It's very common for easy questions to get several quick-fire answers within a couple minutes. One or two will be voted up and those more than a minute behind the first get left behind, unless they add enough new information.

That's fine, but what I've also noticed is users of answers that get no up-votes sometimes delete their answer once they see it's not getting any attention. That's perfectly acceptable when their answer covers the same ground as another, or if they realise they're wrong. But often their answer is different enough that someone viewing the question in the future might like and choose to use their answer, but now they can't. Here is the example that pushed me to post this (although I've seen better answers deleted).

Should deleting answers like this be discouraged? Is there a way to prod users to undelete? Currently you can't even leave a comment.


I've done this before. Typically when I see another answer that covers the same ground or is better than mine, I'll delete mine as I don't find redundant information appealing.

If I have added information that's tangential to the discussion, but may still be considered useful, I may add it as a comment to the correct answer.

Keep in mind that information usefulness is subjective. More information, especially to newbies, is not necessarily better, and in some cases may be harmful. But duplicate information is unnecessary and annoying, as one either skims the duplicate information assuming there's nothing new, or feels the need to read through it even though it's unlikely to provide usable information.

Regardless, the system is designed to allow users to remove their own answers so they feel some sense of ownership, and know they can "take back" what they said if they find they are in error.

Removing or restricting that ability would negatively impact the site more than the problem it solves.


If the answer gets 0 up-votes, then it isn't even semi-useful to other folks, and may as well be deleted.

  • In these cases, the answer is deleted within a minute or so. – marcog Jan 12 '11 at 13:57
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    I don't think that's true - not everyone reads every question, or votes on every question, and most people seem to be picky about what they vote for. I've seen plenty of useful answers at 0, and written plenty of great answers myself that never got any votes (bah). Hell, we even have badges for accepted-0-vote answers. – Rup Jan 12 '11 at 13:58

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