Yesterday I've spent some time reading some articles here about the guidelines: how to recognize good quality answers Q&A and how to handle low quality Q&A.

The first question I had is: what about medium quality?

As you know the world is not black&white (link1, link2). And every science except the mathematic is subjective and subject to interpretation.

This concept is clarified on the guidelines of SE: link

The same article also clarifies the objective of this community and the need for flexibility. I've cited some sentence here: link

When I speak of flexibility many guys tell: "would you like this community to be as Yahoo Answers?". The right answer to this question is: "do you see only black" and "how do you recognize a constructive question?"

I think one useful answer is the one which adds any useful information. See information gain. The guidelines seems to state the same concept.

The question

Let's take the extreme example. If one answer is viewed 200 times and is getting 20 upvotes it means that 200 members see it as useful (otherwise they would have downvoted it), and 20 see it worthing a reward.

Is it a good idea to delete that answer if some moderator thinks (in his personal subjective way and personal interpretation of the guidelines) that the question is not a high quality answer?

the problem is ALL about the interpretation:

  • Is one answer following the guidelines?
  • Are the guidelines following the objective of SE community?
  • Are you interpreting the guidelines well?

If 20 members find one answer useful, answering the question and following the guidelines, and you don't, how can you state you are right and the 20 people are wrong?

  • 1
    Most of your posts seem to need a new flag: TMB;DR — Too Much Bold;Didn't Read. You would be much better off stripping the formatting and boiling your case down to just one clear point and example per post.
    – Caleb
    Feb 24, 2014 at 10:33
  • @Caleb: I will try to improve also if it's not easy for me..
    – Revious
    Feb 24, 2014 at 10:54
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    I'm not trying to put you down; I know what it is like to struggle to make yourself understood in a second language. I've moved to a country not speaking the language at all to start with 8 years ago. I am saying the formatting and attempts at emphasis it many of your posts is distracting and confusing. You would be better off with saying less and making it to the point.
    – Caleb
    Feb 24, 2014 at 10:57
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    Beyond that I think the main issue is that we just don't agree. You seem to have made about the same point over and over on this meta site. You made your point. The community disagrees with you. Saying it over and over (even if you spoke perfect English) would not change the fact that we disagree. Look at the voting patterns on your meta posts: that is an indication the community does not agree with your idea.
    – Caleb
    Feb 24, 2014 at 11:00
  • @Caleb: you really look like an intelligent guy. You seem very diplomatic and able to listen. I'm very curious about psychology and I had read many books on this topics. If you want to better understand human psychology it's enough to read Dale Carnagie's - how to win friend and influence people. Our scholastic system is not very well done. People are always looking for seeing only what confirm their beliefs. Sometimes it's amazing how deep people believe in their own ideas. cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/5825/…
    – Revious
    Feb 24, 2014 at 11:12
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    Sam, I've read Dale Carnagie's book and I am well aware of what confirmation bias is. I am also a Christian in a Muslim majority country and know lots about deeply held beliefs! What I don't understand is how that applies to this site or your meta issue. SE sites serve a particular purpose and achieve that purpose with certain established methodology. Why are you trying to challenge the methodology in one specific case? If you think the system is broken, make your case on MSO. If you think a bad judgement call was made in one case, you should just explain that one case.
    – Caleb
    Feb 24, 2014 at 11:17
  • @Caleb: First.. thanks a lot for listening me. The problem is that the system is not broken.. but I believe many developers are easily to be very intergralistic on their beliefs. They often think to know what is better and try to achieve the perfection. Taken to the extreme, the need to achieve perfection is not a good thing. Cognitive psychology says that is one of the symptom of narcissism, mental strictness, obsessive and compulsive personality trait. I've tried to explain that a bit of flexibility is a good thing. And I got response similar to: psychologist are stupid..
    – Revious
    Feb 24, 2014 at 11:26
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    @Sam, Please Please Please, stop posting the same questions again and again about the same thing, just because you don't like the answer you have received. This is about the same thing as meta.softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/644/… You could have easily edited your existing question to include more information (that you put in this question). Feb 24, 2014 at 13:27
  • @Oxinabox: I edited my answer and Gilles deleted the same. Why? because he didn't realized that!!! Because he is too hurried, too emotive, too human. The problem is that when you give someone the power to restrict others people freedoms you will always have to face this kind of issue. The more you are inflexible, the more you are going towards phenomenon called tyranny.. However. doesn't mind. Gilles just made a mistake and you prefer to deny because you feel that he is "one of your side"..
    – Revious
    Feb 24, 2014 at 13:38
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    @Sam: I disagree (slightly) with the deleting of that answer. I don't believe it was terrible, enough. However I strongly agree with supporting the actions of our Moderators. If that is supporting Tyranny then cool. I am happen with a benevolent dictator. I also Strongly believe you should stop posting the same issue on meta again and again. Feb 24, 2014 at 13:43
  • @Oxinabox: "I disagree (slightly) with the deleting of that answer." => so there is something not working in this system.. what can we do?
    – Revious
    Feb 24, 2014 at 13:47
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    Nope. Nothing is wrong. I disagree slightly. Meaning were I a moderator, I wouldn't have deleted it. But I am just one person. Futher more I trust Gilles Judgement of what makes a good answer (/a answer worth keeping) better that I trust my own. (which is why I never ran for moderator. I don't have the experience/vision required.) Feb 24, 2014 at 13:49
  • I guess what I am getting at is (to use a metaphor): I like to Cook, and to talk about cooking. Sometimes I even post on Seasoned Advice about the right way to cook, (either asking or answering). Now I don't really like Brussel Sprouts, and wouldn't put them in anything. But last week, the chef doing catering where I work, cooked up some brussel sprouts. I didn't complain because I though: "I'm sure he knows more about cooking than me." and when I had the meal with the brussel sprouts, it was delicious. And that is why I want him as the chef, not me." So too it is with me and moderators. Feb 24, 2014 at 14:26
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    Voting is not at all a factor in determining whether an answer is worth deleting. A high score on an answer that is only a generic description of the application cannot possibly reflect the quality of the answer; at best it reflects the popularity of he tool being recommended. This is a questions and answers site, not a poll site. Feb 24, 2014 at 17:26
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    I deleted your answer based on the state it was in at the time. You have not edited it since then. Feb 24, 2014 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


I think one useful answer is the one which adds any useful information.

Most of the rest of us think it's not an answer until it answers the question.

Is it a good idea to delete that answer if [...] the [answer] is not a high quality answer?

Yes. Deletion of posts that don't answer the question or follow our quality guidelines is a good thing.

(paraphrased) If 20 members think one answer useful, answers the question and follows the guidelines, and a moderator deletes it, how do we know the moderator isn't out of line?

We don't. We put moderators in place because we trust their judgement and because somebody is needed to make judgment calls like deleting things that don't follow the guidelines. Of course they can make mistakes.

It 20 people 5 people even just one person with at least 5 reputation points disagrees that a good judgement call was made in a specific case, they may post about that specific case on meta for the community to review and see if they agree with the moderator's judgement.

  • I think it would be more correct to speak for yourself only and not for "most of us" unless you are one of the cofounder of the community. If strongly believe in being humble and diplomatic and put ourself in discussion. I share your idea about deleting answer which don't answer the question.. but if one answer is really upvoted who says it doesn't answer the question or doesn't obey the guidelines? The problem is that the guidelines are saying to be flexible in a very clear way, and maybe it's possible you are interpreting the guidelines in a wrong way.
    – Revious
    Feb 24, 2014 at 9:51
  • the problem is ALL about the interpretation. Is one answer following the guidelines? Are the guidelines following the objective of SE community? Are you interpreting the guidelines well? If 20 members find one answer useful, answering the question and following the guidelines, and you don't, how can you state you are right and the 20 people are wrong? blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective
    – Revious
    Feb 24, 2014 at 9:53
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    I say this on behalf of the community because this has already been hashed out in other meta posts and I already know that I am not alone in this view. Votes here should eventually bear me out. It won't be unanimous but the trend will be in agreement.
    – Caleb
    Feb 24, 2014 at 10:12
  • yes, and what about the community which upvotes one answer and you delete that answer? This is happening the opposite.. The community states one answer as good, you don't agree, you exchange your interpretation (belief) for the only good interpretation of the guidelines. You decide against other members's idea. What about this?
    – Revious
    Feb 24, 2014 at 10:17
  • Votes on main have proven (across over 100 SE sites to date) to not be a reliable indicator of when questions or answers fit a site's guidelines. In the case of bikeshed questions they are a counter-indicator. Moderators and high-rep users are endowed with special powers specifically so they can use their judgement to fix this situations. If you would like to appeal a specific case, raise that single case on meta for the wider community to review. The general practice of moderators exercising judgement is part of the system working as it was designed.
    – Caleb
    Feb 24, 2014 at 10:27
  • I understand very well the need of endowing moderator special powers. But it's weir that you are saying: "Votes here should eventually bear me out." and then you say: "In the case of bikeshed questions they are a counter-indicator.". Because meta is the place where questions are more subjective.. so I don't understand if you believe in vote system only when it's comfortable / convenient to you or what? You know that human are making mistakes. And you also know that the wise man is the one who put himself in discussion.. I will provide you an example of moderator error.
    – Revious
    Feb 24, 2014 at 11:01
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    I know moderators make errors, you don't need to show me. I could show you some I've made. That isn't the point. The point is they are supposed to make judgement calls, and in the case you describe they are making them like they are supposed to. Votes on meta indicate community consensus about how a site should work more that votes on main on bad content. For example meta sites almost always agree bikeshed questions are bad even though they are often popular an main sites. That's why moderators keep shutting them down. Either way this isn't a democracy.
    – Caleb
    Feb 24, 2014 at 11:05
  • yes, but the issue is also that SE guidelines were really relaxed and open minded 3 years ago. You can see it from this blog post: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective. Now many guys are doing their best effort but they are also going in the opposite direction.. (strictness, looking for perfection, dycothomic, black & white, etc).
    – Revious
    Feb 24, 2014 at 11:14

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