What is the code that Hopper knocks on the door?

The querent stated that they believed the knock to be Morse code, ".././...", and two answers that essentially said that it was instead "..-/..." and gave a reasonable translation were deleted as "not an answer". Maybe I'm missing subtext, but I've seen a number of good answers on the site which essentially go "No, you're hearing/reading that wrong. It's this, which means the answer is this."

  • As I said in chat, those are comments at best, not answers. The querent is not "hearing/reading that wrong" the answers are completely misinterpreting the knocks. While answers do not get deleted for being wrong, these are not answers, they, are comments, which on SE are "Third-class citizens" - Rand'al Thor. There is a clear gap between the second and third knock and the third and the third and fourth knock, implying it would HAVE to be three letters. They've not provided reasoning why US would be relevant to support they're misinterpretation or why it would even HAVE to be morse code.
    – Edlothiad
    Oct 31, 2017 at 11:31
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    {nods} I hadn't known that there was a chat discussion of this. Eh, I'm still on the side of them being valid answers, but I agree with you that they could have used more justification. As it is, from the comments visible, it seemed less a "this not a good answer" and more a "you're wrong about your correction, so your answer is not valid".
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 31, 2017 at 11:35
  • I only just stated the chat discussion. But I guess you didn't get the ping. The only comment came from OP saying this isn't correct and 1 from Bellatrix from review stating that it's a comment (which it is). The line between an answer and a comment is blurry but if it provides no benefit to the site (which it doesn't) it's eligible for deletion. Eitherway, only one question should be undeleted if they're deemed undelete worthy, and that's the first one, as per main meta: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/243243/…
    – Edlothiad
    Oct 31, 2017 at 11:43
  • The user who answered didn't and I don't know if the OP can (they don't have the rep to, but they may be able to cuz they're op) but it was more of a comment about why we're treating identical answers differently (and before someone brings up that other meta, these are word for word identical). Either way, I don't see how my comment is relevant to this meta.
    – Edlothiad
    Oct 31, 2017 at 12:25
  • @Edlothiad: You are right. :) I figured we were still in conversation, but that's what chat is for. It's not important.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 31, 2017 at 12:30
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    Sorry that I haven't written an answer, I'd rather let Rand or Null do it as they probably know the delete policies better than I do right now. I lied, I've educated myself. I knew I'd read that somewhere.
    – Edlothiad
    Oct 31, 2017 at 12:33

2 Answers 2


Frame challenges

This kind of answer is sometimes known as a "frame challenge": instead of answering the question under the OP's misapprehension, it challenges the framing of the question by proving the OP's assumptions wrong. An example of this can be found here: the question asks why Snape killed Harry Potter's parents, and the top answer (score +14/-0) explains that he didn't.

Things get a bit more sticky when someone attempts to post a frame-challenge answer which is itself incorrect. If someone had asked why Voldemort killed Harry Potter's parents, and someone else had answered saying that in fact it was Snape who killed them, that answer would certainly have been downvoted and possibly deleted by reviewers.

Wrong answers

According to Is deleting really wrong answers OK according to the rules?, answers which are simply wrong should generally be downvoted and/or commented instead of deleted. One reason for this is that wrongness can be difficult to judge without specific expertise, and moderators/reviewers shouldn't always have to need that expertise in order to know whether or not to delete a post.

Get to the point, Rand ...

So what about these specific answers, the ones that state the Morse code in Stranger Things was ..-/... instead of .././...? Well, if they're right, then they certainly shouldn't be deleted, as they provide a valid frame challenge and the correct answer to the question. If they're wrong, then they could arguably be deleted, but they're still attempts to answer the question and we don't usually delete answers just for being wrong.

Are they right or wrong? I don't know; I haven't watched the show.

Had all five of the delete-voters watched enough of the show to be sure these answers were wrong? I don't know, but one of them has posted an answer here explaining his delete vote without reference to wrongness of the answer, saying that there's "no basis for the morse they were suggesting" and the answers "lack [...] any form of details". (If the answers are right, the "basis" would be simply watching the scene in question carefully, and I'm not sure what further details would be required.)

Why does the same answer keep getting posted again and again? Unless it's the same person trying to share their interpretation with us three times (unlikely considering the different usernames and avatars), it seems to be either a common misconception or the actual correct answer.

  • At least one of them (or possibly a comment) said that it being "US" is on one of the fan theory sites, which does explain why it's a common theory, and a number of people, seeing no answer (since deleted answers are hidden), were providing the standard theory.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 1, 2017 at 13:29
  • As amflare's answer shows, the timing is greatly off for it to be morse, if one took time to research how morse works and it's timings, they would know that it is definitely not morse (inconsistencies between the two sets of knocking) and that the pause between 2 and 1 and 1 and 3 is simply not long enough to be a word break a dash and another word break.
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 1, 2017 at 14:18
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    @Edlothiad: I'll give you that that would prevent it if we were discussing strict Morse, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the average layperson has a more lax definition of it. :) That said, this is not my hill, not my circus, and not my monkeys, so I'm fine where we stand.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 1, 2017 at 16:22
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    All very clear, except for one point: who is this Harry Potter fellow. Nov 10, 2017 at 7:43
  • @Rand al'Thor Seeing how your meta answer gathered consensus, why wasn't the answer undeleted?
    – Ram
    Nov 12, 2017 at 11:59
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    @Ram I was hoping the community would step up with undelete votes (currently 2 undelete votes on each answer, of the 3 required), plus I was unsure of which one to undelete. But I think I'll go ahead and undelete the one which has a higher score and a comment from the OP. Thanks for the reminder!
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 12, 2017 at 12:44

As a delete voter on both posts, I will give some insight into why I voted to delete both answers (well the second was obvious considering I'd deleted the first).

From the Privilege page, under Trusted User (20k privileges) the following falls under the advice for delete votes

Deleting answers

When should I vote 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.

It is my opinion that the answer fell under the first bullet point, given that there was no basis for the morse they were suggesting, as indicated in my comments above, and the lack of any form of details the answerer should be providing.

  • 11
    Except "low quality" is not the same thing as "wrong"... To be "low quality" in my mind requires a complete inattention to the rules of English grammar and/or a severe attack of verbosity (especially if coupled with an inability to enter paragraph breaks and/or punctuation marks), to the point that even if someone wanted to edit the answer into shape, they wouldn't know which end to start from. Hence the "little to no scope for improvement."
    – Martha
    Nov 1, 2017 at 16:25
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    Since you can't knock a clear dash on a door, the only way to indicate a dash is with a pause. How does one distinguish between a pause to indicate a dash and a pause to indicate a letter break? From that standpoint there seems to be a clear basis to assert the morse code is ambiguous. Personally. I don't think it's supposed to be morse code at all. People have come up with secret knocking patterns for ages without anything encoded in the pattern. But you don't see me voting to delete all questions and answers to the contrary. Nov 1, 2017 at 19:22

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