I just noticed someone who deleted their answer in the recent swag contest, apparently because being frustrated at not getting the swag yet.

I don't think that's a valid reason to delete the answer.

Since those are official events with actual impact, I don't think we should let users delete the answers themselves once the event is over. One way is to always lock (historical lock) the question, but then nobody will also be able to edit in order to fix typo or dead links, etc.

Another way is to add a line to the event announcement itself like "Please don't remove your answer(s) once the event ends", then if someone notice a self deleted answer, flag it for mod attention in order to have it undeleted.

Thoughts? Ideas?

  • I always thought historical locks were for questions that are now technically unsuitable for the site due to changing rules. For example, Stack Overflow has some historically-locked resource requests that were ok when posted and that received large numbers of upvotes back then. The text for the historical lock even says that the lock serves as a warning to future posters not to try a similar question. Historically locking a swag post would seem to imply that swag posts are now off-topic, which I don't think is the case. Mar 18, 2019 at 14:31
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    @RobertColumbia true for SO, but it can be tweaked here to be used for events that have ended. Text might change too, not sure it's technically possible though. Mar 18, 2019 at 14:35
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    What problem does the deletion cause? Generally if a user deletes their own answer, we respect that. Doubly so on Meta. They don't need any particular blessed "valid" reason.
    – jscs
    Mar 18, 2019 at 15:58
  • @Josh problem is e.g. event that gives swag to top 10 answers, then suddenly one of the winning answers disappear. The 11th answer author can claim they should have won, and it can cause confusion. Agree it's less of a problem when all answers win. This leads me to think of another aspect: votes... in the previous example, score can change after event is over, and it would become really hard to know the winners. So historical lock sounds like a good idea anyway. Mar 18, 2019 at 16:01
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    Let me turn this around: what valid reason do you think exists for disallowing someone to withdraw from a contest? Less importantly, it's a contest for some stupid website swag; it's not a billion dollars in the lottery. If there's a little bit of confusion, it's not a big deal.
    – jscs
    Mar 18, 2019 at 16:06
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    @Josh withdrawing while the contest is active is totally fine, no doubt. Problem is deleting a winning answer after event is over. Thinking in SO terms, it's like deleting a good answer (useful for others, positive score) just like that, on a whim. Mar 18, 2019 at 16:10

2 Answers 2


Eh. In most cases - I'm not sure it particularly matters.

OP will probably get their swag at the end of the day, and might change their mind. If not, it's a single answer out of many that's potentially an interesting historical artifact -only if you're an enthusiast of meta. There's not many of that.

Unlike deleting a good answer - I'm unsure of the practical value that a "fun" contest entry would have, on its own, to the collective knowledge - or more to the point for meta, culture of the site.

Letting the user delete the post, with minimal fuss, and maybe letting them cool down, feels like the optimal, least unhappy solution here.

I'd say in the situation - just leaving the post be is the best solution for all involved.


I think this is a generally worded question based on a single isolated occurrence and doesn’t need a general solution.

Rather than modifying future contest posts or workflows on the basis of this one event which hasn’t happened before and is not terribly likely to happen again, it would I feel be a better investment of attention to resolve the reason it occurred this time.

My own question after reading this post was, “Well, did they ever get their swag? Why was it delayed long enough they felt prompted to this response? Is there a general situation with long delays on swag being sent to contest winners?”

If there is no general issue with delays, I would say ignore this one occurrence. If there IS a general long delay, then handle that or improve communication to better handle expectations when laying out the contests, or both.

Beyond that, if someone feels strongly enough to want to delete their winning contest entry, I say fine, let them.

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    The swag is delayed due to the huge amount of winners. SE expected dozens and got hundreds of people to whom they have to send swag. It was communicated just fine this time, with the CM in charge (JNat) updating the users via chat and by edits to the swag post itself. Mar 18, 2019 at 22:59
  • @ShadowW Bad business decision if a sales is offered to ALL, and hundreds pay up for the goods, even if the business only expected a few "customers." The business is generally responsible, lacking any initial "fine print" to say otherwise, for dishing out the goods promised to those who "payed up". Surely you can cry and have a temper tantrum, if you have stake in the business, but don't change the rules mid-game. Accept a mistake was made; Learn from it;and move forward.
    – amWhy
    Mar 28, 2019 at 13:23

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