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I had a not-too-interesting answer on Stack Overflow, which was closed as duplicate after some clarification by OP.

After a day or so, OP (a ~700 reputation user) started complaining that the question turned into a "down vote magnet" (it just received three down votes in the first minutes and none afterwards). He asked me and another user to delete our posts, which I thought was not fair to the other user (with quite less reputation than me).

After some more complaints I just saw the question was deleted by a moderator, without a clue why. I guess OP flagged the post and asked the moderator to delete it.

This action seems unfair to users spending their time to compose an answer. It allows those asking poor questions to get away with no 'reputation penalty'.

That made me wondering if there is an official policy on this. Can posts 'just' be deleted on request? What are (or should be) the rules for questions to be deleted in this way?

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That made me wondering if there is an official policy on this. Can posts 'just' be deleted on request? What are (or should be) the rules for questions to be deleted in this way?

As a moderator elsewhere, I often process these "plz delete my [bad] question" flags.

I basically evaluate the following:

  • Is the question a good question for the site longer term?
  • Was it clearly a bad question (a lot of people answer questions which are both objectively and subjectively low quality)
    • Being closed/downvoted normally is a good indication of this

If a question fails both criteria, I will often delete the question. To be honest I have little sympathy for users who answer clearly bad questions (particularly when those users have a lot of site reputation).

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If a post isn't useful, it's appropriate to delete it. If the moderator felt that the question wasn't adding value to the site, it's more than appropriate for them to delete it.

You say the post was a duplicate. Was the duplicate in some way more discoverable than the original post? Did it have notably different terminology? Did it have a high view count? Were there a lot of inbound links to the post as a result of people sharing links to it? Unless the answer is "yes" to any of these questions, then the post isn't adding value, and it's more than appropriate to delete it. Given that the post attracted a lot of downvotes, it would appear that several other people concurred with the OP that the post was not a useful and valuable resource worth keeping around.

That you didn't gain reputation for answering a common and low quality duplicate and not actually providing anything of value as a result seems entirely appropriate. Hopefully you'll learn from this situation that you should focus your time and effort on quality questions that are going to be of value to other users, rather than just providing the same answers to common duplicates, which might get a few upvotes, but isn't actually helping people.

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    I agree on your answer mostly. I already pointed out it didn't gain "a lot of downvotes", three of them doesn't seem a lot to me. And I wasn't concerned at all about my own answer, so I don't think it is fair to do the "Hopefully you learn something" on me. The question was a bit unclear at the beginning and thus it received some downvotes. After a few clarifications. My answer somewhere in the middle of that wasn't a duplicate at time of writing. – Patrick Hofman Jun 30 '17 at 14:14
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    @PatrickHofman Three is enough to send a pretty strong signal in my eyes. Saying that you don't care, and that you don't intend to learn form this, does indeed make be a bit sad, but alas, I there isn't much for me to do about it. That you think the question is unclear would seem to support the position that it's not a useful signpost. – Servy Jun 30 '17 at 14:20

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