I hope this isn't just another "why" question, but if it is I want to learn from it.

I posted the first answer to this question, at which time it was:

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Hence my answer:

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Then I went offline for eight hours (you know, to sleep :]). Now, I see since posting my answer, the OP materially edited the question, indicating what he meant to ask was:

...how I can find the wireless MAC address (aka BSSID) of any wireless access point with aircrack-ng...

Fair enough; he didn't ask what he wanted to on his first attempt. But why was my answer judged against the edited version of the question? Shouldn't it instead have been downvoted, giving me the opportunity to revise it if I wished (or perhaps earn the Peer Pressure badge)?

2 Answers 2


I'm not the mod who deleted it, but its clear why

While it was a ambiguous somewhat vague question, that required a certain degree of context to understand the intent was fairly clearly not what a Mac Address was -and someone else clarified it with an edit, so it wasn't that obscure..

I suppose the lack of downvotes was cause downvotes cost rep, and comments and flags are free. Its just human nature. I'd add I'd have downvoted it if I was a regular user, but there's no specific need to do that.

  • None of the comments which drew out the clarification existed when I answered. I appreciate that others were able to draw out the OPs mistake, but IMHO the OPs original question is just as valid as the one he intended to ask. Otherwise it's implied I was expected to ask him are you sure that's what you meant to ask? If my reasoning is valid, shouldn't I have been given an opportunity to revise my question instead of have it deleted? Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 15:15
  • When in doubt, its a good idea to clarify, yes - and well, I parsed the original question the same way the editor did (the OP didn't edit), especially with the mention of aircrack. Unfortunately I can't remember the non 10k/Mods view of the site - can you still see your deleted answer in any form? Can you still edit it? Or is it just gone?
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 15:19
  • LOL at I can't remember the non 10k/Mods view (been around a while, eh!) Yes, I can still see the question and edit it, then cast 1 of 5 votes to undelete it! The question now has as really good answer from grawity, so there's little point in doing that now. I'm more interested in understanding the reasoning for deleting a question that met the requirements of a good answer at the time it was posted so I can avoid losing first answer position in the future. Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 15:27
  • I hit 10K in 2011. Often by not posting a first answer, and making sure the question was clear.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 15:29
  • Re: When in doubt -- I wasn't in doubt. How was I to know a user with 40 rep knew a network doesn't have a MAC address? Just sayin... Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 15:29
  • Ahh, but I know that quite a few people who use stuff like backtrack (!!!outdated!!! All the security skiddies use kali now!) and that aircrack is a wireless cracking tool. Also "I wanted to know if I can find the MAC Address of a network" could be interpreted the way you did (he was clueless) or with the wider context of it being a wireless network.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 15:34
  • Yeah, I see there is some context here I lack. It's not a big deal, I am just bothered to know my answers are subject to outright deletion instead of letting downvoting and further interaction with the OP raise the need for revision. Maybe next time! Thanks for your feedback. Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 15:43
  • "While it was a shitty question," Is pretty shitty feedback.
    – Arthur
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 19:00
  • 2
    I suppose so, but the merits and demerits of the original question are probably worth another answer on its own. The original question was mildly ambigious and until the edit, referenced something non existant, which only could be deciphered from context. That dosen't make for a quality question. I do suppose the word shitty could be deemed impolite. I'll change it as such.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 19:42
  • I was more worried that it was alienating. People make mistakes when they are new, that's not a problem. Calling it a shitty question can be somewhat demoralizing. The edit makes sense.
    – Arthur
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 13:22

It should have been downvoted, but deletion is also appropriate.

Your answer was incorrect, since wireless network segments are identified by the MAC address of the access point (the edited question uses the correct terminology of SSID).

Determination of which answers are correct and which are incorrect is properly an expert action, not a moderation action.

However, your post also wasn't an answer at all, it was a comment. Deletion of NAA or conversion to comments IS a moderation action.

  • Thanks for your input. I agree that my answer was made incorrect by the question being edited. But I didn't answer the edited version, I answered a user with 40 rep asking How can I find the MAC address of a network? In that case, my answer would be an answer: "it can't be done, friend; here's why!" He was afforded the ability to retarget his question...how's come [via deletion of my answer] I wasn't granted the same opportunity? Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 20:57
  • @Twisty: You take a big risk when you write an answer that doesn't actually answer the question, and a "it can't be done" response falls into that category. Furthermore, the information about being wireless was in the original question. Saying "it can't be done" of a question which you haven't fully understood is a bad idea. (And if you think "I'm looking at a network with aircrack. How can I find its MAC address?" is semantically equivalent to "How can I find the MAC address of a network?", then you haven't understood the significance of aircrack being mentioned)
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 21:53
  • You're right to mention I did not recognize the significance of aircrack and the clue that offered to the question's poor phrasing. It would have been nice to been able to adjust my answer to compensate for that rather than have it regarded as being an intentionally poor answer. But I will endeavor to better read between the lines next time! Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 22:06

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