108

While I am preparing (slowly, due to lots of urgent foreground tasks) a longer post about deletion on math.se, let me quickly suggest a simple guideline: Do not roll back improvements to a question unless they clearly make it worse or conflict with the question's intent. This means, in particular, to not roll back clarifications and context (unless the ...


53

(Posting as an answer, rather than a comment, because I'm curious how many will disagree.) I think the "little to do with being elementary" dispute strikes at the heart of the underlying issue here. We expect our questions to be well-formed, clear, and considered. We like them to have a clear, unambiguous answer. We want both the question and the answer to ...


38

I would cast my opinion for no. There is already a mechanism for interactive deletions, and it is balanced by restricting it to high-rep users and requiring multiple people to vote to delete. The automatic deletion script, on the other hand, is a convenience feature to automate the process for posts that are among the least controversial to delete and are ...


35

I haven't been here long, and I rarely follow meta. That said, I am surprised and dismayed by what I perceive to be very open hostility among several prominent users here, over something that I consider to be not particularly significant--"contributions" to a site. No single user, no matter how high their reputation or extensive their contribution to MSE, ...


32

Apologies for the length of this post, but as one of the organizers of an external contest (the entrance quiz for the Canada/USA Mathcamp summer program) I want to add a bit of information to this discussion. Back in February, we were alerted by a math.SE user that someone had posted five of our entrance quiz questions to math.SE. The deadline was still a ...


32

There are so many approaches and reasons to upvoting and downvoting here (=Math.SE, not Meta) that it is IMHO largely pointless to attempt to codify them. A discussion is, of course, ok, if for no other purpose than to vent one's frustration. To simplify matters somewhat let me attempt to break them into three categories. It would be a miracle, if even a ...


31

Thanks for saving me the time to post the exact same question. Let me just add my own examples to the list. My inclusion criterion is "contains a neat proof", which may be more liberal than yours, but I am pretty sure that you will find something worthy of preservation in the list (temp mirrors included if you are not a 10K+ user): If $a^{2} \mid b^{2}$ ...


26

People should flag such posts as offensive posts, and not downvote the answer at all. For two main reasons: Every such flag automatically downvotes the post. After six flags the post is deleted immediately. If one feels that deletion is not enough, and some action needs to be taken against the posting user, one can flag the answer (or the question), or ...


25

Pete Clark made a remark in another meta thread to the effect that often he believes two answers to have the same content, but the OP finds one answer much clearer than the other. In general, I think there is value in having two answers which explain things in a similar way as long as they are not actually identical. Even small differences in presentation ...


23

Now might be a good time to provide information that I do not think even the other moderators have. Some time ago I was contacted by David Savitt, who helps run Canada/USA Mathcamp, about an account that was posting questions from their entrance examination. More recently I was again contacted by David Savitt about several other accounts that he believed to ...


23

You can edit it with a note to say what you're doing, and leaving the original at the bottom so people can connect it with the answers and comments.


23

In my opinion, the author of incorrect answers should, when an error is pointed out, delete their answer unless (or until) it is amended. If the author feels that the error is of value to the site, it is acceptable to edit the post to include a prominent notice right at the top that it is erroneous, and explain where the error is, correctly, and preferably ...


22

Pete Clark made a remark in another meta thread to the effect that often he believes two answers to have the same content, but the OP finds one answer much clearer. In general, I think there is value in having two answers which explain things in a similar way as long as they are not actually identical. Even small differences in presentation may make a large ...


22

It depends. Ultimately it's your decision whether you want to delete your unanswered duplicate questions - within the constraints of the software: you can't delete more than five of your own posts per day; and deleted posts can be undeleted by other users, though for unanswered duplicate questions that's rather unlikely to happen. But some duplicate ...


21

I can think of a few valid reasons for moderator intervention regarding accepted answer: One user accepts another user's junk answers as a way of gaming the reputation system The answer owner requests deletion, having realized that the answer is totally wrong and being unable to get it unaccepted by the question owner (discussed in http://meta.math....


20

Soft-deletion is important for community moderation to work, it allows 10k+ users to verify that the deletion was reasonable and it makes abuses of the delete privileges visible. There would be no undeletion if posts would be deleted permanently. This feature mostly archives crap, but it is important for the few cases where the deletion is in error, an ...


20

In my opinion, the #1 biggest gaping hole in the dialog is about positive features — about what features a question can have that we would accept or even welcome on the site. The only positive feature I've really seen get voiced is "it's a question". I imagine some amount of tension would be resolved — or paths towards doing so might be ...


19

The answer was flagged by several users as spam, and that caused the answer to be deleted as spam by Community♦. These flags were of course incorrectly used, since the post is not spam according to the definition used here on Stack Exchange. Since the spam flags were incorrectly cast, I have cleared them from the post. (It has been re-deleted by the votes ...


19

Sometimes I have posted a wrong answer. (Hard to believe, I know.) But it seemed to me that the wrong method might be considered by others, so I left the wrong answer, and added a boldface This answer is wrong at the top, and an explanation of why it is wrong. You may consider doing that when your wrong answer may still be instructive to others. But it ...


19

Because the post has a positive score. According to Shog9's answer on Is “recommend deletion” secretly a vote to delete? Yes, a sufficient number of delete recommendations (currently 6 on most sites, 4 on Stack Overflow) will cause the post to be deleted immediately, provided it has zero or negative score. (If it has a positive score, it will raise an ...


19

I've had calc students make the $e^{x^2}=e^{2x}$ mistake before, as non-associativity of exponentiation does not come up very often in lower level coursework. Beings that $\int e^{x^2}$ is often brought up specifically as a first example of an integral with no closed form, I would expect many users who find this question through search to naturally follow ...


18

This issue pops up pretty often with cheaters on homework assignments. They ask a question, and someone answers it. BEFORE the answer is voted up, the OP deletes the question, TAKING THE ANSWER ALONG WITH IT. The OP was likely cheating, as you mentioned. One way to counter this kind of action is to upvote the first answer you see (usually I do this to stop ...


18

You should just delete it. There is no reason to clog up the site with questions that don't need to be answered. The localized nature of your mistake also makes it unlikely that the question will be useful for future users. It is nice that you are concerned with the efforts of those helping you, but no answer was posted, and comments are intended to be ...


17

Difficult to decide when a comment should be considered as quoting another comment. Not an expected behavior - we'd get endless meta threads "Why can't I delete my comment?" Too easy to abuse (one could maliciously prevent someone else from deleting comments). Not worth the SE team's time and effort to implement this just to save you the inconvenience of ...


17

If the question has an upvoted answer, the issue is moot: you will not be able to delete it. Generally, you should refrain from deleting questions with a 0-score answer too (unless the answer is also worthless). For unanswered questions, a guiding principle can be: what will make The Internet a better place: the existence of your question with a comment ...


17

Moderators can undeleted comments that were not deleted by the users. Namely, if you posted a comment and you deleted it, then moderators cannot undelete it. If, on the other hands, a moderator deleted the comment, then they can be undeleted by moderators. The problem is that you don't have access to deleted comments, so you can't quite edit them, or ...


17

From my experience on Math Help Boards as an admin, I'd say that such behavior is often indicative of cheating. They get help real quick, then delete the post so that their professor doesn't catch them at it (if the prof is even on the ball here).


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