I posted an answer that met both the spirit of the question and the literal question asked. It was a lot different from other answers, all of which were going down a trail suggested by the OP as a possible answer to there question.

My answer was deleted by a mod, and I used the "contact moderator" button on the answer to request clarification. I believe the mod didn't really read/understand the original question, and just "shot from the hip" based on my new tack for solution. My e-mail is in my profile, but I never heard from a moderator by e-mail nor was there any reply in the comments.

So I waited a couple of days, wrote 2 paragraphs at the front of my answer explaining what the literal question was, and what the questionthe OP really wanted answered.

I re-posted my original answer (with the preface) and the moderators allowed it to stand.

From my point of view, the original moderator didn't have a leg to stand on when they deleted the original answer. If the answer was a bad answer worthy of deletion, then my re-post should also have been deleted. But, the identical answer wasn't deleted.

I'm also upset because I could not engage a moderator. Not one word came from them. The "flag for moderator attention" fell on deaf ears.

Now I find I can't comment on anything -- can't asked an OP specific questions, can't correct statements of fact in comments, can't offer leads for investigation.

I am also most reluctant to post an formal answer that doesn't directly and completely answer the question, i.e. an "answer" that just asks for more info, etc. -- Such a non-answer is a distraction which should be down-voted as non-responsive.

We have comments for questions and suggestions that are not "true answer" quality. I do wish that I were allowed to make them.

How can I get out of Coventry? As an occasional contributor, I expect it will be years before I produce enough original answers.

  • Can you provide a link to the question/answer?
    – Burgi
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 21:42
  • @Burgi Answer seems to be Suppress execution trace for echo command?
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 21:56
  • In what way do you believe you were penalized? Deletion of an answer doesn't carry a penalty (unless you have a lot of posts that are deleted). You were able to repost, so no time-out was imposed. As to your answer, the question is pretty clear and specific as to the objective, and your answer bears no relationship to it.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 4:52
  • 1
    "I am also most reluctant to post an formal answer that doesn't directly and completely answer the question, i.e. an "answer" that just asks for more info, etc. " - Good. You shouldn't submit answers, that are not complete answers, and that does not directly answer the question.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 12:47
  • I have learned that that I was not singled out; the anti-spam rules just make it impossible for EVERY new person to quickly get involved. Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 3:25

2 Answers 2


Based on your description, I'm guessing the answer that was deleted was this one, currently very similar to this existing one. Note, though, that at the time the post was deleted, it looked like this.

I admit I don't know Bash, but to me it looks like your answer only changes the stuff prepended to the output, as opposed to removing the spurious + echo line. Several other users (including one non-moderator 20K+ user) believed that the answer did not sufficiently address the question, so the moderator was certainly not alone.

Your edit to the original answer came after the deletion. Therefore, it's very unlikely that others noticed. When you reposted, though, you posted the new revised version that contains more information and better explanation. Given that the original answer was in the Low Quality Posts review queue, it was judged as low quality by either the automated heuristics or by a Not An Answer flag, which is probably what brought it to moderator attention. So far, it looks like the new answer has not received such a flag, though it could be argued that it still doesn't accomplish the task in the question.

I'm not sure how you could have raised a flag for a moderator here, since doing so requires 15 reputation. Given that this meta post was migrated from Meta Stack Overflow, you might have raised your flag on a different site. Flags should be virtually always only raised on the site where the issue is.

Note finally that moderators will probably never contact you via e-mail. If anything, you would get a private moderator message on the site, but that only happens when something seriously bad went down.

Relevant MSE: Why do I need 50 reputation to comment? What can I do instead?

  • 2
    Note it still doesn't answer the question, as the answer does not output just the message without the associated echo command, which was what the OP asked for.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 22:05
  • @david Again, go back and CAREFULLY reread the original question. The OP wasn't asking how to make echo leave only 1 track. They said that the problem was that using echo left 2 tracks, and they only wanted one. In particular, the used the Latin abbreviation "e.g." means EXAMPLE and then sited the echo command. At no time did they REQUIRE that echo be used. The fixation on echo by the reviewers seems an obsession. Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 3:24
  • @Ben Again, you're shooting from the hip. Didn't I say "My answer was deleted by a mod, and I used the "contact moderator" button on the answer to request clarification" while I was talking about the original posting in superuser, long before I opened this specific query on meta? Again, the problem is that I tried, on superuser, to contact a moderator and received no response. Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 3:28
  • The original answer, on superuser, which was deleted by the moderation, was altered by a system bug. When I started to add my second answer, the system said "Are you sure? Don't you want to edit your original answer?". I told it "no, I want a new answer". But, -- the bug -- it went ahead and slammed my input over the original answer. When I saw what it had done, I again tried to post a new answer. This time it didn't prompt me about updating my 1st one, and went ahead and created an additional answer as I desired. Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 3:33
  • 1
    @HiTechHiTouch I'm sorry, I'm not sure which "contact moderator" button you're referring to, since it doesn't look like you have enough reputation to flag posts. If you used the "contact us" link at the bottom of the page, please note that those queries go to Stack Exchange the company (not the Super User moderators). Admittedly, I'm still not clear on the timeline of events, but if via some mistake you ended up with two duplicate existing answers, it is standard procedure to remove one of them.
    – Ben N
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 16:11

TL;DR version: No, you have not been penalised at all, you just haven't earned any reputation on this site to allow you to comment.

Bens answer does a good job of explaining why your answer was likely deleted. I was not the mod involved but seeing your original revision I agree with the action taken, you simply failed to explain how to achieve anything and as such your answer looks a lot more like a comment. Even it its edited state it fails to explain how to do what you are saying and instead just looks like a massively verbose comment.

There are no bans, limits or restrictions on your account.

The deleted answer had no upvotes (or downvotes) so you neither gained nor lost any privileges as a result of the answer being deleted. You didn't have the ability to comment before it was deleted and you still didn't have that ability after. You need to earn rep on each site before you can comment on questions and answers on that site.

We have the ability to contact users via on-site methods, but this is reserved for serious issues like spamming, plagiarism, being abusive and other more disruptive problems.

If you got no response from raising a flag then asking a question here on meta would be the next thing to do, or you could have asked a question in our Ask a Moderator chat room if you wanted a more casual discussion.

In all honesty your is of questionable quality as you still don't actually post anything that solves the problem. You get halfway to a solution with "a trick" which, while you describe it, you do not actually state how to do it and is hidden amongst a lot of rehashing of the question, making it difficult to pick out.

In essence the only useful line in your answer is

Do an assignment of a text string to an inactive variable. I use "echo" for my variable name because 1) it's a functional echo, and 2) the text can be retrieved at a later time for trace-backs, etc.

But you don't actually show or teach anyone how to do this and it makes it difficult to tell whether this is just more verbose verbiage or a real solution.

  • 2
    +1 to this answer. Answers that tell me to do something, without telling me what to do, are answers I expect from websites like Yahoo Answers. If I don't know how to do something, I want the answer I am reading, to tell me how to do it, not tell me to do something. I likely already know, that I need to do that thing anyways, I am just not clear how to acomplish it.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 12:49
  • 1
    Lord know how pedantic I must become. The post had a "code" section with two examples, each an assignment statement. There is no multi-step program involved here. The answer to "not have two virtually duplicate lines printed" involves no redirection, no setting/resetting shell options, no command lists, nothing fancier than doing a single assignment. How much explanation is required to say "just do an assignment, instead of an echo?" Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 3:13
  • I am a little baffled by the intensity of the criticism of HiTechHiTouch and his or her answer(s).  In particular, the criticism that he describes "a trick", but he does not actually state how to do it.  Huh?  What? I’m looking at the first revision of the first answer.  It says, “… do an assignment (to the variable echo) ….”  Lots of answers skimp on details; if the bones of an answer are there, but the meat is thin, and you don’t understand it, you should post a comment asking for an explanation. … (Cont’d) Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 5:37
  • (Cont’d) … But, as the OP asks, «How much explanation is required to say "just do an assignment, instead of an echo?"»  But wait; there’s more!  The first revision of the first answer has a code block demonstrating the exact procedure that the answer just described.  … … …  It’s not a good answer, but I believe that it should not have been deleted.  … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … P.S. @Mokubai: Doesn’t chat require 20 rep?  The OP doesn’t have that yet. Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 5:38
  • @Scott not knowing bash syntax it is very difficult to see that it is actually an answer, a couple of extra lines saying "do this" and "then you get this" can work wonders. When your input and output look nearly the same clarity is key. The original answer also started with a type of comment that made it look a lot like a comment on the question rather than an answer. As it stands though it also duplicates at least one other answer in the method used so that could have been another factor for the mod that handled the flag. OP has >20 rep on at least 3 sites so the would have access to chat.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 7:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .