We have the facility to vote to delete downvoted posts. I am not sure what the moderators actual privileges extend to, whether they can delete with a magic button or need to vote.

I have voted to delete a poor quality answer on beta and am wondering how the community feels, if we want more pro-action on low voted posts, or does the [se] system take care of this automatically with time?


Putting a cat into a carrier

3 Answers 3


I am very hesitant in deleting answers that are not a clear violation of our rules.

Keep downvoted answers

even if the information in them is incomplete or blatantly wrong.

Benefits of bad content
Downvoted answers are - unless you changed the sorting - at the bottom of the list of answers. While they most likely don't tell you how to solve your problem, they provide information about what you shouldn't try in the first place.
After an answer has a total score of -3 it begins fading to gray. Even users unfamiliar with the SE model will figure out that this answer isn't the best one.

Users might even search for the bad solution proposed in the downvoted answer, are referred to the question and see the better alternatives proposed in the upvoted and accepted answers.

Who is qualified to control the quality?
Unless content is really, really, obviously bad - I mean offensive, spam or the like - Moderators should not be considered to be capable of judging the quality of content, especially not in those topics they have no experience with. That's what voting is supposed to do.

When saying Moderators I mean everyone with the capability to vote on deletes. Be careful if you vote to delete a question or an answer, as a non-diamond vote isn't binding it is not a big mistake to be a bit more pro-active, but still you should not throw them around.

  • Yes, I am seeing now, and understanding. I appreciate you and John answering this. It has cleared it up for me cheers
    – user87
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 13:35
  • I disagree with keeping it, though I agree that the community should be the one deleting it not the mod. That creates a problem now where we only have a very few users who can vote to delete answers. I suspect that will change in the coming months though.
    – user9
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 14:48
  • I disagree with keeping it if it's just low quality, like the answer Skippy referenced. But wrong information, if the answer is well-written I can see it being valuable to leave a downvoted post. Ideally, we just don't want the place to look like a dumping ground for poor quality posts.
    – jmort253
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 2:54
  • 1
    I disagree with While they most likely don't tell you how to solve your problem, they provide information about what you shouldn't try in the first place.. Most answers here are downvoted because of quality or length not because they are wrong.
    – user34
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 4:15

Moderators can delete. Technically they vote, but their vote is instantaneous and binding, so it's effectively the "magic" button in that respect. The delete vote should show up in the review queues and so prompt our higher rep users to vote.

My general preference in moderating is to give the community, as a whole, the freedom to decide these things when they're not spam, vandalism, or abuse. I realize that we participate as well, but given the "magic" button, a little more caution by us is warranted.

  • Hm, at the moment, I don't think we have many with this privilege.. also does Stack Exchange automatically vacuum up such posts with time?
    – user87
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 8:08
  • No, delete votes expire if the question or answer doesn't achieve the required number over time. Not sure on the timeline for that off the top of my head.
    – Joanne C
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 8:10
  • 6
    We're working on tweaking close and delete vote aging to be a bit more sensible, but right now it's something like 100 views without another vote that begins ageing them away. That's kind of .. sub optimal, we're working on basing it off of how many folks with the privilege to close or delete view the question and take no action. But that's ... a ways out.
    – user105
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 8:28

Even wrong answers can have value, as they can highlight a common misconception that people have, which can be corrected in the comments or other answers.

If you see an answer that is just plain wrong, downvote it, explain in the comments what the problem is, and post a correct answer. Unless the answer is violating rules, there is no need to delete it. The user who posted it will often delete it him or herself once he realizes that he is losing rep from downvotes.


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