Today (formally July 10) an answer (not mine) to integrating $y \ln y$ was deleted. The one line answer said that the same technique (presumably the one in another of the answers) could be used for inverse trig. functions. While this remark does not add much, and gives no detail, it is certainly not incorrect.

Since there are instances of more irrelevant answers, or even incorrect answers, that are not deleted, I wonder whether one could instead take a more laissez-faire attitude, and let the marketplace of ideas take care of things.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I flagged this answer as "not an answer" and it was transferred to the comments to the question, so nothing is lost. $\endgroup$
    – t.b.
    Jul 10, 2011 at 4:19
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    $\begingroup$ My experience, while not a comprehensive survey, suggests that the vast majority of deleted answers are deleted by their owners/posters, not deleted administratively. $\endgroup$
    – Isaac
    Jul 10, 2011 at 5:51

1 Answer 1


Theo marked the answer as "not an answer" and I transferred it to the comments. My policy towards deleting answers (I can't speak for the other moderators) is actually quite lenient - I let a lot of very bad answers stay as long as they appear to be honest efforts towards answering the question, but this answer was, well, a comment.

As you say, there's no reason to delete merely incorrect answers. If you see really irrelevant answers, though, flag them for moderator attention.

  • $\begingroup$ My policy is basically the same as Qiaochu's. If the answer is duplicate or someone else's, or is incorrect, I prefer to leave a comment indicating such and hope that the OP does the right thing. $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2011 at 11:32
  • $\begingroup$ Same here. ${}{}$ $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2011 at 15:56

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