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Why is it that certain perfectly good answers get deleted by a few, because they point out Ubuntu's problems? One answer that was deleted is even given in Ubuntu's manual. Another that was deleted was the accepted answer and received 3 up votes when posted in answer to another question. Some people here need to get off their high horse and let others be helped.

Example 1 upgrading to a specific version instead of auotupgrading to the latest stable - the method is given in the Ubuntu help wiki here.

Example 2: work around for when windows keeps putting itself at the head of the boot order (ie poor uefi implementations): method to put grub in the default media path so Uefi boots it and fool windows.this answer often gets voted down and deleted

Example 3: converting to MBR

Example 4: pointing out that distro drivers don't work on certain brands of wifi cards and suggesting a link to get different drivers. One of which was an actual fix for my wifi card.

migrated from askubuntu.com Jun 30 '17 at 23:10

This question came from our site for Ubuntu users and developers.

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    First of all, can you give a couple examples where answers were deleted ? Second, what specifically was pointed out in Ubuntu's manual ? Can you provide a link ? – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Jun 30 '17 at 23:19
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    If an answer was already posted elsewhere, the question should be marked as a duplicate rather than have the answer be copied. – TheWanderer Jun 30 '17 at 23:21
  • @zaanna -- how do you embed links in text? – ravery Jul 1 '17 at 6:42
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    click edit and you will see how it is done :) - or you can take a look here – Zanna Jul 1 '17 at 10:25
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    @Zanna I love the edit button to peek at how others format their Q&A :) – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 1 '17 at 14:23
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I'm one of the regular deleters around here, and my high horse is currently in the barn.

Answers are usually only deleted when they are either very low quality or not an answer. For some examples:

The solution to your problem is over on the Ubuntu wiki.

This is not an answer. It's pointing someone to an answer, but it does not actually help anyone. In fact, if the link dies (as is frequent with the Ubuntu Wiki), the answer becomes worse than useless and doesn't help anyone.

Ubuntu sucks at doing [x]. Try using Arch Linux instead.

This is just low quality, and is definitely not an answer. A better explanation would be to show why Ubuntu doesn't support that, and offer a workaround, if any.

See this Ask Ubuntu question for the answer.

Same as link-only. Except, this is even worse, because the questions are likely duplicate and should be flagged as such.

You need to install package xyzzy and run it. It'll fix your problem.

This is a low-quality answer. It doesn't explain how to install or run xyzzy, it just says to do it. This isn't helpful for people in the future.

Whenever I try to run the command mentioned in the accepted answer, I get the following error: {some error log}

This is not an answer. It's another question, and should be treated as such.


In short, the rule is to delete any answer that either does not actually answer the question, or is so bad that it's nonsensical and irrecoverable through edits. Answer deletions are usually rare, and are reserved for things that either aren't answers at all.

Also, it is important to note that users can delete their own answers as they please. Sometimes, this is valuable in order to remove false/deprecated information. Other times, the answerer had a change of heart.

For more information, I'd advise you read these two articles in our help center (an excellent resource, really), as they might be able to shed some more light on the subject of answer moderation:

Also note this post over on Meta Stack Exchange.

If you give us actual links, I'd be more than happy to take a look and explain exactly why those answers were deleted - I doubt it was without a reason.

I can tell you right now, however, that there are strict restrictions for deletion. No user except for a moderator or the original poster may (usually) delete an answer with a score greater than zero. If an answer actually deleted by the community, it must have a score less than or equal to zero (usually less than).

Finally, it is important to be aware of Stack Exchange's "Be Nice" policy, and the Ubuntu Code of Conduct. While we are not opposed directly to criticism of Ubuntu, excessive language or direct attacks will not fly. If they can't be edited out of the post, the post will be deleted. The community may, as a whole, decide to delete any post that is factually incorrect, though this is not a steadfast rule.


For you specifically, here's the advice I can give.

Regarding the upgrade question:

The answer that was deleted is both potentially harmful as well as completely technically incorrect.

There is a very large difference between sudo apt-get update, sudo apt-get upgrade, and sudo do-release-upgrade. In short:

  • sudo apt-get update updates your local package cache information
  • sudo apt-get upgrade installs the newest versions of the current package for your distribution
  • sudo apt-get dist-upgrade or sudo apt full-upgrade installs the newest versions of the current package for your distribution, but also enables APT's intelligent problem resolution. It still will not upgrade you from 14.04 to 16.04 or similar.
  • sudo do-release-upgrade upgrades your distribution (14.04 -> 16.04)

The answer also doesn't answer the question at all. OP isn't trying to upgrade to Xenial. They're just trying to install the latest version of a package. In fact, upgrading them to Xenial could do way more harm than good. Furthermore, this would lead to a broken "partial" distribution-upgrade where PPAs are still relying on Trusty packages, which can cause far far more problems.

Regarding the dual-boot question:

Rod Smith sums it up very nicely:

This approach is overly complex and will not work. Windows will install to the existing /dev/sda only in BIOS/CSM/legacy mode, and subsequently cloning that installation to a GPT disk (such as /dev/sdb) will render it unbootable in BIOS mode. You'd need to install an EFI-mode boot loader for Windows -- and if that's the goal, it's easier to install Windows in EFI mode to begin with. That creates complications for Ubuntu, though. In sum, your approach needs significant modifications at best, and when you're done, it'll be a very different procedure.

and:

You may have done something similar on systems with different configurations, such as with everything in BIOS-boot mode or everything in EFI-boot mode; but in this configuration, it will not work.

Put simply, your answer assumes that the system is fully MBR. This is not the case, and as such, your answer will not work. Also, due to the risks of cloning drives, this could cause excessive data loss or otherwise break things in very spectacular ways. Your answer still doesn't mention how to fix the GPT/Legacy split. It just assumes that it does, and therefore doesn't really answer the question or solve the issue.

Similarly, partitions do not carry information about partition types! This information is stored in the partition table, not the partition itself. Moving a MBR partition to a GPT drive makes the partition GPT. Likewise, moving a GPT partition to an MBR drive will make the partition MBR or fail entirely.

Regarding the Windows boot misbehavior question:

This is just downright dangerous. You're replacing core system files with your own versions, which could have adverse effects like breaking Windows entirely. This is known as the "fallback" UEFI path, and is rarely used except on computers with very very bad UEFI implementations. Usually, setting the boot option from BIOS will be enough. Also, that answer is not deleted. Either way, it won't do much, as Windows will just overwrite the bootx64.efi files on next bootloader upgrade.

Regarding the wifi driver question:

This was treated as a link-only answer. You just threw a link to a relatively shady site without explaining what to do or how to do it. As such, it was deleted.

  • none of your example fit my case – ravery Jun 30 '17 at 23:33
  • I think the paragraph about nobody being able to delete answers with positive score is not quite correct... The button doesn't show up below the answer if its score is not negative, but if it gets flagged, it can be voted to get deleted from the review queues. – Byte Commander Jun 30 '17 at 23:35
  • if you point you sources to the repo of the version you want (ie xenial) then sudo apt-get dist-upgrade will give you xenial. what I explain is given in the ubuntu manual as I also linked. that answer wasn't but it was in other questions and is always flagged down by Rob. watch it and see if it doesn't get deleted a few days – ravery Jun 30 '17 at 23:52
  • @ravery That is technically accurate, if you want to install Xenial. OP just wanted to update their 14.04 packages to the latest versions available to 14.04. Attempting to move them to Xenial is completely unnecessary and can cause lots of damage. Latest package version != Latest distro. See man apt-get as well, as I don't think dist-upgrade does what you think it does. – Kaz Wolfe Jun 30 '17 at 23:54
  • he wanted 16.04, not 17.04. I have read the manual. it does if you point to the right repo. it also seems to lack the problem of dependency chain removing complete desktops as the autoupdate has done to me several times nor does it remove my third party apps as auto update usually does. – ravery Jul 1 '17 at 0:00
  • @ravery Where did you see the OP wanting to install 16.04? – Kaz Wolfe Jul 1 '17 at 0:01
  • his title said "how to upgade 14.04 to 16.04?" or am I mixing up another question where I was also deleted – ravery Jul 1 '17 at 0:04
  • The one you linked for upgrade did not mention 16.04 anywhere, @ravery. – Kaz Wolfe Jul 1 '17 at 0:05
  • yes, I rechecked, the one I linked the OP asked specifically how to do using my method. I tried to help him get around by mentioning he needed to point to xenial repo. but he got the same error. ( a package break in the mirror maybe) meaning do-disrtobution-upgrade would give him the same error also – ravery Jul 1 '17 at 0:12
  • a bootloader update is very rare, as compaired to windows telling efi to put 0000 fist n the boot order, which it does everytime you run it. yes I agree the better uefi implementations don't even need the default path on the internal drive (my current computer scans /efi for boot programs and automatically populates the boot option menu). but almost always when the OP say" after running windows I only get windows" my fix is needed – ravery Jul 1 '17 at 0:22
  • You also post comments on the other people's answers disparaging them. This is not a good way to become popular. – Organic Marble Jul 1 '17 at 1:46
  • @kaz -- you forgot the third command in the update sequence sudo apt-get dist-upgrade the three commands together is the same a do-distrubution-upgrade, except you get to choose which version you upgrade too .... however I do see that sudo apt-get dist-upgrade has been depreciated in favor of sudo apt-get full-upgrade – ravery Jul 1 '17 at 18:00
  • @ravery Thanks for pointing that out, edited. apt or apt-get will never perform a system upgrade by itself without changing repository data. It will always keep within the same version (so you won't go from 14.04 to 16.04. do-release-upgrade does a lot of things APT doesn't do, which is why it's the preferred way of upgrading. – Kaz Wolfe Jul 1 '17 at 18:03
  • @kaz - yes I understand that, I always start my answers with pointing the source list to the version you want – ravery Jul 1 '17 at 18:14
  • "This is a low-quality answer. It doesn't explain how to install or run xyzzy, it just says to do it. This isn't helpful for people in the future." I disagree. Explaining how to install a package is way out of scope. However, to be a good answer, it should have explained why xyzzy fixes the problem. – Lightness Races with Monica Jul 7 '17 at 14:05
3

First of all, your answer for the hash sum mismatch question is already been discussed in the comments and mentioned that the method you provide for upgrading isn't proper. The documentation that you point to is for End of Life releases. The question owner's OS is 14.04 and it is not End-of-Life (EOL) status. Thus, your answer was downvoted and deleted properly.

The answer for gpt partition issue is indeed quite complex and convoluted. You might consider revising it. It appears that you have tendency of jumping into answering posts without thoroughly reading them or investigating the causes of the issue, as in the case of rebooting to Ubuntu question.

I know it might seem a bit frustrating and you're going into answering with good intentions, but look at it from this perspective: if your answers receive negative feedback, try to learn what exactly is wrong with your answers and listen to the comments.

  • that method works for any version ..... as pointed out in the discussion, the OP didn't want 17.10 which is what ~do-distrobution-upgrade will give him. 16,04 is almost EOL I believe. not only did I research it, I have done it many times. – ravery Jun 30 '17 at 23:56
  • @ravery I just installed 16.04 in 2016 and since it's an LTS release it's supported for 5 years so it won't reach EOL until 2021. I'll install version 18 in 2018, but will probably keep this 16.04 partition alive for testing purposes until EOL (if not longer). After all the measly 30GB it requires is pocket change in Mass Storage standards these days. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 1 '17 at 0:47
  • @wineunuuchs2unix thanks for that information. though do-distrobution-upgrade will still take him to 17.04 – ravery Jul 1 '17 at 0:50
  • @ravery I really don't know. Ubuntu automatically takes me to upgrades between LTS's (ie 14.04 to 16.04 (that was painful)) and not the minor revisions like 15.04, 15.10, 16.10 and 17.04. I've lobbied for Ubuntu to cancel 17.10 and make the next version 18.0 which comes out only when it's as perfect as can be based on Gnome Desktop whether it be April 2018 (.04) or May 2018 (.05) or even "wake me up when September ends" (.09). The point is call it version 18 and release it when it's working not because you have to based on calendar month. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 1 '17 at 1:13
  • @wineunuchs2unix -- I agre with that. one reason I left window was that I was tired of half finished software being released. the other is tht they were getting to "big brother". I don't want my home computer login checking my email or sending everything to drop box, etc. my "services are separate and I want them that way." – ravery Jul 1 '17 at 1:24
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The majority of answers that are deleted are done so through review after being flagged as "not an answer" or "very low quality". Kaz's answer explains why most answers are deleted and makes helpful specific comments that I agree with on the issues with the answers you mention.

I would like to add a few words on why some answers are deleted outside of the review system and not by mods, but by voters, as seems to have been the case with two of your examples. I will speak for myself, since I did vote to delete two of those posts.

In general I vote to delete answers that I am convinced are bad advice because I don't want visitors to the site to try to use them and later have problems. I vote to delete answers that I am convinced are not useful because I don't want visitors to land on irrelevant and unhelpful things when looking for an answer.

I think the users like myself who vote to delete outside of the review system (either when we happen to see bad posts or using the extra data available to users with more that 10k reputation) are, in general, interested in making the site more awesome*, by polishing the good parts, patching the parts that need fixing up, and throwing out anything that really doesn't belong.

*this is, of course, highly subjective, and meta is here, in part, so we can discuss it and try to find and cultivate a healthy common ground about it.

It's worth pointing out that the users who commented on the deleted answers you mention are not the ones who voted to delete them (contrary to what WinEunuuchs2Unix suggested). Only a few users regularly vote to delete outside the review system, 20k reputation is required, and the post must have a negative score. Only a handful of answers per week are deleted by voters.

I much prefer to salvage posts by editing than to delete them. Hopefully, I only vote to delete posts that I believe cannot be saved by editing. Some of the other users who vote to delete are also active in salvaging in various ways: editing, voting to reopen, speaking up in comments and in chat on behalf of posts (and users) that deserve better treatment than they are currently getting.

Sometimes, I make mistakes or bad decisions. Recently I came across an answer in the Low Quality Posts review queue. I thought "this doesn't answer the question, the OP is asking for a command" so I clicked the Delete button. Then I thought "oh no I should not have done that" so I went back and tried to fix my mistake by editing the answer to make it clear, especially to other reviewers, that the suggestion could be helpful, although I couldn't upvote it since it was apparently untested speculation. (Although I still think it was an improvement, a mod pointed out that my edit was intrusive as it could make the answer seem condescending - maybe I was making the extra mistake of thinking more about reviewers than the OP and the author of the post).

Other people also make mistakes so even though it takes 3 users with >20k to vote to delete, or 6 with >2k who can only Recommend Deletion within the review queue context (or one mod any time of course), it's possible that a post may be deleted unjustly, and if you feel that has happened to one of your posts you can flag it for moderator attention.

3

I will be completely honest: Kaz sums up all the deletion reasons nicely in his answer to this question.

Each and every one of the reasons that was stated by Kaz there is accurate, and would reflect my reasoning for deleting the answers, the examples of which you've provided.

Therefore, that answer is basically a duplicate of my explanations in this reason.


Of more importance is your attitude in this. What one person deems as a 'perfectly good answer', the community and rules of the site may not. This is the nature of Stack Exchange sites, and community "deletion" consensus is actually sometimes a valid tool.

There's simply no need to be rude towards users and tell people to "Get off their high horse".


Another bigger concern is this: the observation of "dangerous answers" is actually valid. There are a billion ways to provide a 'dangerous' answer. This includes but is not limited to suggesting to run a do-release-upgrade when it's not called for, or installing some random package that might fix the problem without explaining the reasoning for installing it, or how to install it, because that "random package" might introduce disruptive things to the system.


TL;DR:

You should adjust your attitude here. Deletions aren't in any way directed just against someone, but indicate that you're doing something wrong with your answers and posts. Kaz's answer here gives prime explanations for the deletion examples you've provided, and it would be a good idea to follow those explanations to avoid such answers in the future.

Quality standards such as these are important too - we don't want to tell people things that'll torch their systems, or provide links to things that might go away, nor do we want a thousand duplicate posts. (This is where you flag for closure as duplicates, if the other post is almost identical in terms of what's being asked and an answer over there is valid in both places).

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    Minor nitpick: It's perfectly valid to give people instructions that will torch their system, but only with plenty of warning that this may very well have unintended side effects like crashing your computer, kicking your puppy, or burning your pizza. Of course, any potentially dangerous answers must also actually solve the problem at hand in a sane way. – Kaz Wolfe Jul 1 '17 at 18:05
1

To back up your theory you have included a couple of examples as requested in comments.


In example 1 your answer did not work for the OP. Additionally the OP's question appears to be a duplicate question of "Hash Sum Mismatch" and I flagged that question as such. Now it's up to the OP to check the duplicate candidate and say "Hey it works" or "No it didn't work and Xxxx happened instead".

Also in your first example you ignored advice in comments from more experienced (in Ask Ubuntu at least) users and got into long arguments. Another point is your answer being too daunting for average Ubuntu users to attempt (in their expert opinion).

In answer example 1 you didn't really "attack Ubuntu" and cannot use that as justification for deletion in your preamble. FYI the apt-get functions are written by Debian which Ubuntu is based upon. Ubuntu also repackages code from Gnome, Linux Kernels, Pulse Audio, Xorg and systemd just to name a few.


Generally most complaints about Ubuntu can be traced back to Linux Kernel, drivers, or other third party software. Therefore Ubuntu developers can quickly explain the reason for the bug(s) without feeling much guilt or shame.

Those of us that develop software know how complicated the process is and how easy it is for bugs to creep into the code. The important thing around here is to be nice so if answers are mean, rude, abusive, childish, vulgar, insulting, demeaning, condescending, obnoxious, ridiculing, liable, break copyright laws, or any other laws; they will be deleted.

If you meant "Questions are deleted" that's a different story altogether.

  • thank you for your reply, but my answers did not fit any of those catagories – ravery Jun 30 '17 at 23:38
  • @user68186 yes the first paragraph is a comment and should be deleted especially since Serg posted that part of my answer as a comment after the fact. Also since the first paragraph was posted the OP did in fact come up with some example links which I'll look through and then update my answer based on new information. It's unsual to flag the first paragraph of an answer as a comment whilst ignore the other three paragraphs no? – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 1 '17 at 0:11
  • @user68186 -- the documentation Rob keeps pointing me to supports my method fully and indicates that it will work in all situations as it puts the efi nvram back in the state it was in when the manufaturer first booted it, except now grub is the loader not windows. – ravery Jul 1 '17 at 0:45
  • to complex for someone?? maybe but state that, don't say it is wrong, when it isn't – ravery Jul 1 '17 at 0:47
  • You make a good point, they could have asked you to modify your answer with facts about complexity and what could go wrong over here or over there because of this or because of that. In an ideal world that would have happened but that answer had a fast paced comment exchange and I think a few people got exasperated and decided to "pull the plug" as it were. In my own case where I stumble down the wrong path in answers other users are kind enough to edit my answers and "clean them up". AU is like going to different Christian Sect Churches or Muslim Sect Mosques you have to watch rituals first. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 1 '17 at 0:54
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    ... Comment part 2. I exceeded character limit. You will find certain users will simply hate you in chat rooms and that can spill over to Q&A and vice versa. In that case it is simply better to walk away and ignore them for all time than get dragged into futile arguments and name calling. There is certainly a culture here to abide to just as in the religions I mentioned in part 1 but you are allowed lots of latitude for your own personality. Just know when to forget the little battle losses and move on to win the bigger picture. Some answers may be too advanced and need "hand holding". – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 1 '17 at 0:59
  • .... Comment part 3. It seems like your feelings are hurt because you invested a lot of time in your answers and of course we all have emotional attachment to our hard work. The Jewish 12 tribes could be miffed I left them out of comments as well. But there is lots of time to learn about them just as there is lots of time for you to learn about AU and how different power brokers work around here. Sometimes we need to relax, reboot and enjoy a little real life (not artificial computer cross the t's and dot the i's lifestyle) Happy Canada Day tomorrow or July 4th next week :) – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 1 '17 at 1:07
  • I can't find where but someone mentioned "experienced users" I'd like to mention that I was programming FORTRAN in 10th grade( I started on tandy TSR), and have been messing with computers for 38 years. my current system is debian 8.8 cinnamon. the the last week I have installed built and broke 5 systems trying to get an effective upgrade to deb 9 while holding plasma and kde at 4. however plasma5 is proving to be too integrated into base system to do an effective partial upgrade. – ravery Jul 1 '17 at 1:09
  • Lucky you learning FORTRAN in grade 10 I didn't learn it until college in 1983. Along with Mark IV and RPG II which are considered fringe languages today. Well perhaps RPG/400 might be considered mainstream in some circles. I think it's good you posted some credentials just now and hopefully your next answers won't be deleted as quickly as before. I do invite you though to post new answers where the old ones were deleted if you feel they have merit once modified given what you have now gleamed from the many answers and comments. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 1 '17 at 1:42
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    Woah, answers are not deleted because the OP is annoying! If you ever see that happening, please flag. Voting to delete because you find the poster annoying and not because the answer is useless or harmful is abusive behavior. – terdon Jul 1 '17 at 10:32
  • @terdon I didn't mean "annoying" as the sole reason for deletion. I meant it as icing on the cake, or accelerator tipping the scales on all the other reasons. Generally annoying answers, ie always asking for upvotes, are referred to mods. The mods in turn can message the poster asking him/her to refrain from always asking for upvotes. If you like this comment please click the up chevron next to it. haha just kidding :) – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 1 '17 at 14:48

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