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I was quite baffled by what happened yesterday. On Worldbuilding Stack Exchange there was a line of questions, revolving around alchemists and spoons. Given that it was quite fun, these became quite popular. However, one question has been deleted, probably because some people thought they'd have to exert control over the content. Well, I gave an answer which yielded me quite a lot of points... until the question was deleted, which caused me to lose all of them.

The question is this:

What is the reasoning behind punishing answerers for deleted questions? What if an additional aspect is that the question had 40 upvotes which indicates a publicly accepted good question, and was deleted by a moderator?

The points were granted, the questioneer may have gotten the answers he/she was looking for - everybody involved put in effort, and everybody was rewarded who earned it. And all of that can be undone arbitrarily at any time, as it seems (but let's ignore that).

Imagine you work 12 months, earned your paychecks, and then the business is shut down for whatever bureaucratic reason. Now the state is taking your 12 months of wage along with destroying the business - to "undo" your work.

How is this justified? Is the reasoning as simple and technical as "the system just counts existing answers and questions"?

marked as duplicate by Shadow Wizard discussion Aug 16 '18 at 7:57

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • When deleting off-topic questions, it's more like: "Imagine you commit crimes for 12 months, earn a lot of money illegally, and then the police nab you and take back all of that" – muru Aug 16 '18 at 10:00
  • @muru - Well, in some cases maybe. In some cases it's just overarching bureaucracy and state power which would have the same result. Like working as a barber, providing useful service, earning money - but then at some point the state asks for your barbing license, which you don't have. Thus your earnings are rendered "illegal" just as if you'd have mugged people. This was rather the case this time. – Battle Aug 16 '18 at 11:12
  • Funny, I cannot delete this question because others have invested time and effort into answering it. Ironic, isn't it? – Battle Aug 16 '18 at 14:11
  • Nope, since the OP of the question you're referring to certainly didn't delete their question. That particular reason is to prevent people from asking questions and then deleting as soon as they get an answer. Different crimes. – muru Aug 16 '18 at 14:27
  • @muru - Yet, the argument why it is unfair towards answerers is the exact same. And the reasons to why they do not deserve the reputation they earned is not applicable in this case. They put in effort - so did I - to a question which seemed fine (and worth answering!). So it comes to: It's evil if a thug is beating you, but it's good if a policeman is beating you? It boiled down to an appeal to authority. I have no issues when I get downvoted - fine, either what I wrote is bad, false or it's too dissident. But this procedure is just unfair, possibly even silly. Same crime, different authority. – Battle Aug 16 '18 at 14:41
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    nope. By answering off-topic questions, you're just encouraging the asker to post more off-topic questions. You can put in all the effort you want, but if you're putting it into crime or abetting crime, well, you get the punishment. – muru Aug 16 '18 at 15:17
  • I can sorta see the new user's point of view; they're on a new site, and they want to fit in. So they see a question and go, "Hey, I can answer that!", and they do. And the curation eventually closes and deletes it, and it feels like a punishment, since they've now lost whatever rep they gained from it. I don't think there's a really good solution to that; it takes a while to get a feel for where the borderline topics are, and they are often contentious. But we can't just let them sit, because as @muru said, it just encourages more of them. – fbueckert Aug 16 '18 at 15:53
  • @muru - Yet it turned out later unexpectedly that it was off-topic. It had 40 points, thus it was more than reasonable to assume it was a fine question. Sure, the minority of users may predicted that, but it's not a force of nature we are talking about. Also it's not hard to predict something if you can simply cause it yourself. -- Anyways, I would delete this question given that it draws negative votes for whatever reason (duplicate, disagreement?), but hey I can't, because: Double standards. I am truly disappointed. -fbueckert assessed my situation quite well. – Battle Aug 17 '18 at 8:18
  • I upvoted this question but I think the reason it gets downvoted is because it targets another question: why OP can delete his question and waste our time? which is downvote-worthy! – Bizhan Aug 18 '18 at 15:59

On Stack Exchange, you get reputation for visible contributions*. One of the reasons is that while an answer may be good (even though its score is probably inflated by the question being a Hot Network Question), it might not be on-topic for the site. I'm not an active member of the Worldbuilding community, but I know that there's a debate going on about these questions and some people there detest them with a passion. Bottom line: while you may have written a good answer, it might or might not be a good Worldbuilding answer. On the flipside, if enough users with 10k reputation vote to undelete that question, you will get your reputation back.

*: the exception is that you keep reputation for deleted posts with a score of 3 or higher and at least 60 days old.

  • It is worth noting that the question must be deleted by 10K-ers because due to the upvoted answer the OP couldn't have delete voted. Not sure if I would have high hopes in that case to have it undeleted by another troop of 10K-ers. – rene Aug 16 '18 at 7:58
  • I've seen that happen on Science Fiction & Fantasy. All it takes is two groups of high-rep users which (sometimes) disagree with each other. Just like a real democracy :) – Glorfindel Aug 16 '18 at 8:54

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