Yesterday I asked a question which was quite open ended and lacked direction because I wasn't sure exactly what I was asking. I put some examples and very general statements to try to account for my ignorance and cast a wider net. Essentially, the real question I was asking (but didn't realise I was asking) was:

Is this what a geodesic is? Should I be using geodesic equations to find this curve?

The comments I received helped a lot because they contained the answer I was looking for: the type of curve is a geodesic.

However when I tried to post this as an answer (and I am more than willing to delete my own answer to let one of the commentors post their version and get credit for it), I got many hostile messages which confused me.

This one comment was particularly troubling:

confusing and hostile response

Here Alex admits I asked a very general question, but that my answer is not valid. Additionally, he admits that he had difficulties understanding my description.

In a situation like this, is it not best practise to err on the side of the person who actually asked the question?

How do I proceed with this? I updated my original question to be much more clear now that I have the benefit of hindsight. Is there a way to restore this answer?

  • $\begingroup$ "in a situation like this, is it not best practise to err on the side the person who actually asked the question?" Given that you are that person, your suggestion will strike many of us as mere self-interest. As you say, the information you used to compose an "answer" was a special case covered in the Comments. So feel free to improve your Question, if it interests you sufficiently. But let's not fall into a policy debate motivated by what happens to be your preference at this time. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 3:53
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ "in a situation like this, is it not best practise to err on the side the person who actually asked the question?" No no, because catering to the OP is just a secondary goal of this website, which wants to be a repository of search-friendly Q&A, where posts are customised, personalised, or provided specific context relevantly, cohesively and coherently. (Notice the OP is barred from from self-deleting Questions once Answers are posted.) Anyhow, I cast an undelete vote for the Answer because the Q&A pair is currently a match and no Answer is a casualty of the Question revamp. $\endgroup$
    – ryang
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 4:19
  • $\begingroup$ Understood, thanks for the feedback. What I meant by "this situation" is that in this case, one of the proponents to deleting the question admitted to not understanding the question. It seems to me that one should err on the question asker, or at least give the benefit of the doubt and dig deeper instead of voting to delete the question. It's this "benefit of the doubt" to the asker which is why we normally allow the asker to pick the best answer, one of the main features of the site. I really appreciate your consideration in this matter, thank you. $\endgroup$
    – Daniel
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 5:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hi Daniel, I totally agree that closure/deletion votes ought to err on the side of caution; however in this case there was no doubt (when those votes were being cast) that the Question-Answer was a mismatch, while that remark about your query being hard to understand was merely supplementary feedback. $\quad$ This meta post is actually a straightforward fit for the Requests for Reopen & Undeletion Votes thread. $\endgroup$
    – ryang
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 6:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There was no doubt at all @ryang? How so? The quoted question I posted here is from the original question and remains there now. $\endgroup$
    – Daniel
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 21:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Even if you're right, this is a reason to delete an answer right after it was posted without giving me the chance to address issues? $\endgroup$
    – Daniel
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 21:36


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