I always had impression, that the idea of StackExchange was to let users decide which answers are good, which are bad and express it through up or down votes. But on one of SE sites moderators believe it's their role and their moderation policy is "we delete bad answers". Their definition of "bad" is also quite broad. Is that generally recommended policy on SE?

I've read Jeff Atwood's post on Theory of Moderation, but it's still not very clear to me what kind of answers should moderators delete? (besides the flagged ones).

BTW. deleting without any comment means there is no feedback at all for the poster.

This question is about generic rules for SE community, not discussion on why SU moderators have deleted my answer. Later belongs on SU's meta and is off topic in context of this question.

  • @vartec: Downvotes to questions on Meta don't mean the same thing as they do on the other sites. Here, they essentially mean, "I disagree" or "I don't think that's a good idea". – Cody Gray May 1 '11 at 15:20
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    But yes, moderators should delete answers that do not answer the question. It's impossible to give "generic" rules for this, much like pornography. But you know it when you see it. If you'd like to discuss specifics, we'd be happy to do that. If there's an answer that's been deleted that you don't understand the rationale for deletion, please link to it in your question. – Cody Gray May 1 '11 at 15:21
  • @Cody: I specifically asked him about downvoting the question above. He openly admits that he downvoted it only because he doesn't like me. A practice which used to be frowned upon on SO. Apparently the standards are lower now... – vartec May 1 '11 at 18:20
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    @vartec You obviously haven't been around that long... – Tyler Carter May 1 '11 at 21:02
  • @vartec Actually I have you beat by 8 days :) – Tyler Carter May 1 '11 at 22:49
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    Hmm, I agree that downvoting questions just because you don't like the person is generally frowned upon. However, as I said before, downvotes mean something different on Meta. And having read your comments to the answer that's been posted, I agree with Tyler: I think you're trolling. I also don't think this is a productive discussion. That certainly merits a downvote, were this question not already at -5. Good enough for me, but it doesn't deserve to be any higher. Rather than whining about your answers/comments getting deleted on a Meta site, why not take the time to improve them. – Cody Gray May 2 '11 at 7:00

There's a line between bad answers and pointless noise.

Moderators rarely touch the former, leaving the community to deal with it, while blasting away the latter.

On a runaway question such as How to mess up a PC running Windows 7? the horde is going to jump in and post their answers.

In those type of questions, where answers will slide in of little content or duplicate content, a moderator may end up deleting such. More so when it has been flagged as a non-answer or as not partaking of the rules that have been clearly outlined in the question itself.

Moderators shouldn't delete bad answers. But for non-answers and flagged or those that should be comments, lay down the ANFO in the leading and kaboom it away.

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  • First of all, that's not an answer to this question, but discussion of particular case. Which I intentionally didn't mention, as I'm interested in general rules. Discussion of particular case belongs on SU's meta. Second of all, if we're discussing this particular case, my answer was incomplete, but it was not a duplicate. I might be totally wrong on this, but I feel moderators should promote improving answers, rather than drive users away. – vartec May 1 '11 at 14:21
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    You wanted a definition for "bad answer" and why and when moderators delete answers. @var – random May 1 '11 at 14:24
  • @random: No, I wanted generic list of cases, when moderators should delete answers. And BTW, since you're directly involved in this, I don't think you should be the judge of your own case. – vartec May 1 '11 at 14:27
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    Then neither should you @vartec, besides given your response on the MSU Meta I don't think any amount of reasoning will convince you otherwise. If you have a problem with the moderators, you can contact the team to act as a mediator. Calling us out on every Meta won't make your case any better. – Ivo Flipse May 1 '11 at 17:34
  • @Ivo: Sorry, but you're the ones dragging your dirt across to another metas. And yes, no amount of "reasoning" will convince me, that moderators should drive users away rather then help improve answers. – vartec May 1 '11 at 18:11
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    This is only being dragged out because you wanted SU to be held to a lower standard and the only reason for coming here to get some sort of confirmation bias on what you thought was a personal affront @var – random May 1 '11 at 18:25

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