After a discussion with @Adamant in chat today, I realized that we're not very clear on exactly when to vote to delete an answer (or at least I'm not clear).

The privilege page for 20k gives these guidelines for voting to delete an answer:

You may vote to delete answers in the following cases:

  • The answer is extremely low quality: There is little to no scope for improvement
  • The answer doesn't attempt to answer the question; it may be a comment or a separate question altogether.

So what constitutes 'extremely low quality'? Is it something that isn't understandable at all? I don't think so; those can get Rude/Abusive flags. Is it NAAs? No, those have a separate bullet point.

So what exactly constitutes 'extremely low quality'? Does this answer count?

The content of the post is:

JEDI = JEsus' DIsciple; it's a biblical connection.

I, personally, don't see why this makes sense (and I'm not alone). Let's look at one of the canned delete reasons in the Low Quality Posts review queue:

This does not provide an answer to the question. Once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post; instead, provide answers that don't require clarification from the asker.

I feel that this doesn't match up to the 'doesn't require clarification' (and again, I'm not alone).

So does this qualify as very low quality?

TL;DR: When should 20kers vote to delete an answer?

  • @Adamant - there have also been more recent discussions. (I think on SO meta was the most recent; here. Conclusion: red flags on gibberish are a yes.)
    – Mithical
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 19:42
  • 1
    @Adamant - Seems like a dupe to me. My instinct is always "vote to delete if it's both utterly wrong and where the OP shows no inclination to fix it"
    – Valorum
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 20:07
  • 1
    Since this question is essentially about one answer, you should make the question more specific. "Should we vote to delete this answer and why"
    – Valorum
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 20:24
  • @Valorum - it isn't about that one specific answer, it was merely an example. It's also not just about the wrong answers, it's asking for a general overview of when answers should be VTDed here.
    – Mithical
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 20:25
  • I think you (and definitely Gallifreyan in your "I'm not alone" link) are misinterpreting the "require clarification" thing. Note that it says "doesn't require clarification from the asker", not the answerer. That phrase refers to answers which should really be comments (e.g. critique of or queries about the question), not to answers which are themselves unclear or wrong.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 9:22
  • Huh? Why would you flag as rude or abusive if the answer is not understandable? That's not what Shog was saying to do in that post you linked.
    – Möoz
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 4:41
  • @Möoz - hfgdgcfffjbvgvuffbvc55555555vdhfsfgv
    – Mithical
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 6:15
  • 2
    I vote to delete answers that are crap. That's literally my benchmark.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 8:22

1 Answer 1


I'm going to be honest here:

Use your best judgment

Unless you're an actual diamond mod, your vote isn't binding. It takes 3x 20k votes to delete answers. So, even if you get something wrong it's a delete vote that's invisible to the mere mortal (you can't even see delete votes on answers until 20k, although they do confusingly show up in the 10k deletion list). Unless 2 other 20k users agree, it will just sit there (delete votes don't age away like close votes do). But the reason they gave you the power is that you've clearly done something right for a very long time. You're a long term user. You should know what a good answer looks like now.

Furthermore, the community can make an answer undeletable by upvoting it. While questions can be deleted at any score, answers can only be 20k deleted with a negative score.

Last, but not least, you can always undelete. Nothing is gone forever (only Devs can do that wizardry).

Don't delete in these cases, tho

  • Rude or Spam - Flag these. When enough people flag them Mods are notified for further action. If 20k users just delete them... nothing else happens.
  • Meh answers - In baseball, a tie goes to the runner. In answers, ties should go to the poster. If you can't come up with a good reason for deletion don't do it. Don't stretch to delete. Downvote bad answers and comment.

Also, if you're not aware, voting to delete in the LQP consumes 20k delete votes first. It's dumb (once you're out of deletes it just counts them as regular votes) but it's how it works. It doesn't increase your LQP vote cap either (not that it's a big deal on SF.SE)

  • I know how to see delete votes, and I'm relatively sure that I'm mortal.
    – Molag Bal
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 6:00
  • Well - questions can be deleted at any score is mostly correct - however - they have to be closed and either have been closed for 48 hours for 10k users to vote or have a net score of -3 or less for 20k users to vote immediately (or they have to wait as a 10k user does). The number of votes required also scales up to 10 depending on net scores of the question and answers. Commented May 29, 2017 at 7:38
  • A consensus of recommend deletion from the queue will also cause deletion if the answer is negatively scored (sub 20k users) Commented May 29, 2017 at 7:43

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .