This answer to How is it in my best interest not to submit a paper to two journals simultaneously? was deleted by a moderator:

What can I lose if I don’t adhere to this rule?

Your self-respect.

The claim is that it does not provide an answer to the question. It clearly does provide an answer.

  • 1
    When I saw this answer, the first thing came to my mind was this: This is more likely to be a comment, not an answer.
    – enthu
    Sep 7, 2014 at 8:13
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    @EnthusiasticStudent I don't understand what you mean. It was an answer, so there's no question of probability here. Sep 7, 2014 at 8:17
  • I think, people usually post such short answers as comments, not as answers to the questions. This is what I am trying to say.
    – enthu
    Sep 7, 2014 at 8:27
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    I agree. In fact, I posted a short comment on that very question. But this answer was intentionally posted as an answer because it is an answer. Sep 7, 2014 at 8:31
  • I understand your claim, and I really liked your deleted answer. Let's wait for the moderators to see why your post is deleted.
    – enthu
    Sep 7, 2014 at 8:36
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    My best guess at the real reason that the mod deleted my answer is because he thought it was too short to be an answer. The site already imposes a minimum character count for answers. If we want to impose a higher minimum, we should change the rules and enforce them uniformly. Sep 7, 2014 at 9:55
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    @DavidKetcheson you circumvented the minimum answer length by quoting the original question. I am not going to say that there are no short answers, but if I encounter a short answer with a flag raised against it, I am likely to agree with the flag.
    – StrongBad
    Sep 7, 2014 at 10:05
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    @DavidKetcheson: As I posted below, I converted the answer to a comment because it was too short. Quoting the question in the answer to get around that doesn't change the fact that it's a one-liner that should be a comment, not an answer.
    – aeismail
    Sep 7, 2014 at 20:21

3 Answers 3


I "deleted" the answer, although it was actually converted to a comment (which you then in turn deleted). The reason the answer was deleted was because of length, not because it's not an answer. Unfortunately, the mod interface (where this was done) doesn't give the option to leave feedback after such an operation, and I forgot to put it in manually.

  • Thank you. In future cases like this, a comment explaining the real reason for deletion would be appreciated. Sep 14, 2014 at 10:10

I was not the moderator who deleted the answer, but had I gotten to it first, I would have. I do not think it answers the question in its current format, although it has the potential to be the basis of a great answers. Without the quote it does not meet the minimum number of characters required for answers suggesting it may be too short. To be a good answer you would really need to explain why the behaviour would result in a loss of self respect.

As for a moderator deleting the question, this is one area where our community moderation really let's us down. What happened was that two users raised the "not an answer flag". A moderator agree and performed an action on the flags and deleted the questions. In my opinion the correct way for the community to handle these things is for regular users to down vote the answer so that it has a negative vote total which would then allow users with sufficient reputation to cast a delete vote. This would keep the moderators out of it. That said, historically we have not moderated ourselves in this way and instead users tend to flag and not down vote, or even comment, which to me is a strange combination leaving moderators looking like they are acting unilaterally.

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    I agree that we should let the downvote mechanism work, and that people really ought to use downvoting more. I can understand the perspective that it is not a good answer, but I still don't understand the perspective that it is not an answer! The point about length without the quote is fair; if you had deleted it and given that as the reason, I would not object. Sep 7, 2014 at 10:10

Answers that don't answer the question may be deleted. This includes:

  • Posts asking for clarification on the question
  • Posts commenting on a related topic but not answering the question
  • Sarcastic/witty one-liners
  • Rants
  • Abusive posts
  • Spam
  • ...?
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    This does not answer the question. Very meta. Sep 8, 2014 at 6:30
  • @DavidKetcheson: It does, your answer could be easily classified in "Sarcastic/witty one-liners".
    – user102
    Sep 8, 2014 at 17:10
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    It is a one-liner. I don't see how it could be interpreted as sarcastic. I certainly didn't mean it to be witty. Do you really think that it is witty? To me it just seems sad. Sep 8, 2014 at 18:37
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    @DavidKetcheson The answer is without context and relies entirely on the reader having an existing understanding of your moral framework with no additional explanation. It is practically the textbook case of a witty one-liner.
    – eykanal
    Sep 8, 2014 at 21:31
  • "Wittiness" does not seem like a reasonable cause for deletion of an answer: it is a positive quality. Excepting this, none of the given reasons apply to David Ketcheson's answer: it is clearly serious and on-topic. If you want to say that all one-line answers will be deleted and that the given answer is only more than one line because of a technicality, say that. I don't really understand the need for such a requirement -- some questions can be answered in one line (e.g. this one!), and padding an answer seems helpful to no one. But as silly site features go...this is no big deal. Sep 10, 2014 at 17:04
  • @PeteL.Clark - The answer was not deleted, it was converted to a comment, which was subsequently deleted by the owner. Regarding your "some can be answered", you're entirely right, which is why I said "may", not "will always".
    – eykanal
    Sep 10, 2014 at 20:36

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