Yesterday I gave what I believe to be a valuable answer to a posted questions:

Get the dominant frequency of motion to correlate with tempo BPM of a song

This morning I find that the user has deleted the question. Had I not left it open a tab, I don't think I could have found it. My answer had an "undelete" option available, which when I hovered the mouse cursor over it, says "vote to undelete this post". When I click it, it informs me that an answer to a deleted question can not be undeleted. That makes sense, though I think the hover text should be fixed.

I searched for the topic here on the meta forum. I found a similar question to mine with the answer containing a reference to the deletion policy.

Had a second answer been added, or my answer upvoted, the user could not have deleted the question.

Now, I put a bit of effort into the answer, and I am fairly sure I solved the issue for the OP. I can speculate on why the user chose to delete the question rather than accept my answer, but it would be speculation. The obvious tactic to thwart this is to add a second answer to the question.

What the rationale is for allowing a delete once a question has been answered?




I did not read the Deletion Policy material closely enough.

From the Deletion Policy link:

"Deleting the question also deletes the answers. Deleting the answers undoes the hard work other people have put in to answer your question, and reverses the reputation they have earned too. This is not fair to the answerers of your question."

From Peter K.'s comment Help link:

"(the standard prevention against deleting answered questions is there so answerers don't lose rep, "

It seems that the policy values any loss to the reputation of the answerers more heavily than the effort to put into providing an answer. I think this is a poor decision as it provides a strong disincentive to put a large amount of effort into a first answer.

This has only happened to me this one time, but still, it has left me feeling a little gun shy. Should I wait until somebody else has posted an answer before I contribute mine? Should I add a followup as a second answer instead? Should I create a second account and upvote the first? None of these remedies seem appropriate or appealing.

I guess I've answered my own question to an extent. Thanks Peter K. and jojek.

If I should have put this as an answer instead of a followup, please let me know and I will change it.

Update: It happened again.


  • $\begingroup$ @Jojek has asked the OP what his rationale is. Let's give them some time to answer and we'll update you then. $\endgroup$
    – Peter K. Mod
    Mar 12, 2018 at 0:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Peter K., I appreciate that, but my question is broader than just this specific case. jojek was also the one who posted the question similar to mine. He got an answer to what the policy was, but not why. I have long been of the opinion that blindly enforcing policy (a predefined decision, really) without understanding the rationale is the root cause of a lot of problems. The policy statement doesn't explain why. It seems an odd line to me, and thus likely the result of a lot of discussion. So, I'm curious. $\endgroup$ Mar 12, 2018 at 1:02
  • $\begingroup$ Understood! This is the only additional information I can find, but it doesn't get to the rationale / why. $\endgroup$
    – Peter K. Mod
    Mar 12, 2018 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Peter K., Thanks. I have added a followup in my question. $\endgroup$ Mar 12, 2018 at 12:53
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, it kinda seems like there should be a waiting period until an OP can delete their question after the first answer is posted (to give it a chance to get some upvotes). $\endgroup$
    – datageist Mod
    Mar 12, 2018 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ @datageist, That approach still values the effort of the answer at zero until it is upvoted. I have answered a lot of questions and roughly a third of them haven't been upvoted. I do not think this is a reflection of the quality or effort of the answer but more having to do with the popularity of the topic. The best answer, seems to me, is to disallow deletions by the questioner once an answer has been given. If the questioner really wants to delete the question, they can ask the answerer to delete the answer first in a comment. Would there be problems with that? $\endgroup$ Mar 13, 2018 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ @CedronDawg I agree that good answers just shouldn't be deleted. The current system seems like it has a loophole, but like you said, I suspect there's a complex history behind the rules. I'll update this when I have more info (if one of the other mods doesn't track it down first). It may just be as simple as preserving rep, but I suspect these rules work better on SO because it's high traffic. $\endgroup$
    – datageist Mod
    Mar 14, 2018 at 1:14
  • $\begingroup$ So the question for me as site user with delete vote privileges: Since I think there's reason to believe these questions should not have been deleted, shouldn't we just waltz in there and vote to undelete? This certainly only addresses the acute cases, but at least that. $\endgroup$ Dec 3, 2018 at 12:12


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