I answered a question yesterday and my answer was deleted. There was a comment left by the moderator about it lacking references.

I understand the rules of Skeptics.SE and the need for references but I'm questioning here whether deleting an unreferenced answer is the appropriate action rather than leaving the comment (and maybe a downvote).

I added references to the answer shortly (within around 20 minutes) after the comment but it remains deleted 16 hours later.

The question has been viewed 122 times as of this writing. Based on the times of the events, most of those viewings would have been in the time period when there was a valid but deleted answer to the question. This seems less than optimal. As a low rep user myself, I have to wonder how many good answers I may have not been able to see at all due to them being deleted.

I couldn't see anything in the Meta question about referencing on what happens to unreferenced answers. The top-voted answer to a linked question suggests that downvoting is the appropriate way to enforce the references required rule. Another answer suggests the same thing.

On a separate, related note, as long as I haven't missed something in my reparations to that answer, would someone mind undeleting it?

1 Answer 1


You should still be able to access a deleted answer that is yours in order to edit it and add the lacking references. I deleted it more for your protection than anything. Due to the fact that it was essentially a good answer, but had no references, I was afraid you would get a lot of downvotes on the answer which psychologically causes a ganging up effect on others who may read it.

Feel free to edit in the type of source material I mentioned in my comment, and ping a mod to undelete it for you to gather that sweet, sweet reputation up instead of down. :)

EDIT TO ADD: Seems someone got to it while I was otherwise occupied. :) You should be all set.

  • 1
    Interesting motivation. I have certainly seen the pile-on downvoting you were afraid of and people rarely come back to remove downvotes. Your reasoning seems sound as long as it's promptly undeleted, which I could have triggered by posting here sooner.
    – Ladadadada
    Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 18:10
  • @Ladadadada You can also flag your answer for moderator attention once you have edited it.
    – Beofett
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 17:47
  • @Beofett I couldn't. There was an undelete link but I got an error when I tried to use it which said that I couldn't undelete it because a moderator had deleted it. I'm not sure if there was a flag link but I would never have thought to use it when there was an undelete link.
    – Ladadadada
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 17:54
  • @Ladadadada Yeah, undelete won't work if a moderator deleted it. But there should have been a flag link... I can see how that would be counterintuitive, though.
    – Beofett
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 18:02

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