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Deleting Bad Answers?

+ 5 like - 0 dislike

Just to throw it out there, how would people feel about deleting exceptionally bad answers, namely heavily downvoted, misleading, psycho-ceramic, or just incredibly wrong answers? I can see arguments for and against, and I am not sure what goes on in other sites. To be sure, this is not a major issue, at the moment I can think about maybe a couple of answers that we could do without.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
asked Dec 4, 2011 in SE.TP.discussion by Moshe (2,375 points) [ no revision ]
I'm fine with deleting answers with significant negative score, but I kind of expect people to delete their own answers in this case.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Joe, I am most concerned with answers used to advertise non-mainstream opinions, pet theories etc., giving them an air of legitimacy. We close and/or delete questions like this, but the practice so far has been to let answers be. Do you know what other sites do?

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
This one is not that bad, it is completely wrong but the mistakes are personal and not the common and persistent ones, so there is probably no harm in it. But, just to have an example in mind: http://theoreticalphysics.stackexchange.com/a/601/43.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
doesn't completely apply but this item in FAQ is relevant: http://theoreticalphysics.stackexchange.com/faq#promotion

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Kaveh, do you intend in this link to suggest that spam should be deleted? I think that has been done a couple of times, and I don't think this is controversial. My question is more about extremely low quality content.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Moshe, I can't say what is the right way of dealing with these on TP.SE, but IMHO it seems that there is no need to use mod powers for dealing with these issues. Users down-voting should be sufficient for most cases. And if someone tries to promote their personal work by referring to their own work repeatedly then users can flag it as spam (warning: if a post is gets enough spam votes it will be deleted and the owner get -100 rep. One mod vote is sufficient for this to happen, so mods should be very careful in flagging posts as spam).

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Thanks, that is very useful. I did not know the rules around spam, and I suppose that promotion of your own non-mainstream theories could very well be classified as spam (though here it is subtle because some experts *should* promote their own work). Good! I'd like moderators to have as little to do as possible, so if the community has good ways to deal with this issue, it is the best solution.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)

1 Answer

+ 4 like - 0 dislike

While there may be some exceptional cases, I am against a general practice of deleting bad answers.

First, if an answer is heavily downvoted, then a viewer clearly see it is not credible (and it actually that the community is healthy). So I don't see a particular advantage of just erasing it (unless its author opts for it).

Second, for me the whole idea of SE is voting by the while community, not only the moderators. One can add further Why shouldn't we delete any wrong answer, no matter its score? But such lack of trust in the community does not seem to be a proper choice.

Of course, if an answer is very off-topic (in the relation to the question or to the whole site), or generating heavy rants, then deleting it may be a good option.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
answered Dec 4, 2011 by Piotr Migdal (1,250 points) [ no revision ]
I agree with that, but that was not my question. Certainly we don't want to take on the responsibility of fixing every flaw in every question or answer. My question was most related to your last paragraph - under what (exceptional) circumstances would it be a good idea to delete answers?

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Moshe, there is a different story with questions and answers. Question generate further content so there is a good point to close/delete bad ones. Of course for _exceptional_ things we may take _exceptional_ actions (but then I don't see the point of your question). But for standard rules of deleting bad questions I would prefer to restrain it only to clear off-topics, rants, _The petrol conspiracy have destroyed my perpetuum mobile!_ etc.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Those are good points, but what would you say about the example I gave above? To be clear, I am not sure what the proper action is, maybe just let it be would be fine.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
IMHO -4 points are sound enough. And it does not generate further content. Of course I won't cry if anybody have deleted it, but personally I would refrain from any actions unless really necessary.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Yeah, that is reasonable, I also let it be but wanted to hear other people's opinions.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)

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