If I post an answer that gets downvoted for unknown reasons so that I cannot improve it, would it be considered bad form to delete the answer completely? What if the answer gets downvotes, but actually helps the poster solve the problem?

I suppose a lesser consideration might be what happens to the negative reputation points. It's only one point for each downvote, I think, but do they go away? The reason I'm curious about this is I wonder if people would delete all their questions and answers that get downvoted to build up their reputation.

  • 2
    Don't delete downvoted answer just for rising the reputation . Just coment 'why downvoted ' below the answer , And research for whether the answer is techinically right or wrong . If still no idea copy link to the chat and discuss with others
    – Tachyons
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 1:28
  • @abcd Like I mentioned, I think the reputation angle is minor, but I was just curious as to whether people might do this, or more so, whether it even mattered. Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 2:15

3 Answers 3


I only delete an answer I've posted if I think it has one or more of the following problems:

  • Wrong, and I can't improve it to make it right.

  • Dangerously misleading, and I can't improve it to fix this.

  • Not helpful, and I can't make it helpful.

Remember that upvotes will more than cancel out downvotes in the long run, especially random upvotes vs. random downvotes, and especially in terms of reputation gained/lost.


You can always improve your answer, whether someone downvotes it or not.

As far as removing your answer, yes, you can always delete your answers to get your reputation back, unless it's an accepted answer, in which case you'd need to flag the answer.

People wouldn't really be gaming the system, they would just be getting their points back, which is fine, if the community feels that the answer was so terrible that the total votes on the answer are negative then it's probably better to remove it.

It would help if you linked the answer that was downvoted, then maybe we could give you some hints on how to improve it!

  • 1
    I suspect we're talking about this askubuntu.com/questions/152727/cannot-use-sudo-from-live-cd/… Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 1:30
  • @aking1012, that post did somewhat trigger my question, but it's something I've wondered about in general. If a post has a total negative vote, then there must be something wrong with it, but if nobody says why it was downvoted, it may be hard to improve. On this particular post, I did do edits as I read over it to organize and clarify, but it was getting too off topic with explanations rather than answers, so I'm not sure if it's worth continuing. But I don't really care about the few points that much, just don't want to be associated with bad answers. Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 2:22
  • @Jorge Castro, I often go back to improve my answers, because I sometimes give an answer that might be immediately helpful, but go back and fill in details for anyone who might not understand how to use it, or why. If the poster is really in a bind, I think a quick answer that might assume too much knowledge might be better than taking a long time to write a more detailed answer that may be to detailed. Besides, while taking the time, someone might give the same answer before I finish. :) Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 2:26

@Jorge 's answer is absolutely correct.

If we're talking specifically about this I would examine the comments again. Particularly the ones by @psusi and @Dylan . Sudo is absolutely possible on live media...so your answer was factually incorrect. If you went back through and fixed that bit, I suspect you would be at at least 0 (which would be a net gain of 16 points)

  • Thanks, I did change that. I mainly have used the liveCD to run gparted for making changes that can't be done while mounted, and it never prompted me for a password, so it led me to believe it wasn't required (since I didn't know the password anyway). I never thought much about it. I had said "if I remember correctly, it wasn't required" - and I had added soon after that I checked and found that I was not correct. But I took it out completely now. I wasn't sure before if it would be good to simply delete it, as it may make the comments nonsensical. Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 4:41
  • moved you one closer to zero Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 6:20
  • 1
    just something else to note...you might score better if your answers were a little less verbose. there's a thin line between adequately explanatory and overly verbose. Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 6:31
  • 1
    point taken. This particular one was written in stages, and got messier at times. But I'm much better at troubleshooting, solving problems, debugging, etc than writing. It takes me a while to write something well, and by the time I get it finished, it may be too late. Maybe that's another meta question, how to avoid wasting time with a well-written answer that ends up being solved before it gets posted. Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 17:41

You must log in to answer this question.

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