I don't get the purposes of the disciplined badge. Why would someone delete a good answer where he has been awarded 3 up-votes, and why should he be marked as "disciplined" for doing so?

  • 17
    They seek the disciplined badge because of masochistic tendencies.
    – Nosredna
    Commented Jul 21, 2009 at 2:21
  • Can I get a copy of this badge? Commented Feb 5, 2010 at 21:13
  • 18
    @Evan: first you have to have a post that got 3 upvotes.
    – Ether
    Commented Feb 5, 2010 at 23:13

7 Answers 7


It's disciplined because you delete the post even though you will lose rep by doing so - i.e. you actually care more about answer correctness and relevance than rep (or, as smackfu says, you care enough about badges that it pushes you over the line (gives you enough incentive to delete your answer, knowing you will get an extra badge out of it).

  • 2
    Aha, here is the catch I didn't know. If you delete the answer, you loose the rep points. Commented Jul 21, 2009 at 0:59
  • 79
    OR, you care more about badges than rep or answer correctness, so you delete a good answer just to get the badge. Commented Jul 21, 2009 at 1:11
  • 3
    @smackfu I like badges :) Commented Jul 21, 2009 at 1:18
  • 25
    @smackfu: I believe that removing potentially precious information for any future reader just to obtain a badge is not a good idea. Commented Jul 21, 2009 at 1:37
  • 1
    @smackfu :-))) I felt off chair laughing... Stefano, don't try to ruin an excellent joke :)
    – Tomas
    Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 23:19
  • A lot of bronze badges are intentionally designed to be gamed. This one is probably an exception, but for a couple of different reasons, I'd say there's nothing wrong with gaming it one time like how smackfu mentioned.
    – user236578
    Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 14:21
  • 2
    @smackfu: removing obsoleted information is a great way to not waste future readers' time. Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 0:42
  • What is meant by post ? Questions only or Answer and Questions? Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 14:39
  • And what if after geting the badge you undelete the post?
    – convert
    Commented Jun 4, 2022 at 18:00

Here's a scenario I've been in many times: I post a quick answer to a question. It's accurate and reasonably helpful, and therefore collects several up-votes. Then someone else posts their answer... The extra time they spent on it clearly shows: it's comprehensive, easy to read, links to tangential-related information, includes good code samples...

And so I delete mine and up-vote the new answer. Maybe edit it a bit, to include something from mine that I feel would benefit it.

End result: the question gets a single, solid answer. The other guy is rewarded for the extra effort he put into it. I'm rewarded with... the satisfaction of a job well done.

And maybe a badge...

  • 7
    Another scenario: a poll type question receives two (or more) answers which are (almost) exactly the same, posted about the same time and both getting upvotes. Now, as keeping both adds absolutely no value at the end of the day, the "disciplined" thing to do for the poster of the less popular answer would be to delete his post, and upvote the other instead.
    – Jonik
    Commented Jul 21, 2009 at 7:43
  • 1
    Uh, here's a perfect example of an answer that should be deleted, and which would earn the badge for its author: superuser.com/questions/1191/must-have-mac-os-x-software/…
    – Jonik
    Commented Jul 22, 2009 at 19:45
  • 2
    Sometimes a shorter answer that provides less information still provides some of the important information clearer than a longer, more complete answer. In these cases, it makes sense to keep your shorter, less awesome answer--it is useful to the community even in the face of a longer, overall-better answer. (This is not always the case--sometimes it does make sense to delete an answer, of course.) Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 14:50
  • @EliahKagan: perhaps best to offer an edit to the longer answer with the short one as the TL;DR/summary at the top? Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 0:43
  • 1
    @DanDascalescu Occasionally that may be best. But a very short answer that really answers the question (rather than just summarizing or outlining an answer or telling someone how or where to find the answer) should be an answer, not an edit. Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 18:44

Here's my story. I've just deleted an answer of mine with 4 upvotes (while all other answers on the page were at 0 or 1) after the OP made grave edits to his question that rendered my answer totally asinine.

At worst, my answer now suggests that I just can't read. At best, it now looks like I mixed things up and posted an answer to a totally different question. Which, in point of fact, I have, but any new visitor to the page would have trouble to understand the situation. He would just see the question "how to do X", then my top answer "here's how to do Y", and conclude that I and those who upvoted me must be a bunch of morons. He would then probably proceed to downvote my answer (and rightfully so).

Of course, I could still just leave my answer sitting there, since it would take a whopping 21 downvotes to make it a net loss for me. However, not being considered a moron is well worth giving up 40 points IMHO.

Lesson learned: always keep an eye on the questions you recently answered. They can get edited in ways you'd never imagine.

  • 1
    well... this can happen at any time, on any question, and it's basically impossible to prevent. If a reader finds this situation and considers you a moron, the moron is actually him who does not check the history of the answer. Commented Feb 6, 2010 at 8:22
  • 2
    @Stefano: If you don't have the rep to edit, you don't see anything other than original posting time and author, and latest edit time and author. Commented Feb 24, 2010 at 22:21

Because supposedly if his answer got some up votes, which gets him reputation, but the answer is irrelevant, he is disciplined by doing the right thing and deleting it.

  • 13
    Except then you can undelete the answer and keep the badge. Commented Jul 21, 2009 at 3:02
  • Would you get the Rep back though?
    – devinb
    Commented Jul 21, 2009 at 15:25
  • @devinb: maybe if you undelete before the rep recount Commented Sep 21, 2009 at 14:44

I deleted one after I misread the question and gave the wrong answer, but somehow got five upvotes anyway...

  • 8
    Even though this has (at least) 3 upvotes, to me it doesn't answer the question. Deleting it, of course, should give you the badge in question... Hmmm, what a dilemma.
    – Werner
    Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 5:54

It incentivizes deleting an answer after it is no longer relevant. That's why I deleted the one that got me the badge.


In response to newcomers who ask in bewilderment the scope of the Disciplined badge, I suggest that they are victims of the video gamer conditioned reflex.

On Stack Exchange, it's a given that earning rep, and (easy) badges helps reinforce positive behavior but it also seems to encourage a gamer mindset in some users. There is a reward at the end of a task, “you” see the reward as a means to an end. The task itself is unimportant, it is the reward/prize/points earned etc. that counts.

Do not treat Stack Exchange as a place to accrue points or badges in order to show or validate your self-worth, therein lies madness. This is a Q&A website. Ask or answer a question to the very best of your ability. Be meticulous. Be exacting. Be accurate. But above all, be honest. Consequently, armed with this new standard, you might find your upvoted answer is misleading, inaccurate or false. If it belongs to the first two categories, fix the post. If it is the latter, delete it. You should be the best judge to realize whether an answer of yours was good or not.

In summary, the system rewards users who are honest about themselves and their mistakes.

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