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This poses an interesting situation, I think.

The Scenario

I had a question here for some time with no answer.

Recently, someone answered who appeared to be a new user (username: "Rem", reputation: 1)

The answer wasn't the best; it didn't give too much detail and mentioned a product on another site (though the user did not appear to be affiliated in any way with the product).

I tried to issue some guidance to the new user via a comment on their answer, but before I could do that, the post had been downvoted, and by the time I posted my comment the post had also been deleted.

From what I could tell, the comment appeared to be more of a less-detailed attempt to help than a spammy post.

Questions Surrounding It

  • Is there some sort of an auto-spam feature that would have removed this, or was it a a mod's doing?
    • Are new users that post links in their short answers assumed to be spammers?
  • Can I, as a question author, see why an answer was removed? If not, is that worth considering?
  • As new users post answers, should there be some sort of a grace period / "strikes" rule to allow new users a chance to adjust to the guidelines?
    • If I was that user and the attempt to help was legitimate, I would find the community totally unwelcoming if they downvoted and deleted my post without any guidance provided to me or chance to revise.
  • btw (unrelated to my answer below): Hi, fellow Marylander! and fellow person with the same first name as me! ;p – allquixotic Jan 24 '14 at 17:34
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    I agree with several of your points. When you reach 500 rep, you will be invited to review first posts from new users. I’ve been doing that for about a year now, and it has seemed to me that a lot of people are voting to delete answers that are short and incomplete, without much regard for whether the asker would benefit from them. It seems to make perfect sense that the author of a question should be able to see these deleted answers, regardless of his rep level. Also, I believe that some people are way too quick to take destructive action. – Scott Jan 31 '14 at 19:14
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    P.S. I suspect that the person who provided the answer got some feedback that you can't see. – Scott Jan 31 '14 at 19:16
12

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It was flagged as spam enough times that it was automatically deleted by the bot. No manual moderator involvement was necessary for this answer to be deleted.

Is there some sort of an auto-spam feature that would have removed this, or was it a a mod's doing?

The auto-spam feature.

Are new users that post links in their short answers assumed to be spammers?

Generally, yes. We also look at their other answers, and if they very frequently post link-only answers with very little content except for the links, they tend to be considered as promoting a product, and are either mod-pinged (warned) or answer-banned, and the answers deleted. But the community (anyone who can flag) can also make spammers go away by doing enough flags.

Can I, as a question author, see why an answer was removed? If not, is that worth considering?

If you have enough permissions to see deleted answers (10k reputation) then yes.

As new users post answers, should there be some sort of a grace period / "strikes" rule to allow new users a chance to adjust to the guidelines?

There is, at least if the answer isn't flagged as spam enough times to get auto-deleted. If it isn't repeatedly flagged, then typically a user won't be answer-banned or have their answer deleted by a moderator; instead, a moderator will warn the user.

If I was that user and the attempt to help was legitimate, I would find the community totally unwelcoming if they downvoted and deleted my post without any guidance provided to me or chance to revise.

On the flip side, the network has been the recipient of an enormous amount of spam of late, and we're having to combat it expediently so that the front page of all the sites isn't flooded with spam. It's unfortunate that we have to treat users this way, but we go out of our way to tell new users about our site policies, and low quality answers are going to be deleted whether the user is new or not.

  • All fair answers to the questions. Thank you for the thorough response! – SeanKilleen Jan 24 '14 at 18:49
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    Well, perhaps the 10k requirement for seeing deleted posts can be waved (or relaxed) for answers to your own question? – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Feb 1 '14 at 17:15
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    I have to say that I feel this particular answer was indeed unfairly deleted. If you see the revision history, you'll note that the links was added in a (useful) edit by another user and the original answer read like an honest attempt to help. – terdon Feb 2 '14 at 14:52
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    In the case where the link was added in an edit, seems like the spam flags should trigger a revert, not deletion. – Ben Voigt Feb 3 '14 at 21:29

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