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What are the "good" reasons for deleting someone else's answer? And, related, — can you delete someone's answer with no reason? — how many delete votes does it take to delete an answer?

2

It depends on who you are as to how many votes are required.

Users with less than 10K reps can delete their own content, with the exception of questions that have upvoted answers attached to them.

Users with 10K+ reps can cast delete votes on other people's content, and it takes three votes to delete something.

Moderators can delete with only one vote, so not exactly a vote.

Reasons to delete something are that:

  • it's spam — An unsolicited advert, but this should be done by flagging rather than delete votes. 6 spam flags delete a post, and help inform the system what spam is.
  • it is other nonsense — This covers two main types of problem. First of all there is gibberish, e.g. "a;dsfh;hulasdfs". Secondly there are offensive posts. It could be argued that both are offensive.
  • it does not attempt to answer the question at hand — This doesn't include wrong answers, but does include questions and comments (either on the question or one of the answers) posted in the "Your Answer" box.
  • it is very low quality — This is more subjective in definition. Answers that don't explain their rationale are typically what I would call low quality. Especially single word request answers that amount to no more than "you can use <this word> for that." I would also include answers that are posted after another answer with (almost) the same answer but are less informative. Low quality answers don't always have to be deleted, if a downvote and/or comment give enough incentive for the answer to be improved then the answer can stay.
  • Thanks. Could you put some boundaries on "nonsense" and "low quality"? For example, should an answer be considered "low quality" simply because it is submitted after another answer has been accepted, or is less complete than the answer that was accepted? Are downvotes necessary or sufficient for deeming an answer "low quality"? – Brian Hitchcock Jan 27 '15 at 11:29
  • I hope that's clearer. – Matt E. Эллен Jan 27 '15 at 13:11
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    @BrianHitchcock I'm afraid there aren't going to be super bright-line boundaries around any of the close reasons, except possibly spam and personal attacks. Outside of that, quality assessments are, well, qualitative, which is why the system asks humans to do the judging. But as a risk control, the system does require a measure of consensus from experienced users (hence 3+ votes from 10K+ users). – Dan Bron Jan 27 '15 at 14:24
  • I once got a deleted answer. It falls on the "very low quality" category (it was totally incorrect), but what makes it grave and not just a downvote-fest kind of answer is that it was accepted as the correct answer. And the question is a duplicate, so it was closed as well. In cases like this, should the answer be deleted if it's incorrect and accepted? – IBG Feb 3 '15 at 6:27

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