I'm on a team that develops APIs for developers to create apps within our platform. We thought Stack Overflow was an appropriate place to do Q&A specifically for programming questions about our platform. As a former moderator pro tempore on a SE beta site, I was frankly surprised that the question was deleted given the fact that (I thought) deletion was meant to be reserved for questions that actively harm the quality of the Stack Overflow community.
A question I asked and self-answered was deleted. The reason the moderator gave is:
This Q&A looks like it strays the wrong side of self-promotion.
With no further information or links to rules, I did some digging and discovered that I needed to disclose my affiliation (as of now, I have done so and flagged the question for further review).
Clearly this broke a guideline. However, I think it would have been more appropriate to close or put on hold with the chance to disclose my affiliation for the following reasons:
- The question and self-answer, as far as I can tell, follows the appropriate guidelines within the site
- The answer is useful, detailed, and even though it links to our documentation, self-contained
- My user profile across the Stack Exchange network gives no indication that I'm a spammer, nor does (IMO) the question
- The reason the mod knew about my affiliation at all is because I voted to close and flagged a question and mentioned in my flag comment that I was trying to help make sure my team didn't flood SO with inappropriate questions (clearly I wasn't trying to hide my affiliation)
Given the circumstances, I think there's a pretty reasonable argument to be made that my omission of disclosure was a mistake made in good faith. Nonetheless, the question was deleted with no existing close votes or downvotes. Because of how moderator deletion works:
- Arguably, the community-driven flow of Stack Overflow was circumvented because deletion ensured it was impossible for the appropriateness of the question to be a community-driven decision
- I could not ask questions in the comments for further clarification
- The only way to appeal the decision was to flag the question for futher review
Given how restrictive and powerful moderator deletion is, was this an appropriate time to use it? When is?