47

Please don't just delete your answers because you got negative feedback, improve them.

This has happened to me a few times recently, I have left a comment on an answer asking the OP to improve the answer but they just remove them instead.

In this example, I gave the OP everything they would need to answer the question well (explain your answer basically) but they just removed it and this is not the intent.

People leave feedback because we want the answers to be better, not gone. If I comment on your answer, it will be because I see room for improvement, not that the answer is inherently bad, I want to help you bring your content up to the right standard.

So I ask low rep users, take the criticism onboard and update your answers, not remove them. In the example, the answer would have been fine with just a bit of explanation, no need to remove it, just edit.

If you do add any information I ask you for, I will upvote you for the effort and you will get more rep and privileges and the site gets some good content, it is win win IMO.

Higher rep users are not tyrants and we want to help you, but comments can come of a bit short, they are not an attack on you, we were all new once.

For < 10k users here is a screenshot of the example

enter image description here

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    Why'd you delete? – RolandiXor Nov 2 '16 at 17:08
  • @RolandiXor I did not like the wording :) but I could not think of a better one, so I undeleated now. – Mark Kirby Nov 2 '16 at 17:16
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    I think being a little bit gentler and compassionate in providing feedback can also go a long way. I realize Linux nerds can be stereotypically fact-based, blunt, and unemotional, but many people see that very direct communication style as critical or harsh. – Nick Weinberg Nov 3 '16 at 13:15
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    @MarkKirby yeah excuse me, i deleted it in this case, because I felt it was truly a bad answer - yet after a little bit working with askubuntu, I more clearly understand the way this works here. – db429 Nov 3 '16 at 14:31
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    @MarkKirby and yes this was not the only case where I deleted or restarted with a new answer - but I became 'hungry' for the quick success. for the future I will do things differently. – db429 Nov 3 '16 at 14:40
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    @db429 Please don't think this was targeted directly at you, you just happen to be the one in the example :) We need more people to answer questions round here but the way to do it is quality over quantity, that is the stack exchange way. Please do continue answering questions, I get wanting that quick rep but quality answers will make you rep forever here, as other users stop by and use good answers in the future, they will vote for them too. – Mark Kirby Nov 4 '16 at 8:34
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    @NickWeinberg I think this is only compounded by the "non chatty" nature of SE. Looking at meta SE ans SO, there are loads of users who feel like higher rep users "own" the site, we should try to be a bit different IMO and make an effort to make the welcome, we need them to stay and contribute, if we are going to make this site the best one on the network. – Mark Kirby Nov 4 '16 at 8:50
  • I agree: If one is going to take the time to comment / provide ANY feedback, then isn't editing the question to demonstrate how to pose a question to newbies is constructive and what is needed? I don't mind negative feedback as long as it is accompanied with a helpful and constructive comment to sharpen the question. NickWeinberg's observation regarding blunt responses is spot-on and turns me (and others) off. – gatorback Nov 5 '16 at 15:43
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    @MarkKirby for what it is worth, I once encountered a diamond user here on meta who made it very clear about the fact he owned special powers, including locking comments after posting harsh statements (subsequently flagged and removed) just to prevent people from replying. Luckily the situation here on AU is way better than e.g. Stack Overflow so that was an isolated incident. – Andrea Lazzarotto Nov 6 '16 at 15:52
  • On first though at your example, "should" is a stronger form of "could". Your comment said "should be a comment" and "could improve the answer." While I agree the impetus to create better content should outweigh the difference in strength between "should" and "could", I question whether the commented-on would even find expressing such impetus appropriate if a much higher ranking user seemed to push them the other direction. – TheGrimmScientist Nov 13 '16 at 4:21
  • @TheGrimmScientist Then I was perfectly grammatically correct with my comment, it SHOULD of been a comment and not an answer and they COULD improve the answer, if they want. I can't do anything about how people interoperate wording and I need to be grammatically correct (or I am writing nonsense) but I do see the point you are making about using the right words and I am sure we could all improve the language we use. – Mark Kirby Nov 14 '16 at 18:45
  • @gatorback The issue with making the edits for people is, how will they learn but I agree, short comments may cause issues. The problem from my perspective, I have left literally thousands of comments here and tend to be very direct, as they say the same thing over and over again and most never see a reply, others are met with hostility but it is worth it when someone makes a post better. I guess me (and no doubt others) are just a bit fatigued. – Mark Kirby Nov 14 '16 at 19:44
  • @AndreaLazzarotto I am glad you have not experienced that here. I think our mods are mostly good at what they do :) – Mark Kirby Nov 14 '16 at 19:45
  • @MarkKirby the episode I described before happened on Ask Ubuntu Meta. So technically "here". :) I just said on other sites like Stack Overflow it happens more often. – Andrea Lazzarotto Nov 14 '16 at 21:22
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Improving poor answers is what typically makes high rep users out of low rep users. I look closely at any and all critical comments and determine a course of action based on what's said. Often this leads to an edit to improve the clarity or cover additional information. Sometimes the comment provides additional info that prompts me to point the one leaving it to another answer that covers their particular issue.

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    I completely agree, we were all new and had to learn to take criticism and improve our content. Looking back from our perspective, it is easy to see the benefit of quality content. – Mark Kirby Nov 4 '16 at 8:52
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    @MarkKirby: Perhaps in future we should make sure to mention in our comments that the user should either delete or edit their answer to meet quality standards. – user364819 Nov 5 '16 at 23:20
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    @ParanoidPanda I would lean more toward encouraging improvement where it seems possible. – Elder Geek Nov 6 '16 at 14:56
  • Now I have an urge to go back to answers in August/September and improve them but... time is a commodity in short supply when you are learning kernels, boots, plymouth, systemd, initramfs and grub just to turn on your machine properly. Not to mention all the new Q&A everyday, not to mention review queues.... sigh. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Nov 13 '16 at 18:23
  • @WinEunuuchs2Unix I have a long list of Q & A's I should revisit and see if I can improve them. As you say, time is limited. – Elder Geek Nov 15 '16 at 19:00

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