19

Twice that I know for fact, and another couple times that I suspect. The OP has deleted the question as soon as they know the answer.

I assume it was the OP, the two I know for a fact were both Excel questions. Today's question I spent the better part of 30 minutes between answer and followup, and now the whole questions just flat out gone.

I understand why bad questions, questions that violate the guidelines etc all being deleted. But when a valid question and answer exists, why can the OP delete it just because they now know the answer.

If there's another reason this is happening please tell me!

sorry had to rant, but it's also really hard to build reputation points when people do this...

  • 5
    If people keep getting deleted questions, they eventually will get question banned. While its unsporting, unfair, and generally not cool. Being able to self delete answers generally has a purpose, but this particular use of it is entirely from a misunderstanding of the point of SE, in my opinion. – Journeyman Geek Aug 14 '14 at 1:07
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    Are you talking about your own experiences on Super User? I'm asking because you have just one answer on Super User that wasn't deleted by yourself, and that one was a short one-liner with very basic information. I'm not saying the problem doesn't exist, but I could not find it in your profile. – Daniel Beck Aug 14 '14 at 3:34
  • There are two excel questions, neither of which exist anymore. The second of which was 14 or 16 hours ago. I noticed the entire question was missing not long after the last edit to my answer. The prior occasion I remember less because I hadn't put the pieces together until it happaned today. – Tyson Aug 14 '14 at 5:34
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    Cheat: Write your answer in external editor, keep a copy in case question gets deleted. If Q is deleted, ask original question (rephrased) and add own answer. – user 99572 is fine Aug 14 '14 at 8:26
  • You are not alone in this: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/258730/… – Kevin Panko Aug 14 '14 at 14:17
  • @Tyson - Daniel is able to see all your answers even the deleted questions. You can always link to the deleted questions and in theory if the question's quality is good enough it could be restored. – Ramhound Aug 15 '14 at 10:51
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    @Ramhound I'd be happy to link it, if I had the uri. my answer doesn't show in my profile as deleted, at least I can't see it. – Tyson Aug 15 '14 at 14:54
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    "There are two excel questions, neither of which exist anymore. The second of which was 14 or 16 hours ago." I'm sorry but I cannot find anything. This is the only answer you posted in the 4 or so days before you wrote this meta question, and neither the answer nor the question were ever deleted. I assume the answer you posted (and deleted yourself) an hour after posting this question is not what you were referring to, because that was never edited. – Daniel Beck Aug 19 '14 at 18:27
13

You might see this in tags surrounding things people try to accomplish at work, so it's no coincidence that you'd observe this with Excel. If you've put a substantial amount of effort into something that was deleted before it could be up-voted in the course of the question author deleting their question, you can flag for a moderator to have a look.

Something else you might consider is editing and / or up-voting the question itself in the course of answering it (you found it interesting enough to answer, is it also useful enough to merit a vote?) Believe it or not, the concept of potentially losing points somewhere can be a deterrent for deletion, or motivation to try editing instead of deleting.

We have things in place specifically to stop people from potentially wasting their time by answering questions. You can't delete your own question if it has multiple answers, or a single answer with a score of one or higher. That generally stops it, what remains is the edge case of great answers not getting a chance to see votes before being removed.

If we see this as a pattern, we'll take steps to stop it. I've seen it as a pattern from certain organizations, and I have limited entire companies to one question per day, per site in the past due to this. The most important take-away of course being, if you see something that isn't right - let someone know.

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    Of course, with a deleted question, you can't really flag anything. In that case, folks should come to chat or maybe ask on Meta. – slhck Aug 14 '14 at 7:20
  • @slhck till, they get 10k ;) – Braiam Aug 27 '14 at 16:14

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