This question is related to Should we increase the penalty for downvoted answer. I'm separating out the issue of expanding the deletion policy from the question of changing the reputation penalties for downvotes because it is a distraction to mix the two.

The current reason for deletion of an answer is listed at the FAQ, here:

Answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. This includes answers that are …

  • commentary on the question or other answers
  • asking another, different question
  • “thanks!” or “me too!” responses
  • exact duplicates of other answers
  • barely more than a link to an external site
  • not even a partial answer to the actual question

Only answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. The list provides examples of questions that do not fundamentally answer the question.

Additions that have been suggested

  • Answers that

    1. get enough downvotes to be offered for closure to the community as a question in meta, and
    2. have enough people supporting deletion at meta (ether by answers, or by votes),

    may be removed. (Ilya Melamed)

  • Answers that have -5 or less as score may be removed. (Wertilq)

3 Answers 3


Wertilq, I am always hesitant to remove a severely downvoted answer that follows the rules. Just because someone draws a conclusion that may not be supported by the full preponderance of data, doesn't mean that it should be summarily removed. I am afraid that such actions would smack of censorship at worst. Also, it could provide an opportunity for an answerer to improve their answer if there is a dissenting viewpoint that someone may not have initially addressed in their question, or in the community voted answer.

Also, the severely downvoted answer may provide a source of another skeptical claim that someone can ask and answer, letting more people participate in the reputation process to reach this supposed state of nobility.

Again, just because an answer has a really low score doesn't mean that it is a violation of policies. If every down voted answer got deleted, it would make Skeptics just some sort of mutual intellectual masturbation page, and I don't think anyone wants that. Instead it should allow for the opportunity to learn as well as be exposed to new information.

Just my two cents.

  • How about answers that have lies in them, like putting a link to a psuedoscience blog and claiming that it's scientific research, or showing soldiers using non lethal weapons against a riot and claiming that it depicts "Soldiers trying to shoot children" in a discussion revolving about killing children?
    – SIMEL
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 12:32
  • 2
    @IlyaMelamed In short, trying to fix the most glaring problems, either through edits or comments, should be the preferred response. In the first example, I'd say add a comment pointing out that the source is untrustworthy, and downvote. In the second case, I'd suggest editing the answer to indicate that the weapons depicted are non-lethal (and providing a source or quote to verify), or even remove the reference entirely if it is truly not relevant to the question. If the OP rolls back the edit, flag for a moderator and explain the reasons for your edit.
    – Beofett
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 13:05
  • @Larian - it shows that you deleted that answer. Could you please indicate why, although both this answer of yours AND the consensus of answers here seems to be that it should not be deleted? Much as I can't stand that answer, I agree that DV and not deletion should be the remedy for it.
    – user5341
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 15:22
  • @DVK as I said, there is an edit war as well as a comment fued going on in that answer at the moment. It needs a time-out while we put some attention to it. :) Nothing nefarious, just trying to keep up. I intend to bring it back and let the community have at it. Commented May 30, 2013 at 21:21
  • @LarianLeQuella - ah, makes sense now. Thx
    – user5341
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 12:42

I do not support an expansion of the deletion policy. This simple criterion has served this site well: answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed.

All other answers should be allowed to stand for judgement by the process of voting.

If an answer is poor, it will be downvoted. It will appear last in the list of answers. It will be greyed out. Visitors will know it is an untrusted answer. Its flaws will be explained in the comments. But, as long as it is an answer, it should be allowed to remain.


Bad answers can't be removed from skeptics, because of policies says mod shouldn't do it. And here on skeptics we don't have any high rep users not being mods.

Lets make a metaphor for skeptics, as a country. The high rep users are the rich and noble, and the low rep users are peasants. The Mods are the political party ruling the country.

The country have its political party running the country, but the party tries to interfere as little as possible, and only acts as a police if something really goes awry, or if someone is doing something inappropriate.

For morale, interference and guidance of the country, it's for the country itself to guide its members. They want the country members to vote for who is elected into the party, and which things the peasants may sell in the town squares.

The party have decided to not touch petty details like that, the country should govern itself. The party have too much power, and it could lead to potential abuse.

enter image description here

The problem for the little country of Skeptics is that it adopted the policy and ways of a much bigger country, and in that country there is so many people living that they have a thriving nobility on top of having a large party ruling the country.

Most people being voted in to the party, are the rich and noble, since everyone knows them, and they are rich so they must know what they are doing.

In a large country like Skeptic's neighbor Stack Overflow, that is not a problem, because the pool of nobility is large, and even without some of them there is still many enough left to handle setting policies, and guiding the country on what to sell in its market squares.

enter image description here

In the small country of skeptics even if you're selling Rotten Skewered Rats, it's okay, because as long as you uphold how you market your Rotten Skewered Rats, make sure to show what the Rotten Skewered Rats contains the Party can't intervene, since it's of their policy to let the community decide what is sold or not.

The problem for Skeptics is that there simply is no one that there is no one there to say no to Rotten Skewered Rats.

The peasants are not allowed to decide such matters, even if some peasants protest, they are not allowed to decide that themself.

There is no Nobility in skeptics, all the nobility have joined the Party instead.

The Party have decided it should not intervene, and even if the party agrees no one want to eat Rotten Skewered Rats, and that it's despicable something like that is sold, they strictly follow the policy set by the large country of Stack Overflow, that works wonders there, and decide to not intervene.

To this day the small country of Skeptics have to stand by being the country that sells Rotten Skewered Rat, which no one is proud of, but no one is allowed to do anything about.

Even if it's against the policy of Stack Overflow for the mods to touch down-voted answers, Skeptics can't at the moment follow that policy since it simply is too small, and doesn't have high rep users to do that.

If an answer have -5 or less as score, it should be okay for the mods to delete it, but it's still up to individual mods to do it. The community have called out the answer to being bad, even though they get personally penalized for doing so. It should thus be the request of the community to remove such an answer, and the part.. err I mean the mods, should then be free to do so.

  • 3
    A better solution is to encourage more people to vote on questions and answers. If more people voted more often, the situation would correct itself without having to change policies to address a temporary situation. If everyone voted as often as you do (a sincere compliment, btw!), we'd have a community more capable of self-policing.
    – Beofett
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 13:18
  • 2
    I can't believe this isn't upvoted to the sky because of hand-drawn circles in the shape of rats.
    – user5341
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 12:43

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