I am asking this question because of a recent encounter with a moderator on this post. A moderator asked me to add an example to my answer, and when I didn't, he just deleted my answer.
Some extra points :
- The post had a bounty that was close to elapsed
- My answer was the only answer and AFAIK was correct
- I added the example, but the moderator left the answer deleted and the bounty elapsed
Had my encounter been with anyone else but a moderator, I would have received a comment such as : "I down-voted your answer because an example is required. If you add the example I will reverse my action". And it would have had much the same effect on me.
Somehow it seems to me that deleting an answer when other actions were possible, is too-final, a too-strong disciplinary action against a disobedient user.
As an aside: Bounty posts are protected against closing, but not answers. As the poster here lost his reputation for nothing, I think that he is owed his reputation back.
Apparently there is no answer and no guidelines to the question of whether a moderator should take moderator-level action when a weaker community-level action might suffice and communicate the same message.
As usual (sigh), my attempt to start a general discussion has only started everybody explaining how bad was my answer. In my opinion, an answer that really solves the poster's problem needs interaction with the poster. Deleting an answer on a bounty question, where obviously the poster waits for a solution, blocks this discussion and any further improvement of the answer in a direction profitable to the user, not to a moderator who is anyway a highly technical person.
I didn't get an answer to my question, but did get useful information for myself for the future. For others, especially moderators, I hope this post may lead to some thinking.
Thanks to everybody that has contributed an answer here.