Is it good practice on Stack Overflow to first answer a question and then remove it?

I have faced it. And due to that my question was downvoted without explanation.

I don't want to confront that person because it is not my nature. I am only here for the knowledge and do believe in this community.

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    There's nothing wrong with naked people!
    – juan
    Sep 5, 2010 at 15:50
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    A whole lot of you should be ashamed of down-voting someone just because they're second-language English speakers and having a bit of trouble. I thought we were a community of helpers.
    – MPelletier
    Sep 5, 2010 at 19:46
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    @mahesh: In the way you wrote "naked that person", it can only mean "to remove their clothes". Also, in English, "to" should be followed by an infinitive, and here "naked" is past participle.
    – MPelletier
    Sep 5, 2010 at 19:49
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    @MPelletier: Who says this question was downvoted because of language? Maybe the downvoters simply believe that it was Hans' right to delete his answer. And that mahesh's behavior in the comments to that answer was demanding to the point of being rude (though admittedly behavior in another question is a somewhat fishy reason to downvote this question).
    – sepp2k
    Sep 5, 2010 at 20:46
  • Hans' comment telling mahesh to pay a visit to the local library was the only rude demand I saw there.
    – user27414
    Sep 5, 2010 at 21:53
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    @sepp2k: The down-votting has been happening here and on his questions on SO.
    – MPelletier
    Sep 5, 2010 at 22:03

3 Answers 3


There's nothing wrong with an answerer deleting his or her answer. Forcing answers to be permanently visible once posted would be silly and would discourage some people from answering.

Normally users will delete their own answers either when they realize that their answer is incorrect, or when they feel that the other answers to the question are better and that their answer adds nothing new to the discussion. This is fine and is in fact expected.

Additionally, it is not expected that answerers will sit on StackOverflow all day long watching their answers like a hawk and responding immediately to any comments you leave. In the question that sth referenced (for which, as a 10k user, I can see the deleted answer) you seem to have gotten angry at one of your answerers for not responding quickly enough to your comments. Remember that answers on StackOverflow are provided by volunteers who are donating some of their time to help you. They do not have an obligation to cater to your every request.

  • I don't agree with this bit "you seem to have gotten angry at one of your answerers for not responding quickly enough to your comments." the comments thread doesn't read like that to me. Sep 5, 2010 at 15:35
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    Perhaps "angry" is too strong of a word, but there are three comments posted in succession by Mahesh in less than an hour, the last of which accuses Hans of avoiding a response. Sep 5, 2010 at 15:38
  • Yes I see what you mean. Perhaps more pestering behaviour than angry though. Sep 5, 2010 at 15:41
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    This (people forcing volunteers) is why we can't have nice things. Sep 5, 2010 at 15:52
  • sir God knows the truth. I let it on him. ok thx for ur valuable time.
    – mahesh
    Sep 5, 2010 at 16:01

One reading of this progression goes like this:

  1. Question
  2. Answer that presupposes some level of base knowledge
  3. Comment that indicates lack of that level of base knowledge
  4. Answering user removes himself from the discussion rather than get dragged into lengthy exchange.

The rules of the sites leave some wiggle-room here. Some things authors can delete at their discretion. Others, due to upvotes or answers or such, are protected from do-it-yourself deletion without team intervention.

The short of it all is this: if the delete link works, it means that the site's policy allows you to delete it. And it's not up to the rest of us to question your motives.


Tyler McHenry, Sir. Sorry, but I am not angry with anyone. As per Mr.shamittomar this site is collaboratively. This site is tracks all edits so you can find out the fact.

In fact mr. Hans Passant (I am disclosing him now because you have already disclosed him.) told another user who tried to help me. Mr.Odded. Mr. Passant told him not to work on it. Even though I am not angry with him. Sir, why should I be angry? I am here for gaining knowledge. But sir, it's my duty as a user to let you know the entire matter and that this type of incident should not happen in the future. We should encourage newcomers, not discourage them.

That's all.

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    "Mr. Passant told him not to work on it" Unless this was in a comment that has been since deleted, he didn't. All he said was "You don't want to see the real code". That's not telling anyone not to help, it's just a dig at the code's quality
    – sepp2k
    Sep 5, 2010 at 16:04
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    I think Mahesh is referring to how Hans told him that he should read a book on the topic, rather than trying to learn it by trial and error and StackOverflow questions. Still, that's not discouragement; it's an apt suggestion. Sep 5, 2010 at 16:06
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    Please use the "add comment" link to comment on answers.
    – badp
    Sep 5, 2010 at 17:45
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    It was meant to be a joke, but admittedly in poor taste. I was a bit annoyed at the OP's impatience, not realizing that people on the other side of the Earth go to sleep at inconvenient hours. Sorry for the comment. I can't help you, I don't think my contributions are a worthy substitute for education. Sep 5, 2010 at 18:32

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