Pressing the Delete button when one or more answers exist will show a warning box, "Sorry, this question has answers and cannot be deleted; flag it for moderator attention instead.".

If deleting is not allowed for a question with answer(s), why does the Delete button not automatically hide?

The questioner can use the flag button if he/she wants to get moderator attention so the delete button seems useless and might hurt server performance by wasting a round trip checking. I might be wrong. I am sorry.

  • 2
    Although there's no consensus on hiding unavailable controls vs. warning when they can't be used, the latter is common enough, and has good reasons to exist. Jul 17, 2011 at 0:59
  • @Michael: Does it hurt server performance when it is adopted for a web based system? Jul 17, 2011 at 1:14
  • Probably, a little bit. Worth it, in my opinion. Raw performance isn't everything. Jul 17, 2011 at 1:15

2 Answers 2


If the link were missing on questions that have answers, the user would have no way of knowing that deletion in any circumstances is possible. By providing a button, but saying "Nu uh, can't do that here, this question has answers!", the user can learn that deletion is possible when a question doesn't have answers.

There might be some, minor performance implications, but it's more about ramping the user's skills, one little bit at a time.

  • The underlying philosophy is very good. It should also be applied to the down-voting policy. If a comment explaining the down-voting reason were missing, the questioner would have no way of knowing the reason. By providing the comment saying "It is not correct. it should be bla bla bla", the questioner can learn from it. :-) Jul 17, 2011 at 1:35
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    @xport, you had to go there... Jul 17, 2011 at 1:36
  • 1
    @xport, The UI is objective, relatively fixed, repeatable, and impartial (except for the Hellban, maybe). It's immune to gaming and retaliation, for the most part. ... None of those things can be said about many down-votes. AND, we already have a mechanism for explaining downvotes, we just can't make it mandatory (work the users as slavishly as the servers) -- without losing a lot of participation, and causing unnecessary squabbling. Jul 17, 2011 at 4:55

This is a fundamental principle of good UI design...

Don't disable, gray, or hide features that you want the user to use (later, at a more appropriate time).

Programming guru: Joel Spolsky (a big cheese at Stack Exchange), also subscribes to this philosophy.


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