/privileges/trusted-user does not explain how to best apply the delete answers privilege.

Here's a little comparison. First, I quote access to moderator tools privileges explanation for deleting questions (it says Deleting posts in the title, but that's apparently not precise):

Deleting posts

When should I delete questions?

Closed questions that are of no lasting value whatsoever should be flagged and deleted.

Before voting to delete, please check that there are no good answers — if so, then the question should be flagged for moderator attention as a potential merge candidate. We don't like to lose great answers!

Also, be cautious when deleting questions closed as duplicates — they can serve as a signpost, directing users to useful answers on another question.

It takes 3 votes, minimum, to delete a closed question. However, the number of delete votes required scales to the number of votes on the question and all its answers.

You must wait for a question to be closed for 2 days before you can vote for deletion. This restriction is removed for trusted users. If you feel a post should be deleted despite having lots of votes or for being new, please flag it for community moderator attention.

You can view a list of posts with outstanding delete votes via the moderator tools delete tab.

Here's the explanation in the trusted user privileges page:

What are trusted users?

Trusted users are allowed to perform trusted actions, including:

Voting to delete answers with score of -1 or lower

That's really all there is about this. The rest of the page goes on about what tag wikis are. If you managed to get 20k+ reputation and don't know what they are, you're probably doing it wrong.

But it says absolutely nothing about when it is appropriate to delete answers.

As a long-time user, I am familiar with closing questions, and that's an indicator a question isn't good. With the additional explanation on the question deletion privilege, I have an idea how to act.

But deleting answers? I have no idea what answers need to be deleted. Except maybe those I flag as spam or offensive, but is this all we should use this for?

This is a bug report against the user documentation.

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  • It's even lacking explanation on when to delete questions. But yes, it doesn't make sense to vote to delete an answer when it's obviously spam / not an answer anyway and should therefore be flagged. – slhck Dec 20 '11 at 9:45
  • Uhm. Who would vote to close as off topic? – slhck Dec 20 '11 at 16:39
  • Tom reposted this to MSO and received an answer that apparently is also valid for answers, even though not explicitly mentioned. I withdraw this bug report. – Daniel Beck Jan 26 '12 at 22:51
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    I still consider this insufficiently answered. A complete lack of guidelines just calls for problems. At least one sentence … Oh well. – slhck Jan 26 '12 at 22:55

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