I am an average stackexchange user I contributed to multiple stackexchange sites yet this is my first question to meta.

It feels to me that a review process in math.stackexchange.com is broken. My statement is based solely on my previous 12 year experience with other stackexchange sites. I didn't do any research on community guidelines so I don't claim the rightness in this matter. Yet somehow I think that community guidelines and all site rules should serve at least some common sense.

Consider a question: Gradient of function with index operation

It was asked 3 years ago yet for it's 3-year history it didn't manage to gather even one answer. Now taking into consideration this information how helpful for the person asking a question or for the community of people who are seeking help in subject matter an answer with even little information will be comparing to an absence of any information in subject matter.

I have prepared two answers for subject question:

  1. https://math.stackexchange.com/a/4584268/92741
  2. https://math.stackexchange.com/a/4584344/92741

The first started receiving delete flags shortly with review comment that is irrelevant to issues present in the answer stating that "This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post." This review comment is false and depicts the fact that reviewers do not poses the necessary knowledge or were not thorough enough with their review.

I have invested more time into preparing an answer to a question, leaving the structure of an answer the same just changing some wording, posted a second one and when I woke up next day I've noticed that my second answer got deleted with new review comment: "While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes."

I don't get it! How broken the decision making process regarding review and deletion of answers should be in order to knowingly delete a potentially useful answer judging solely by stylistic aspects and not giving a chance to update the answer.

StackExchange has a voting feature that is able identify poor answers where "poor" is evaluated by people who at least have the necessary context to make such judgement. I don't understand why a small group of censors gets to decide if an answer should be seen by others or not?

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ You have no way of knowing how much knowledge other users have in the subject matter of any given question. $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2022 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ This is not the point of my question. It's not about judging people if they have sufficient level of knowledge or not. It's about group of people exercising their ability to shut person up for no apparent reason. I invested effort into preparing my answer. I wasn't posting any abusive or unrelated answer. My motivation was clear, I wanted to help the person who was facing similar question. Yet review group decided that it will be more useful for person asking the question and future readers to not see the answer rather than seeing it with all of it's flaws question why? What is the logic here? $\endgroup$
    – Lu4
    Nov 25, 2022 at 21:30
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ If it's not the point of your question, then maybe you wouldn't mind editing it out of your question? $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2022 at 5:13
  • $\begingroup$ Never mind, I did it for you. $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2022 at 10:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Also worth noting that while it seems like extensive experience with other SE sites should count for something with regards to each site's culture, it does not actually count very much. While there are some broad commonalities, I've found that the individual sites differ quite a lot in their approaches, and credit is apparently non-transferable. $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    Nov 30, 2022 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


If I am being honest, you should've just left a comment in the first place rather than an answer. You yourself even acknowledged that some little help rather than no help could be useful, and that is exactly what comments are for. I understand you put effort into those answers and that is great, but you still have to adhere to MSE's guidelines on what constitutes a good question/comment.

I also find it odd that you say, "I didn't do any research on community guidelines so I don't claim the rightness in this matter," yet also say the decision-making process when it comes to deleting answers is broken. It seems like you are trying to justify that you are right and that MSE is wrong for taking down your answers. Trying to justify yourself when you have a sarcastic title in your post makes it hard for us to take your side. I don't have access to view the deleted answers, but if you really did just criticize and/or ask to clarify what the question meant, then I can see why that answer got taken down. And if you really did just change some wording and provide a link without paraphrasing the link's answer in your own words (I would've just left the link in the comments), then I can also understand MSE deleting your answer.

At the time of writing this response, there is still no comment on that post. Why don't you just share the link and share your thoughts in the comments? That is exactly why we have the comments section. Whenever I have some ideas but don't even know if they are helpful, I just share those ideas in the comments. If I posted those ideas as an answer, then my answer would get flagged and downvoted for not answering the question. (Sure, I've seen hints being posted as answers, but at least they are obvious they lead to what the OP wants.)

No one is trying to silence you for no reason. If you still believe it is unjustified that your answers got taken down, then what can you do about it? Ranting about it won't solve anything. At the end of the day, your answers getting deleted is not a big deal.


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