Often times in the review queue I will see a low-quality answer, in terms of content, correctness, etc. Recent example. Should I be voting to delete answers such as this? It is still an actual answer; even if it's both wrong and low-quality (other times it's just wrong, other times it's just low-quality. This one is both). It doesn't feel like "not an answer" is correct, because it is an answer. I would expect an answer such as this to receive downvotes, but not necessarily to be deleted.

Do we want to delete bad answers? If so, is there a non-subjective criteria for how bad an answer should be before it is deleted?

I am aware of the flag for this, which mentions "unlikely to be salvageable with edits". But flagging something seems different than voting to delete it.

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    Folks should read the "criteria" section here: meta.stackexchange.com/a/5222/133299 The quick summary is that deletion is for things that don't answer the question, and wrong answers should be downvoted not deleted, but we are free to modify that and delete more if we wish. If you'd like to suggest stricter criteria, go for it, but be sure to explain why you think it's a good idea and to hold off on voting based on a proposed policy until it's clearly been well accepted here.
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


The network-wide deletion FAQ address criteria for deletion:

For answers, any post that is not an answer (should be a comment, doesn't answer the question, etc.) should be deleted. Answers that are wrong or that dispense poor advice should be downvoted, not deleted.

These are general guidelines; some communities in the network may uphold more specific reasons to delete posts or not. For example, on Puzzling.SE, answers to a puzzle without explanation are subject to deletion, and some technical sites will delete answers which are not only wrong but also harmful when tried.

I'm not aware of any established modifications to this.

A couple specific things though:

  • Incomprehensible answers that can't be salvaged through editing aren't answers.
  • Sometimes the question may be asking for explanation, in which case barebones yes/no posts aren't answers.

I believe I'd support extending that last point slightly, to require "sufficient" explanation, e.g. a rules quote. But let's not make this about right vs wrong; if someone says "yes the rules say so", that's not a good answer whether it's true or not. So if we want to delete it based on a lack of explanation if it's wrong, I believe we should apply the same standards to similarly brief correct answers.

I really don't want us to get into the business of evaluating right/wrong via delete votes. For the sake of future readers, it's sufficient to knock an answer down to the bottom with downvotes, and possibly leave a comment about what the issue is. I know it might be even better to have it entirely gone if we're absolutely sure, but it's not always easy to be sure, and it's hard for other users to check our work if the answer is deleted.


Yes they should be deleted as there is no reason to keep around low quality information that is incorrect. The option to delete an answer is there so that we can help keep up the quality of the site.

In the case of the answer you referenced here it directly contradicts an existing answer that is quoting the rules but gives no supporting evidence to indicate that it is correct. In this case having two contradicting answers could prove confusing to a new uno player especially since neither of the answers actually provides a way to verify the correctness of the answer.

As for the criteria treat it like all other voting and judge for yourself. Generally I ask myself what does this answer do to the quality of the question overall when looking to delete a post.

As a side note I would like to point out that with enough reputation dealing with a flag in the low quality queue is the exact same as voting to delete it. The only difference is in the review queue it gets a special negative downvote that is part of the review queue

  • Please see my comment on the question. Your suggested criteria may be a reasonable policy but they are not current policy, unless there's meta precedent I've overlooked.
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 18:37
  • I would point out in the very answer you linked it talks about sites deleting answers based on their own policies and even gives two examples. "For example, on Puzzling.SE, answers to a puzzle without explanation are subject to deletion, and some technical sites will delete answers which are not only wrong but also harmful when tried." Which in the case of the example answer given it would be deleted on puzzling because no explanation was given.
    – Joe W
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 18:42
  • I noted that on the question ("...we are free to modify that and delete more if we wish. If you'd like to suggest stricter criteria...") and here "...may be a reasonable policy but they are not current policy...". If we want to adopt a given policy, great. But we need to do so explicitly, not just tell everyone to judge for themselves.
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 18:52
  • @Cascabel Is there a reason your comments are not in your own answer? Also, can you address why the "unsalvageable through edits" flag exists?
    – GendoIkari
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 19:12
  • @GendoIkari I can go ahead and write one if you like - I didn't because I'd interpreted this as being more about defining deletion policy.
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 19:17
  • @Cascabel I hadn't considered that we might not have a well-defined deletion policy yet; and was asking the question to learn what that policy was. But if this turns into a thread for getting one defined; great!
    – GendoIkari
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 19:19
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    Okay, wrote an answer. (Though I'd say we do have a deletion policy, it's just that it's the default one not a custom one.)
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 19:26

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