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I'm seeing these every now and then and I have some thoughts to share. As always, feel free to disagree. I feel pretty strongly about this, but I'm open to discussion.


If the answer you're going to write boils down to "never happened to me, start from scratch/buy brand name hardware", then you probably shouldn't be answering that question. OP doesn't need your expertise to know that they can re-do their work or throw more money at the problem. They've asked the question because they want to avoid that. If there's no satisfying solution, they would like to at least understand why so they can avoid repeating their mistakes. If you have neither the solution nor explanation, then your would-be answer won't be helpful.

Exceptions probably apply, but please think twice if what you have to say warrants making an exception. You can also consider leaving a comment instead. It won't get you any reputation, but that's not the goal - helping OP is.

Another thing to think about before posting an answer if you can't explain what OP is observing: is this really within your area of expertise? Maybe they're doing something similar to what you were doing for years, but they're using different software and you don't know its quirks? Maybe they're using the software you use, but you've never used that particular feature and you shouldn't be posting your guess, or at least you should make it clear that it's a guess and not a confident answer? Our knowledge and experience, even if broad, are still limited. It's important to know where these limits are. Speaking from the position of an expert without having anything valuable to say only dilutes your reputation.

Please also consider the fact that your well-meaning and confident answer may encourage someone to start redoing their work or buy new hardware before a more experienced user can post a better solution.

Finally: if you feel the need to delete an answer almost immediately after receiving a downvote, before I can finish typing an explanatory comment, then I think you should reflect on it. Do you have so little confidence in your answer's correctness? Maybe you should make that clear in the answer. Are you afraid of it getting more downvotes and losing you reputation points? Maybe you should have higher quality standards for the answers you post.

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  • 3
    Sadly I know who this question is directed towards.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 22:15
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    Some examples would be nice! Or if its a non answer, flag it. I really don't have enough to to write an answer so I'll comment
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 0:13
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    Also... would people who do such things actually read meta?
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 0:13
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    @JourneymanGeek I'd rather not point my finger at anybody. If they don't read meta, they'll get a comment with a link
    – gronostaj
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 5:33
  • 1
    "if you feel the need to delete an answer almost immediately after receiving a downvote" – It can be worse. More than once I've seen this followed by a comment like "I wrote a very good answer for you but it was downvoted and had to be deleted", as if the deletion was because of the site policy or somebody else's decision, not the author's. Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 6:56
  • @Ramhound Who is out there recommending everyone simply buy a more expensive pc? Whats the point of complaining about that if that person won't read meta? Are there more than 1 people who do that? A very confusing post, when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain like me.
    – Gantendo
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 8:22
  • We can't stop users deleting their answers if they so choose, but if they are down voted then those users should eventually get banned from answering. You can also mod flag so we can take a look ...
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 10:50
  • 1
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    @Gantendo - I was talking about a user who routinely deletes their answers the moment they receive feedback or a downvote that suggests the answer isn’t technically accurate. Since they submit so many answers, and most don’t get deleted, it will take a very long time to effect their ability to submit answers
    – Ramhound
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 17:14
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    I was talking about a user who routinely deletes their answers [that are wrong] ...... I am the only member that matches this description so far as I know. ... Downvote / deletion for every day I have been a member (over 1,000)
    – John
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 13:21
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    Frankly, this needs to be on MSE because Super User isn't the only stack this happens on. Not by a long shot.
    – Spencer
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 19:28
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    Honestly, there's a lot wrong with the flow of StackExchange websites. E.g. a person posts generic wrong answer -> gets downvoted without any correction -> deletes the answer -> doesn't know what's wrong and posts a comment under question with wrong info asking why they were downvoted instead -> the person downvoting may just not care and leave the comment hanging, because why would they comment below that if they didn't bother earlier? Most of these can be avoided, but nope, the system and people let that happen easily.
    – Destroy666
    Commented May 9, 2023 at 0:24
  • @Destroy666 "People always cry about receiving downvotes without comment, but then you comment and get called toxic. You can't win." -- n8te
    – Gantendo
    Commented May 10, 2023 at 0:46
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    @n8te Sometimes it's undeserved, but sometimes indeed the comment is toxic. I've spent over 10 years on SU, I try to always leave a downvote comment unless it's something obvious and I recall only a couple indignant users.
    – gronostaj
    Commented May 10, 2023 at 5:55
  • Constant downvoting without explantation is way more toxic than overreacting to a criticizing opinion, IMO, especially if the criticism itself could be a lot nicer. Well, as long as the overreaction isn't insultive ofc. Especially if you downvote newcomers that may not be aware of what's welcome and what's less - I had ~3/5 of initial answers downvoted with no comment and could have easily resigned. Downvoting more experienced people is more understandable as they should have learned at some point, however, don't be surprised that they withdraw answers then.
    – Destroy666
    Commented May 11, 2023 at 8:55

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