# Common problem: OP deletes question immediately upon receiving answer

I saw a question on this site and solved it and took a very long time to answer it after a lot of typing, and as soon as the asker saw the solution he/she deleted their question immediately.

Is this the way one is grateful to someone else here? This is not really good right?

I literally spent about 15 minutes on posting the solution which I wrote in the most detailed way possible, I couldn't have if I didn't wish to?

l

• Flag the question for moderator attention, too. – amd Apr 22 '20 at 7:23
• How do i flag a deleted question? Or you mean this one? – user732848 Apr 22 '20 at 7:26
• It seems that this particular question has been undeleted by a moderator. – Martin Sleziak Apr 22 '20 at 8:07
• – Martin Sleziak Apr 22 '20 at 8:11
• We've been here before, and there's general agreement that users should not delete questions after getting an answer, and, if they do, those questions should be undeleted. BUT there was a red flag on this question that might have warned you that you might be wasting your time writing out an answer. Namely, the user showed no sign of being willing to put any effort into the question, beyond that required to type it in. We generally frown on that, and ask such a user to show us what progress he had made, and so on. Indeed (continued) – Gerry Myerson Apr 22 '20 at 12:23
• (continued) had the user not deleted the question, there are many users who would have voted to close and delete it on just those grounds, and your answer would have vanished anyway. Also, many of us don't like writing out answers that a user can copy & paste into a homework assignment without thinking about it; we prefer to give hints and to encourage the poster to come to an understanding of the problem on his own. The users who refuse to meet us halfway are the ones most likely to delete the question anyway, I suspect. So maybe think about which questions are worth your full efforts. – Gerry Myerson Apr 22 '20 at 12:28
• Thanks a lot, i will keep in mind from next time. – user732848 Apr 22 '20 at 12:32
• Yah you almost certainly spent 15 minutes helping someone cheat on their homework or at the very least your answer is detailed enough to do that(although the poster did ask for a hint too so maybe they just asked a bad question and not looking to cheat). While deleting shouldn't have been done, it probably should have been closed and you in some sense also acted badly—whether intentional or not. – user29123 Apr 22 '20 at 13:11
• Sorry @PaulPlummer , whenever i see a question lacking the part which they try, i give a downvote and tell in the comments to do the needful or tell them, maybe i made a mistake this time. Will not be repeated. – user732848 Apr 22 '20 at 13:28
• @Shamim: Perhaps you found the problem interesting enough to regard what you learned from studying it sufficient reward for your efforts. I often limit myself to answering such Questions, in which my own learning is an important factor. So you are welcome to tackle "problem statement questions" if you are more interested in what you gain than in the possible downside you experienced in this case. – hardmath Apr 22 '20 at 15:51
• Yes @hardmath i like number theory very much – user732848 Apr 22 '20 at 15:55
• Don't feel too bad, @Shamim. It looks like a lot of seasoned answerers have been doing this asker's work for them for some time. Perhaps your post here today will help curb that. Keep your enthusiasm! – amWhy Apr 22 '20 at 18:13
• Thanks @amWhy very much! :) – user732848 Apr 23 '20 at 1:41
• The question's been deleted and my 40 reputation goes away ;( – user732848 Apr 23 '20 at 4:26
• @Shamim You gained, and then lost, 40 imaginary internet points. Don't sweat it. Your actual Reputation (what people think of you, how people perceive your actions, etc) is far more important than your reputation (a silly number on a website). – Xander Henderson Apr 23 '20 at 14:51

That is a very rude behaviour. What I do in this situation (yes, I've been there too) is to flag the question, telling the moderators that they should warn the OP that this is an inappropriate behaviour. Usually, the questions gets reopend (by a moderator, I guess, but I am not sure about that).

• Yes, i have flagged this question(this one) and i have added to deal with the asker in the appropriate way. Thanks! – user732848 Apr 22 '20 at 8:13

For the record, the question under consideration is How to solve this divisibility problem: when is $$f(m, n) = mn^2 + am^2 + n^2 +8$$ divisible by $$16$$?. No link was provided in the original meta question, and Martin Sleziak's link in the comments is to the revision history.

1. It is considered inappropriate for a user to delete a question immediately after they get an answer. It is rude to the person who put the effort into answering, and is often understood as evidence of an effort to cheat (i.e. they get an answer on MSE, then delete their question to "cover their tracks"; many users don't understand that deleted questions never really go away). When a user does this, it is appropriate to take action:

• Flag the post for moderator attention. Explain what has happened ("This question was deleted immediately after I provided an answer."). It is likely that a moderator will eventually come by to undelete the question.

• Post an answer to the Reopen Request thread on the math meta. This thread is meant to bring attention to questions which users would like to see reopened and/or undeleted.

• Post a comment in the CRUDE chatroom (CRUDE stands for "Close Reopen Undelete Delete Edit"; the goal of this room is to help coordinate janitorial duties on the site of the type described in the acronym). Those that participate in CRUDE are generally pretty quick to undelete questions which have been deleted immediately after receiving an answer.

2. That being said, the question itself is of fairly low quality. In the future, before you answer a question, you might ask yourself if it is going to be worth your time. Some things to consider:

• Has the asker shown a willingness to make an effort? This might mean that the question was well-written from the get-go, or that the asker engaged with users asking questions in the comments. In this case, I don't see any major red flags&mddash;the original title was weak, but the question is correctly formatted otherwise, and the asker responded to the one comment which was left.

• Is the question of broad interest, or is it very narrowly focused? In other words, is the question asking about principle, or is it the kind of thing that might show up on a homework assignment? In the case of the question being discussed here, I think that there is a major red flag: the question is quite specific, and appears to be a homework exercise designed to familiarize a student with a broader principle. These kinds of questions are not a priori off-topic on MSE, but they do require more context.

• Has the asker provided context? The goals of context are (broadly speaking) two-fold: they orient answerers to the general framework in which a question is being answered by providing necessary definitions or references; and they give answerers an idea about the level of the asker so that answers can be written to an appropriate level. This particular question is what is known as a PSQ (a "problem statement question" or, more cynically, a "please solve question"). No context has been provided. We don't know what the asker knows, what they are studying, or what theorems they might bring to bear. These kinds of questions are highly likely to be closed and deleted eventually.

In the future you might consider skipping questions like this one. The question is not broadly appealing (it is likely to help only the original asker and other people assigned the same problem, but is unlikely to be helpful otherwise), and lacks sufficient context. If you are worried about wasting your time on answers that are destined for deletion, be more selective about what you answer.

• "In the future you might consider skipping questions like this one." Or, you might consider trying to engage with the poster in comments, to draw him out, to get him to provide context and such, to get him to edit the question up to standards, to guide him to working out a solution himself, actually add some value to the site. – Gerry Myerson Apr 23 '20 at 0:01
• Thanks a lot! I will surely keep this in mind while answering now. – user732848 Apr 23 '20 at 1:51