.

So, post a new answer - if you're sure that it's completely new and different. Be careful that you're not doing it to just avoid reputation loss; that's extremely unethical. However, it doesn't seem like that's what you're trying to do here.

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  • Is it worth reminding new users that deleted answers feed into answer bans, and so simply deleting more than about one may be unwise until their rep starts to build?
    – PolyGeo
    Mar 28, 2017 at 20:31
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    Wouldn't it be better to encourage users to improve their existing answers though? If an edit is not made, then the person who issued the vote, will never be given the chance to reverse their vote.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 28, 2017 at 20:44
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    @Ramhound: Just as with questions, that only makes sense when it's an improvement, not a completely different post. Mar 28, 2017 at 20:54
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    If a question had not recieved an answer I would encourage somebody to improve it, even if it meant, it was changed significantly. In the case of an answer, if the answer recieved a downvote, and was then deleted. The answer should be improved, and then undeleted, in my opinion. It sounds like we are talking about a single downvote anyways.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 28, 2017 at 21:03
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    "... the answer received a downvote quickly. I deleted the answer soon thereafter..." - question indicates a singular vote.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 28, 2017 at 22:50
  • @Ramhound I've added an answer which I think may be more inline with your thinking
    – PolyGeo
    Mar 28, 2017 at 23:33
  • I added a link to that question. You can decide yourself now (@Ramhound you are invited too ;-)
    – GhostCat
    Mar 30, 2017 at 19:37
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Since your "answer received a downvote quickly [and you] deleted the answer soon thereafter", I am assuming that your answer had only one downvote when you deleted it.

If you are a new user of a site, then in these circumstances, I think you will be unwise to permanently delete your answer because it is possible/likely that such a deletion will be fed into the algorithm that determines answer bans automatically.

One such deletion should be fine but I strongly advise against using this "quick fix" repeatedly.

Except in a few special circumstances, I think it is better to try and improve an answer rather than permanently delete it. Remember that you can make that improvement during a delete/undelete cycle so that it does not accrue additional downvotes in the meantime.

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