Sometimes a heavily downvoted answer can still be useful in a Don't do what Donnie Don't Does sort of way, I'm thinking that in the long run these answers aren't completely useless. Even a bad example serves a purpose, and sometimes keeping them around may ultimately be good for our community. Let's be careful about deleting some of them.

Sometimes a wrong answer should be kept simply because it's a wrong answer and people should be aware of what the wrong answer is.

  • @apaul34208 I'm not trying to play games here. I actually agree with you - wrong answers should exist but be voted down, and not-an-answers should be deleted. But if you're telling us to "do better" without showing us what we did wrong, I will push you to show us what to do better. We have 14 users who currently have the ability to delete answers, either through review or by voting. Many more are going to past the 1k threshold to have those abilities as well. If you want to make change, you need to show us what to do. Otherwise, nothing will improve. I don't have an interest in arguing here.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 6:01
  • I really think you should provide some examples as the youtube video just makes it more confusing about the types of answers you think we should keep. Please consider providing examples, as that's what more meta post do when discussing a particular type of post.
    – user57
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 6:11
  • I've voted to reopen your question, but I suggest you edit it to add something like "Should we be deleting wrong and heavily downvoted answers?", in order to make it clear what your actual question is. Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


With so few users on this site who can see deleted posts (you're one of only three at the time of this writing), it's difficult to actually tell you how we've been doing. It's quite common for heavily downvoted posts to be deleted by their authors and there's nothing that prevents that from happening (assuming it's not also accepted). So, if you've seen heavily downvoted answers disappear, only you and two other people (John and Crafter0800) can currently see how they were deleted... which, I think, is part of why we're asking you to give examples.

There are two main reasons that a question here would be downvoted (and some answers may meet both)

  1. Answer is wrong or is not supported by the community as a good solution.
  2. Answer is of poor quality. It does not explain itself to the level required by this site. Or it answers a question that wasn't asked (wrong location, for example)

We should never delete type 1 answers if they aren't also type 2. It's certainly good to see what other people think the answer should be and see that others disagree with that as long as the answer isn't somehow harmful - which may be subjective.

Type 2 answers should definitely be deleted. They are poor representations of what makes an acceptable answer on this site and should not be retained.

I have certainly voted to delete a few answers from the low quality queue but I've endeavored to only vote on answers that didn't meet the policy for quality, not because I disagreed with them. But, if the answers are still on the site based on your comment

I'm not necessarily talking about posts that have been deleted, but rather posts that could have been.

Then it seems like we're doing OK? If you've seen posts in the LQP reviews and you've voted to keep them and they are still here... then we're not deleting answers that are simply wrong.

So, hopefully, we'll keep that up and, if we need a refresher, here it is... and if you don't trust me, refer to this Meta Stack Exchange post on the subject.

Why shouldn't I delete wrong answers?

There are different kinds of wrong.

"Wrong" as in "completely unrelated to the question"? Go ahead and delete those.

"Wrong" as in "yes, that will solve the problem, but that's a bad idea"? Those should be downvoted. Think of it as a lesson - showing a bad solution can be helpful as well, especially if it's an obvious solution that others may gravitate towards and/or when accompanied by an explanation (say, in a comment) of why it's a bad solution.

"Wrong" as in "this doesn't solve the issue, but it an obvious attempt at providing a solution" is trickier. The appropriate action here would depend on what the answer actually was. In most cases, I would go with downvoting as well or, frankly, not voting at all.

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