Recently, this paragraph appeared in an answer:

threat to delete answer if that answer was upvoted again

Now, the author of this edit thankfully removed this portion from their answer, but it prompted the question: is this sort of behavior OK? I personally don't like the idea of a poster of a good, well-received answer using their power to delete said answer to obstruct the voting mechanism, which is integral to the site's ability to filter the best answers to the top. However, I want to know what the moderators and community think. In this sort of situation, is it allowed for people to do this?

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    $\begingroup$ You can inform the user that they can ask SE to be disassociated from the post, by using the contact us form. If they really don't want the post on their profile page, that's the best solution. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Oct 2 '14 at 2:51
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    $\begingroup$ This is just one of the side effects of a system that emphasizes popularity over quality. The two are not mutually exclusive, but many (possibly nearly all) top contributors are not too proud of all of those answers that have raked in the most upvotes. While this is not ideal, any simple attempt at a solution would probably introduce more problems than it would solve. So I sympathize with whoever added this remark to their answer. But (as someone once put it here), Sisyphos was not a happy man. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 2 '14 at 6:38
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    $\begingroup$ The same problem occurs in real life: I have heard that Max Zorn was not too happy to primarily be known for Zorn's lemma, and I am sure that similar examples abound. $\endgroup$ – Harald Hanche-Olsen Oct 4 '14 at 13:12

To back up Care Bear's comment: the fact that the user contributions to the site are licensed under a Creative Commons license implies that creators have the right to ask to be disassociated from the work. (Side note, the current incarnation of the ToS links to version 2.5 of the CC BY-SA license.) As such, StackExchange has published guidelines on how to invoke this right. Basically, if a user no longer wishes to be associated with a post he or she made, the user can either flag the moderators or use the contact us form to request disassociation.

I should add that this has been used already several times on this site. For example, the creators of our sandbox posts, if you check the edit history, are "anonymous users". This has the additional benefit of preventing the users who originally created those posts from being bombarded with edit notifications every time the sandboxes are used.


In my opinion, a user can delete one of their own answers at any time, as long as the site's software allows them to do so. Only if a user begins to delete many of their own answers would this be a cause for concern. There is no way to police the contents of a user's mind to determine why they deleted a specific answer, or to judge whether that reason is "acceptable".

Moreover, if a user no longer wants to be associated with a particular answer they wrote, who am I to tell them that they cannot remove it from the site? Answers are not written by robots, after all - they are written by living, breathing people.


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