There is currently a discussion about whether to adopt guidelines to discourage certain problematic posts (be they questions or answers). Anyone having enough rep for meta can participate in that discussion, yet many of those will lack enough rep to see the problematic posts, most or all of which have been deleted. It seems somewhat contradictory, to be allowed to participate in a discussion about guidelines, but to be unable to see the posts which motivate the advocates of those guidelines. Would it not be better for such posts to be downvoted sufficiently rather than deleted?

Of course if a post is blatantly offensive, completely off-topic spam, etc., it should be deleted. But would it not be better for more borderline questions/answers to be downvoted until they are greyed out, rather than deleted? (e.g. vague or incoherent posts, posts which appearing to be expressing personal opinions without any attempt to present objective arguments or references, etc.) It would also serve to provide some easily accessible negative examples, of how not to ask or answer.

  • +1 for asking the question. Nov 13, 2012 at 17:30
  • 2
    I think it would be useful for users to be able to see their own deleted posts. But I don't think the negative example are even useful as "what not to do". A better solution is for people invested enough in the site to be part of the discussion to build up their reputation. ;-) Nov 14, 2012 at 1:12
  • Here's an example of how the delete process functions normally. This answer is arguably wrong. It's been downvoted out of the way, but there has also been a call to identify what it actually is. We have not just deleted it, but it's collected one delete vote in the first month and if the call for a fix doesn't get answered, it will eventually be removed as (at least in it's current form) it isn't a useful contribution to the question.
    – Caleb
    Nov 14, 2012 at 12:11

1 Answer 1


I think not. It's not too much to ask that if you want to shape community standards that you should spend a little bit of time learning the existing ropes and earning some trust from the community.

Negative examples of how not to post could be described in meta. There is no reason to keep obviously bad/useless content on the main site.

The delete procedures are pretty standard across SE sites. Just three votes from high rep users on already downvoted content can get it cleaned up so that new visitors don't have to be distracted by stuff that doesn't belong.

In general, we already function the way you suggest. Vague, incoherent and answers that are poorly referenced are NOT automatically deleted. There are actually lots of examples of these that are downvoted out of the way.

What we do delete without hesitation:

  • Obviously offensive or plain trolling posts.

  • Obvious mis-matches between the question and answer. A rant (however coherent) about how Lutheranism is a sin would be deleted if posted on a question looking for clarification on a point of Baptist doctrine.

  • Content problems such as outright plagerism.

  • Things that don't answer the question -- whether a one-liner that should be a comment or a thesis that doesn't ever address the actuall subject of the question.

Over time the community sometimes goes farther. I have seen posts older than 3 months collect delete votes after multiple challenges to the content as being wrong or lacking references have gone unanswered.

As long as we are still in beta, the threashold is only 2k rep. This isn't that much to ask for people who want to shape the community by challenging other community members actions.

  • In other words, you don't want to be hindered from your destructive goal of stopping people from asking and learning about forms of Christianity that make you uncomfortable by challenging your assumptions and prejudices. Noted. Regrettably, that sort of attitude is not welcome here on Christianity.SE.
    – Steely Dan
    Nov 15, 2012 at 14:43
  • @SteelyDan: Seriously? What am I supposed to think? Either I must assume that you are really so dense as to completely miss the point of everything I'm trying to say or I must assume that you are really smarter than that and thus deliberately misconstruing everything I say. Enough people have tried to explain it and we've been over this enough times that the other options such as unclear communication on our part is becoming a less viable option. In short, what you have "noted" is completely bogus.
    – Caleb
    Nov 16, 2012 at 9:26
  • @SteelyDan: Your resorting to ad-hominem isn't going to help your case either. Quite frankly you have no idea what my prejudices are and you have no idea how hard it is to make me uncomfortable by challenging my assumptions. I firmly believe orthodoxy can hold it's own in an open marketplace of ideas without the need to suppress anything else. In fact allowing heresy a hearing is often what what makes true teaching most apparent. My goals and actions in enforcing community guidelines here have nothing to do with content or forms of Christianity.
    – Caleb
    Nov 16, 2012 at 9:28
  • @SteelyDan: Your comment about "stopping people from asking and learning about forms of Christianity" is totally irrelevant to the discussion here because the deletions being discussed are not questions (I would be happy to see questions about any form of Christianity people wanted to learn about) nor are they topical. It's the form rather than the content of your answers that keeps getting them deleted. I want this to be useful place for people to learn about Christianity, not have their time wasted by personal rants that are a mis-match with what people are trying to ask/learn about.
    – Caleb
    Nov 16, 2012 at 9:32
  • You posted a list of "What we do delete without hesitation." I will address your bullet points one by one.
    – Steely Dan
    Nov 16, 2012 at 14:46
  • "Obviously offensive or plain trolling posts." Clearly not the case, leaving aside all the other arguments that are being presented against their appropriateness.
    – Steely Dan
    Nov 16, 2012 at 14:47
  • "Obvious mis-matches between the question and answer. A rant (however coherent) about how Lutheranism is a sin would be deleted if posted on a question looking for clarification on a point of Baptist doctrine." Well, I don't do anything of that sort, either.
    – Steely Dan
    Nov 16, 2012 at 14:47
  • "Content problems such as outright plagerism." No one's ever accused me of that, and rightly so.
    – Steely Dan
    Nov 16, 2012 at 14:47
  • "Things that don't answer the question -- whether a one-liner that should be a comment or a thesis that doesn't ever address the actuall subject of the question." Again, not something I've ever done.
    – Steely Dan
    Nov 16, 2012 at 14:48
  • So what we're left with is, my answers get deleted for reasons totally apart from this. Do they need sources? Well, whether that's appropriate in this case or not is debatable at best, and even if they do that's a cause for requesting further edits, not outright deletion. So obviously that can't be it. Which means the only remaining alternative is that they're being deleted because they make people uncomfortable.
    – Steely Dan
    Nov 16, 2012 at 14:49
  • And sure, you've given your arguments time and time again. But every time I've blown those arguments out of the water by showing how they're totally incompatible with the purpose of this site. It's not my fault if others are so stubborn as to refuse to accept that they're so horribly wrong about this, and they're the ones who need to relearn what we're all about here on Christianity.SE if they wish to continue contributing.
    – Steely Dan
    Nov 16, 2012 at 14:51
  • See chat starting here. TL;DR: You missed the entire point of my post, but I wasn't trying to explain it to you in the first place I was trying to help another OP understand the system.
    – Caleb
    Nov 16, 2012 at 15:05
  • Fair enough, but unfortunately chat doesn't seem to work over my home dialup connection. I'm only able to use it when I'm somewhere with WiFi, which isn't terribly feasible for me right at this moment.
    – Steely Dan
    Nov 16, 2012 at 16:26

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