Recently I asked in a comment if a question the author realized the answer to should be deleted or self answered and the question improved. For those who can view deleted questions:


Now I wonder if I shouldn't have asked and still wonder what the answer really is in this case.

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    You asked a meta question in a comment. It's best if you avoid comments like that. Read When shouldn't I comment? for more information. The community is perfectly capable of closing and deleting bad questions in a manner less personally embarrassing to the OP than such a direct suggestion. Aug 9, 2015 at 17:44
  • @medica well that answers the first part of the question. Any opinion on the second? Aug 9, 2015 at 17:54
  • The only comment I see by you (@CandiedOrange) under that question starts with "Depends on what you want to say", which is perfectly legitimate. Maybe there was another comment which got deleted (before the question itself was deleted)? I have no strong opinion about deletion vs cleanup+self-answering in this case because the question itself is trivial and uninteresting. If the fundamental question itself (or, rather, the answer sought) was more interesting, I'd recommend keeping the question and answering it, to increase the amount of informative content on the site, & to help the next guy.
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 9, 2015 at 19:59
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    @DanBron - click to open the last comment. Aug 10, 2015 at 16:43
  • @CandiedOrange: Regardless of what the Help section says about "non-recommended" comments, I personally have no problem with your second one on the linked question. As regards the relative merits of the three possible courses of action you mention, I doubt ELU really needs an OP who can't spell exceed correctly to provide an answer to his own or anyone else's question. Nor do I see how the question could easily be improved in such a way as to make it non-trivial. Circumstances alter cases - but in that particular case, putting it out of its misery by deleting it seems to me the best option. Aug 10, 2015 at 21:59
  • @FumbleFingers in my brief time active on ELU I've gained respect for you. I agree with most of what you have to say in the comment above but I'm frankly dismayed that you'd suggest that poor spelling is a good reason to dismiss the potential of someones contribution. Of all the things that can go honorably wrong with an answer, spelling is practically the easiest for others to fix with an edit. As an auditory learner, dyslexia sufferer, and bad speller myself I urge you to reconsider. Aug 15, 2015 at 3:09
  • @CandiedOrange: ty. I can't deny I'm prone to make hasty judgments, but it's not just the spelling issue that put me off that question. In case you can't see it any more, recall that it's a "fill in the blank" question for It is not recommended that you ____ your daily vitamin intake - for which the OP first considered excessify, then excede. From which we can probably conclude that it should be exceed [your recommended intake], but I really don't see how such a question would benefit the site, well-framed or not. Aug 15, 2015 at 12:13
  • @FumbleFingers as I said I agree with the rest. I'm not arguing the case. Just making a plea for understanding that past spelling isn't the best predictor of future contribution value. Aug 15, 2015 at 14:12

1 Answer 1


Whether the questioner later realised the answer is not in fact relevant to whether the question should be closed/deleted. The fact that you think of the answer an hour after posting may make you feel as if the question was pointless, but (unless you merely failed to check a dictionary) your question may help others in the future: post the answer, and you may get a 'Self-Learner' badge.

Conversely, what seemed like a good question in your head may, once you have formalized it sufficiently to ask on ELU, turn out to be trivial; I understand programmers call this rubber duck debugging, though sensible teachers have known it for centuries. If so, best to delete it before it is downvoted or deleted. (In theory, you could get upvotes for your answer and gain a 'Reversal' badge'; but it doesn't apply to closures, and in point of fact ELU has not awarded any Reversal badges).

From an outsider's point of view, I suggest a rule of thumb; would you, after the question has been improved, be happy for it to go out over your name? If so, go ahead and edit. If not (and the example would get a definite 'No' from most people), then flag for a mod to close, closevote, or vote to delete, depending on your reputation.

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