I am talking about this answer by SE staff member Juan M.

Obviously, many community members aren't happy about that answer (right now: 660 downvotes). But what caught my attention:


Specifically: the two delete votes that have been cast for that answer.

So, simply wondering, from a "formal" point of view: is deleting that answer within the rules/practices of MSE, or are these two votes merely another expression of disagreement?

  • 21
    Wait, are you telling me that delete votes aren't super downvotes? Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 13:15
  • 5
    @MartinTournoij No, I want you to tell me that delete votes are super downvotes. Ok, seriously: I just made the 20K step here, and I am really eager to do my first delete vote. But: I find it counterintuitive to delete that answer. The people who cast their downvote wanted to express their disagreement, and who am I to push all these votes into the garbage bin?!
    – GhostCat
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 13:17
  • 10
    Nope there isn't. I'll see about monkey wrenching the delvotes later Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 13:18
  • I think iBug's answer works Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 13:31
  • 3
    Are we abusing our delete votes on Meta? "delete votes hanging around on controversial answers are somewhat counter-productive, even if they don't actually result in the post being deleted..." (hat tip to the author of this quote)
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 13:39
  • 8
    I’ve seen this now-deleted comment on that answer: “Been thinking about this since it was posted...since this a) doesn't actually answer the question and b) pretty clearly is words being put into Juan's mouth, I'm voting to delete. Let whoever made this decision/wrote this come say it themselves.” Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 13:42
  • Related: is there a reason for the censorship of all comments posted below that answer? Who is doing the censoring this time?
    – Lundin
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 15:30
  • 1
    I hope the answer stays. It's something to look back on if this fiasco ever comes to an end. Juan must have at the very least hit the submit button right? If someone else wrote it, I say keep the down votes and change the user.
    – dustytrash
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 15:37
  • 1
    @user289905 But of course, the person who ordered those words to be written down, that person won't show up here. So I prefer to keep that statement right where it is.
    – GhostCat
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 19:34
  • If we end up deleting contributions just because we don't like them, we probably are only a small step away from being the Great Chinese Firewall (is it still called like this). Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 19:45
  • @Trilarion More input for philosophical discussions. There is still a big difference between angry community members using the 1% of power they have left (to delete vote a "company" post) out of frustration ... compared to massive, holistic, systematic efforts to spy on every aspect your online existence, and of course immediately sanction any "bad" behavior. I think there is more than a small step between these things.
    – GhostCat
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 20:04
  • @Ghostcat Luckily I said "If ..." so it's clear the statement doesn't apply directly. But yeah, you're right, I exaggerated a bit. I apologize. However, the delete votes are wrong. Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 20:32
  • Hmm, it's got 2 delete votes again. Not me this time!
    – jscs
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 0:12
  • @JourneymanGeek see above comment ^ maybe time for another delete/undelete? Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 19:41

6 Answers 6


While it's vastly unwelcomed by the community as indicated by its votes, I see no valid reason to delete it. It remains as an official response and thus should be kept.

Perhaps it's an appropriate occasion for a ♦ mod to delete-and-undelete it just to clear the pending delvotes.

  • 12
    Journeyman Geek has now done exactly as you suggest. 👍 Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 13:40

No, this is an abuse of delete votes.

Some people seem to treat them as "super downvotes".

They are not.

These people forget that their "another expression of disagreement" is also an active attempt to remove/destroy the thing they disagree with, which is called bigotry.

  • 1
    Completely agree, but FWIW this was not my reason.
    – jscs
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 18:56
  • We have had a request to start a C++ community on TopAnswers, for people who aren't so happy contributing on SE any more for whatever reason. We'd be very happy to do that if we can get at least two or three more people interested in joining a private beta for a few weeks to get the site rules in place before launching publicly. Are you interested? Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 20:44

Users who voted to delete the post need to understand that they're making the situation worse. We as a community need to know opinions of the company's employees and need to see how the community grades their posts just to make well informed decisions.

We have already lost a big part of history when two posts with more than 2000 downvotes each were deleted. Most users can no longer see what the employees said in them and how the community reacted. Let's not make it worse by deleting even more posts.

  • 2
    Exactly my thoughts.
    – GhostCat
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 19:34
  • This is fair. I did consider this point, but perhaps didn't give it enough weight.
    – jscs
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 19:52
  • 1
    "opinions of the company's employees " I think you should rephrase that. This answer is more likely something "official" which its author was told to write; that does not mean it's the general opinion of all SE employees.
    – Jenayah
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 19:57
  • @Jenayah If it's written by a company's employee, it's opinion of somebody within the company. If the word "employee" excludes some positions, I'm open to suggestions.
    – Athari
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 20:05
  • Well it's rather the reverse IMO, it's too inclusive (I don't think the answerer agrees to what's written in that specific case, but that's not the point). As for a better term: management? Decision-makers? Higher-ups?
    – Jenayah
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 20:10
  • 1
    @Jenayah Now you're assuming the post's author doesn't agree with what's written in it, is forced by the company's management, and all other employees, except for higher ups, don't agree with it. That's way more assumptions than in my post.
    – Athari
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 20:30
  • I'm not saying your post implies all that; that is indeed my own view of the situation, though contrary to what you said I'm not assuming only higher-ups agree with it. How about replacing the "opinion" phrasing with something around the lines of "we need to know the company's official stance"? That removes the grey area of who inside SE staff agrees or doesn't agree, and is fairly plain: regardless of who wrote it, of who posted it, of who likes it, that answer is SE's official stance now.
    – Jenayah
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 20:38

For what it's worth...in general I absolutely agree with Lightness that delete votes get over/abused on Meta for "I think this is wrong", and they shouldn't be.

As you can see now from the post's timeline, I cast one of those delete votes. When I did so, I thought it was important to give a reason, and "I disagree" wasn't it. I left this comment, which was later deleted:

Been thinking about this since it was posted...since this a) doesn't actually answer the question and b) pretty clearly is words being put into Juan's mouth, I'm voting to delete. Let whoever made this decision/wrote this come say it themselves.

One of the MSE mods deleted and then undeleted the answer, essentially vetoing its deletion.

I stand by my reasoning and my vote, but I'm also fine with the outcome. I didn't figure everyone would agree with me.

  • 2
    "Let whoever made this decision/wrote this come say it themselves." You know perfectly well that's not how it works.
    – Mast
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 18:50
  • 6
    I can't change that by sitting on my hands, @Mast.
    – jscs
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 18:52

Down votes are for bad answers.

Delete votes are for answers that are actively detrimental to understanding. No matter how bad SE's corporate answers are, they are crucial to understanding the thought process of corporate leadership, especially as other avenues of communication have been cut off. As such, I'd say that while that answer deserves all of the down votes it can get, it should absolutely not be deleted.

If for no other reason, than in some bright future, here or otherwise, we want to be able to look back and point those answers and say:

"Never Again."


Current practice on meta is to have moderators delete everything left and right that might be seen negative. This is also the company's approved/demanded way of handling things.

It is not all too surprising if users start to follow that guidance and example.

There is no good reason to delete the post in question, but neither are there good reasons for the deletion of many of the thousands of comments that got purged in recent months. Radically lowering the standards for deletion makes people more willing to delete things.

  • 3
    Exactly for this matter, I recommend to be generous and apply Rule 1: Be Nice. It shows that while people disagree with may things happening these months, they are open to discussions. Let's show disagreement, but let's not actively burn bridges. Note that by not burning bridges, we also show some disagreement: silent disagreement with the style of communication the Powers show.
    – yo'
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 14:11
  • 2
    This answer has a point; if SO is just deleting posts and answers they don’t like they need to expect users feeling disenfranchised will start doing the same. (But comments are ephemeral so delete away, I am not sticking up for the dirty people here.)
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 15:01
  • 4
    @mxyzplk-JusticeforMonica But that point is subjective. I agree that I have seen some dubious deletions by SE Inc staffers, but it is really not like it happens daily. And the moderator team is confronted with hundreds if not thousands of comments and flags. But I have some real trust they do "as best as they can" and I have rarely noticed deletions by them I consider "wrong". That did happen, but not to a level where I intend to do: now let me delete "their" stuff in retaliation.
    – GhostCat
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 15:13
  • 4
    @mxyzplk-JusticeforMonica Comments only became full on ephemeral on meta a short while ago. Before that, and since the beginning, it was understood that meta had a different purpose and worked differently than the main site. Directly applying main site rules to meta didn't make sense. The same software was used on meta because that's the software that was available, not because meta should work the same as main. Once every few month Jeff got annoyed by an especially bad reception of a post and deleted all the comments, but that was rare.
    – sth
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 15:19
  • 4
    Actually we have been saying that from before we got mods. But with mods we actually had people to do it. Which means people bother to flag, which.... You get the idea Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 15:23
  • 3
    @JourneymanGeek Meta was always for discussion and discussion always happened to a large part in comments. It was the only way it could practically work and I don't remember anybody claiming that was wrong until very recently. Then "comments are ephemeral" was extensively to normal civil discussion (MSO), resulting in vast and unprecedented comment deletions. Nobody has been saying anything like that since "before we got mods", at least not to my knowledge.
    – sth
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 15:47
  • 3
    Current practice on meta is to have moderators delete everything left and right that might be seen negative. I can't agree with that claim. I've posted a lot of criticism of management policy recently and I've been "unmolested" to date by moderators. I think they're simply applying the "be nice" policy rigorously to try and lower the temperature. Once mass deletions and bans start then we'll know SE is completely dead - if they don't start there may still be a tiny glimmer of hope for sanity from SE Inc. Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 17:57
  • 1
    I've always felt that constructive critique was something meta was for. That said, comments suck for this. If I have anything substancial to say, I post an answer - and many of my recent ones have been critical of the current management and their actions. I will say in the recent escalations the volume of comments and flags have increased , and certainly the emotions on the site have been running high. Also. this isn't MSO Commented Jan 17, 2020 at 11:48
  • @JourneymanGeek Yes, this isn't MSO, but it's the same company enforcing policy. The MSO mods didn't just one day wake up and decide to making a giant mess, that idea came from higher up. So, meh, it doesn't make that much of a difference if its MSO or MSE.
    – sth
    Commented Jan 17, 2020 at 12:46

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