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I wanted to give a bounty to an answer to my question. But the answer was unexpectedly deleted by CommunityBot. Its author is temporarily suspended.

What should I do?


The answer looks excellent and very insightful to me. I was considering it for a bounty (expires soon) or as an accepted answer (this can still wait).

The answer is marked as "This post is hidden. It was deleted yesterday by CommunityBot."

The answer author's suspension notice says: "This account is temporarily suspended for posting inaccurate AI content or plagiarism. The suspension period ends in 6 days."

I flagged the answer as "In need of moderator intervention ", explained the above, and asked: "Could you please undelete this answer?"

Is there anything else I can do?

I am wary of giving a bounty to a deleted answer by a suspended user, because I am concerned that the bounty might be lost, or the user may not return after the suspension, or the suspension might become a near-permanent ban, etc.

Moreover, the suspended user cannot answer my further questions about that answer in the comments, cannot edit their answer, etc.


See also

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  • 15
    You want to give a bounty to a user who stole someone else's content?
    – Daedalus
    Commented Apr 26 at 22:06
  • 8
    You should ask questions about Stack Overflow on Stack Overflow's Meta rather than here. Commented Apr 26 at 22:06
  • 1
    @RobertLongson Thank you for the suggestion. I typically follow exactly this advice. But this is a general question, even though it happened on Stack Overflow. It is applicable to other sites as well. Hence, I asked it here. Commented Apr 26 at 22:08
  • 2
    @Daedalus I cannot discuss the individual user, or their alleged misdeeds, or their suspension. I was only considering giving a bounty to their answer. And suddenly, the CommunityBot prevents me from doing so. What should I do? Commented Apr 26 at 22:11
  • 13
    As far as the site is concerned, that answer was unethically provided and has been deleted. I would hope your flag will be declined for the obvious reasons. What you should do is wait for a legitimate answer and, if you're satisfied, award the bounty to that answer. Commented Apr 26 at 22:33
  • 9
    @TimurShtatland To clarify, is your broader question, "A deleted answer solved my issue, and I'd like to give a bounty to it - what should I do?" or "Is it a bad idea to give bounties to suspended users, for the reasons you listed?"
    – cocomac
    Commented Apr 26 at 23:22
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    @cocomac My broader question is: "A deleted answer solved my issue, and I'd like to give a bounty to it - what should I do?" Commented Apr 27 at 0:32
  • I posted a related question here: What is the evidence that this specific answer is AI-generated? - Meta Stack Overflow, but it got closed and deleted rather quickly without an answer. Commented Apr 28 at 0:19
  • 10
    Specifically, it was closed as a duplicate of "How can we determine whether an answer used ChatGPT?" on which I have an answer saying that we don't provide the details of how we determine something was AI generated, as doing so would provide those posting AI-generated content information that would enable them to make it harder for us to detect the content. It was also closed as a duplicate of "Temporary policy: Generative AI (e.g., ChatGPT) is banned"
    – Makyen
    Commented Apr 28 at 0:56
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    To be more specific regarding the statement that you flagged the answer asking for it to be undeleted: You flagged the answer asking for undeletion with the expressed reason for undeleting being solely that you wanted to give it a bounty. That reason, in itself, would only be a valid reason for undeleting a post if it was deleted in error or if it was deleted for some other inappropriate reason (e.g., such as a user rage quitting), neither of which are the case for that answer.
    – Makyen
    Commented Apr 28 at 1:33
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    @Makyen Thank you for your explanations. I understand the points you made, and agree with the rationale for them. I especially appreciate your patience in explaining these issues to me, given that the amount of AI-generated content must be huge on SO/SE. I am also using this opportunity to thank you and your moderation team colleagues for all your wonderful work and for your efforts to keep this site clean! Commented Apr 28 at 12:27

3 Answers 3

19

The answer looks excellent and very insightful to me

Emphasis on "looks".

I flagged the answer as "In need of moderator intervention ", explained the above, and asked: "Could you please undelete this answer?"

Did you even evaluate whether the answer is useful yet? All you said is that it "looks excellent and very insightful to me".

Given the suspension reason, it's likely that the answer was deleted due to violation of site policy on AI-generated content, in which case I think it's unlikely that that post will be undeleted. The process for investigating usage of AI in violation of site policy is thorough, and the conditions that must be met for mods to take action are quite strict.

Commentary: your custom flag message is pretty unhelpful. Answers are typically deleted for good reason. Undeletion requires a good reason as well... which you provide none of in your custom flag message. And before you ask- "I want to award this answer a bounty" is not (in isolation) a good undeletion reason.

I find the idea of wanting to award problematic behaviour... perverse? Not sure what word to use.

Is there anything else I can do?

Given that you have enough rep on that site to view deleted posts, you could put in the work to verify the claims made in the deleted post, correct any inaccuracies, remove any redundant content, and present the result of that work in your own words and in what you find to be an efficient and effective format (which- value judgement warning- I think the deleted answer post in question is not) in an answer post of your own if you believe that it would be a valuable addition given the existence of other answers to the question.

Moreover, the suspended user cannot answer my further questions about that answer in the comments, cannot edit their answer, etc.

The suspension given here is quite short. It will end soon.

Frame challenge 1: Do you still think such an answerer is a good person to consult about this question of yours?

Frame challenge 2: Don't you want to wait until you have no more questions about an answer to award it a bounty? (of course, do whatever you want with your bounties. I can't and won't try to stop you).

What if the user in question is banned until the end of recorded time? My precious bounty will be gone then!

Again, the suspension here is quite short and will end soon. Such a user won't get another suspension for the same reason unless it's warranted.

If you're concerned about your bounty being lost if you insist upon rewarding it for a post/user who violated site policy (which you are)... I don't know what else to say. Again, I find the idea of rewarding such behaviour perverse.

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  • Thank you for the thoughtful answer, I upvoted it, even though I disagree with the characterization of "perverse" (because of its multiple meanings). :) No offense taken, though - I see your point exactly. IIUC, by "perverse" you mean "wanting to knowingly reward bad behavior". Your answer is certainly thought-provoking. I will try to address your points in the comments below. Commented Apr 28 at 12:03
  • I have seen no evidence for the alleged bad behavior. Before deciding to encourage/discourage the behavior (allegedly, posting "inaccurate AI content or plagiarism"), I tried to find evidence for this claim. I posted a question on MSO: What is the evidence that this specific answer is AI-generated? - Meta Stack Overflow. Unfortunately, my question was quickly closed & deleted. Since no evidence was presented, in my view the answer author is innocent until proven guilty. Commented Apr 28 at 12:06
  • Hence, here is my response to the valid points you raised. "Frame challenge 1: Do you still think such an answerer is a good person to consult about this question of yours?" I do have a few questions to the answerer, but cannot post them under their answer. This is because the answer is deleted and the user is suspended. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on my project at work, and my questions are pressing. So yes, this answerer is a good person to consult about this question of mine. But I cannot do this - not yet, at any rate. Commented Apr 28 at 12:11
  • Re: "Frame challenge 2: Don't you want to wait until you have no more questions about an answer to award it a bounty?" Ideally, yes. But the bounty was set to end soon (it already ended by now), I did want to award it specifically to this answerer. My questions about the answer cannot be asked (the user is suspended, and the question is deleted). So my question have to wait until the situation changes. In the meantime, I wanted to award the bounty to this user. Anyway, I ended up awarding the bounty to a different good answer, so this point is moot by default. Commented Apr 28 at 12:15
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    @TimurShtatland re "clock is ticking" - meta.stackoverflow.com/q/326569/11107541. there's also supposed an implicit question in the frame challenge of "why don't you just ask the LLMs yourself"?
    – starball
    Commented Apr 28 at 21:47
  • I did not add "the clock is ticking" to my question in the OP. My comment (not a question) was meant as a response to you. It was meant to explain why I want to chat with the suspended user - and cannot do so yet: "Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on my project at work, and my questions are pressing. So yes, this answerer is a good person to consult about this question of mine. But I cannot do this - not yet, at any rate." Please let me know if you have any questions about this. Commented Apr 29 at 20:03
  • Re: 'there's also supposed an implicit question in the frame challenge of "why don't you just ask the LLMs yourself"?' Because I do not think that the deleted answer was written by LLM. It looks like it was written by a human, see for yourself in the link I provided, or in the quote in the comment below. Commented Apr 29 at 20:07
  • Here is the start of this answer. Where is the evidence that it is LLM-generated? "PostgreSQL's advisory locks from Adrian Klaver's answer, or feature flag, from Anton Bogdanov's answer are possible approaches. A simpler one would be to use a simple boolean flag in the database that job scripts check [...]." Commented Apr 29 at 20:09
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I think in a sense - your answer was the fruit of a poisoned tree. While it might have been helpful in your specific case, it was deleted because it was the result of the sort of behaviour we'd like to discourage.

Undeleting it and giving it the bounty means we are rewarding such behaviour. Assuming it was in some way community flag deleted, flagging it for review is the right thing to do.

If the deletion, and suspension was legitimate, you obviously won't/don't want to/can't award the bounty.

Bounties are mostly a way to advertise for attention anyway.

If its an answer that's not deleted but the user is suspended till the heat death of the universe, I'd award the bounty, assuming its a legitimate answer, as a signpost that the answer was useful. The bounty still serves in a fashion, even if OP can't 'enjoy' the benefits of the extra reputation

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  • Thank you for the thoughtful answer, I upvoted it! Before deciding to encourage or discourage the behavior (allegedly, posting "inaccurate AI content or plagiarism"), I tried to find the evidence for this claim. I posted a question on MSO: What is the evidence that this specific answer is AI-generated? - Meta Stack Overflow. Unfortunately, my question was quickly closed & deleted. Since no evidence was presented, in my view the answer author is innocent until proven guilty. Commented Apr 28 at 11:56
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    On the other hand, we don't discuss suspensions without the express permission of the party involved, and for moderation decisions, the correct way to appeal is to the community team or reply, not in public. That said, in general we take suspensions very seriously, and OP would have been informed what the violations were - either in the mod message or on request Commented Apr 28 at 12:01
  • Yes, I agree. The moderators followed the rules, and a few people have made the point you just made. I understand this point and see the rationale for it. Thank you again. Commented Apr 28 at 12:20
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What should I do?

Here is what I did

  1. Shortly before the bounty grace period expired, I tried to award the bounty to the deleted answer. I could not do so. The error message was: "This post has been deleted; deleted posts can't be voted on"

    This post has been deleted; deleted posts can't be voted on

  2. I awarded the bounty to a different, also good, answer.

  3. And then... I posted yet another bounty! :)

Notes

  • If you end up in a similar situation, you may find this comment by Journeyman Geek useful:

    On the other hand, we don't discuss suspensions without the express permission of the party involved, and for moderation decisions, the correct way to appeal is to the community team or reply, not in public. That said, in general we take suspensions very seriously, and OP would have been informed what the violations were - either in the mod message or on request

    See also Journeyman Geek's answer, underneath which that comment can be found.

  • Before deciding to encourage or discourage the behavior (allegedly, posting "inaccurate AI content or plagiarism"), I tried to find the evidence for this claim. I posted a question on Meta Stack Overflow: What is the evidence that this specific answer is AI-generated? - Meta Stack Overflow. Unfortunately, my question was quickly closed & deleted. For explanations of this, please see the helpful comments by Makyen (thank you!) on this question, above. See also this answer by Makyen. But, since no evidence for misbehavior was presented to me, in my view the answer author is innocent until proven guilty.

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    RE your final sentence: please read this answer which explains why suspensions are handled the way they are and why the evidence wasn't made public. Commented Apr 28 at 21:40
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog Thank you for the link, I appreciate it! I found the answer by Catija useful, and agree with it. Moreover, in my final sentence above I do not ask for any evidence. I respect the rules around privacy of such evidence, and see the clear rationale for these rules. I simply state the obvious. Namely, no evidence available to me = the suspended user is not guilty in my view. I do not argue with the moderators who did what they did based on the information available to them. Commented Apr 29 at 20:31

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