Earlier today, I answered this question: Why doesn't Worf use contractions?. I returned to find that my answer had been deleted.

I am new to this community and terribly confused about why my answer was deleted. I've read the relevant help articles and they shed no light on this.

One commenter claimed that my answer was “unfounded opinion”, but I don't understand why the other two answers on the question are not considered “unfounded opinion”. Both were speculative answers about why the writers might have written the character in such a way. Neither cited verified facts or interview answers from the writers. Both pointed out that this style of speech denotes formality and foreignness. My answer did nothing different to this, as far as I can understand.

After my answer, I did add a rhetorical question (regarding the symbiosis between language and character development). I believed this was a thought-provoking point, of interest to anyone reading the answers. If that kind of digression is not welcome here I would be happy to remove that. But I don't understand why the answer itself was considered invalid.

  • 5
    All three answers have the same flaw (as you've noted correctly), but yours is the only one new enough to be put into the Delete Queue. I'd shove all three in the chipper if had my way.
    – Valorum
    Jul 24, 2021 at 18:42
  • 2
    Out of the two answers left up, I'd say the highest voted (and accepted) answer is the poorest by a long way. This can be a very fickle, arbitrary site sometimes. Jul 24, 2021 at 19:10
  • @WolfieSmith -2014 was a simpler time.
    – Valorum
    Jul 24, 2021 at 19:13
  • 12
    L J -- welcome to the site, and don't give up even if your early attempts at answers are not well received; sometimes it takes a little while. I'm glad to see that you are asking and not giving up right away.
    – Basya
    Jul 24, 2021 at 20:11
  • @Valorum says "I'd shove all three in the chipper if had my way.". People that agree are welcome to down-vote those answers. Perhaps eventually they will be chipped away. Jul 25, 2021 at 0:25
  • @RayButterworth - At least one other person in the world agrees with me.
    – Valorum
    Jul 25, 2021 at 6:53
  • 4
    Thank you all for the responses. I arrived here from a Google search, saw the answers given, and took this type of speculative reply as normative of the site. Instead, it seems the site has more in common with Wikipedia, less conversational and more based on hard facts. I think the site is spectacularly failing to make this clear to newly-arriving visitors. I would humbly suggest that when members post an answer, an introductory message is shown prominently explaining the purpose and tone of the site. If old answers are often out of style, I would suggest older answers get flagged accordingly.
    – L J
    Jul 25, 2021 at 10:24
  • 2
    @LJ That's a good point, thank you for taking the time to provide this feedback. Perhaps we need to update the meta faq or help centre. The difficulty is that requiring sources isn't a hard requirement, more like a recommendation which the community (nowadays) tends to enforce by voting. We can downvote older speculative answers, but it won't make a great deal of difference when they already got many upvotes years ago, and mods don't have a mandate to delete them outright, although the community can vote to delete them when they have a negative score.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jul 25, 2021 at 13:09
  • @LJ, effectively all Stack Exchange sites are "spectacularly failing to make this clear to newly-arriving visitors". And not only "this"; there are many arcane rules and features that make the learning curve very difficult. Terms like "opinion based" and "off topic" have meanings that don't quite match normal English usage. Important information, like the number of up- and down-votes on an answer aren't available until one has earned enough reputation. The link to the site "tour" is hidden way way down at the bottom of the page. And that tour is a brief overview; it's hardly comprehensive. Jul 25, 2021 at 13:13
  • 3
    @RayButterworth - Without exception, all internet fora have their own "arcane rules" and etiquette. That's why Rule 33 exists.
    – Valorum
    Jul 25, 2021 at 17:15
  • 1
    Thank you, folks. If I may humbly offer further feedback, I must say I doubt I will be returning to this site as the policy of banning speculative answers does not make sense to me. I find experienced insight just as interesting as 'factual' answers. If Orwell, Crichton, Whedon and Straczynski signed up here and speculated on why Roddenberry may have made certain artistic choices, I would consider their answers valuable, not trash. If this were my site, I would add a button on the Answer form specifying 'Factual' or 'Speculation', allowing readers to filter out the latter should they wish.
    – L J
    Jul 26, 2021 at 10:03
  • @LJ I will say it’s not that speculative answers are bad or even banned. I actually think the main problem here is that your answer didn’t add anything over the others (see the top answer here). The comments left on your answer just weren’t great is the real problem in my opinion. I really wish you’d give the site a second chance but respect your decision not to if you so wish.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jul 26, 2021 at 10:15
  • @RayButterworth, how exactly do you mean "opinion based" and "off-topic" don't match normal English usage?
    – ilkkachu
    Aug 1, 2021 at 8:07
  • @ilkkachu, I could ask a question that's totally based on facts, have it "opinion-based" closed, and be very confused. It wasn't closed for being based on my opinion, but because it might generate opinionated answers. ¶ I could ask a question for a list of 1930s novels on Mars, have it "off-topic" closed, and again be totally confused. It wasn't closed for not being on the topic of Science Fiction & Fantasy, but because it asks for a list. ¶ Using expressions that mean something other than what a reasonable English-speaker would think they mean is common throughout the SE sites. Aug 1, 2021 at 13:35
  • @RayButterworth, mm, yes, perhaps. "Opinion-based" indeed seems to mostly mean "questions that beg opinion-based answers" and not opinion-based questions as such. I suppose the question that then should be asked is what phrases would be better?
    – ilkkachu
    Aug 1, 2021 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


The deleted answer has a couple problems. One is that, yes, it's an "unfounded opinion"; it doesn't cite any sources or references to back up its claims. While that, on its own, is generally a reason to downvote and not delete, this answer also didn't add anything to the existing answers on the question.

The answer didn't provide any information that wasn't already given in the previous answers. Since it didn't add anything new, and didn't cite any sources, it was eventually deleted by consensus of six users in the review queue.

You point out that the other answers are also unfounded opinion; that's a fair point. It's worth keeping in mind that those answers were written seven years ago. In the years since, standards have changed a bit and newer answers are often held to a higher standard than those posted several years before. Ideally, though, those other answers should also be improved.


As you've very correctly highlighted, both existing answers are, in my humble opinion, of a very low quality. They're based almost entirely on bold statements but with no supporting evidence that their theses (e.g. That using contractions might make Worf sound less fierce/formal (or) That not using contractions makes Worf sound more foreign) have any basis in what the writer/director/actor, etc were thinking.

Your answer also falls into the same trap. A bold statement, but no relevant evidence to back it up. The difference is that the existing answers have sufficient votes to avoid being dumped into the delete queue. Yours was not so fortunate. Because the vote score took it into a negative territory, I was also able to vote to delete it for essentially replicating the existing answers and being generally of "a very low quality"

You must log in to answer this question.

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