I would like someone that has the ability to see the reasoning for this answer deletion to try to explain why it was deleted.


I realize this is often an emotionally charged topic, and I suspect that the person deleting my answer did so based on emotions rather than looking at the content of the answer.

If the delete can not be justified other than just not liking my answer, how can I get an undelete started?

Why was I not notified? Edit: SE doesn't currently work like that.

Why was I not given a reason? Edit: SE doesn't currently work like that.

EDIT: According to chat, the answer did turn out to be deleted out of emotion and disregard of the facts. A pity there's not yet any recourse for misusing privileges on SE.

  • It is not because of being uninformed. Do you personally know exactly how Caitlyn feels about the specific use of stepmother or stepfather? Did you ask him, or is there an interview where someone has? I personally don't, so my guess is that he prefers stepmother (currently) because of his preference for feminine pronouns. There is a question mark to denote uncertainty on my (and maybe most people's) part because I don't know that exact preference of his. This is precisely why it is worded that way and should be read that way without injecting additional meaning. Thank you for the feedback.
    – user105360
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


Generally, you aren't notified or given a reason if your answer is deleted. You definitely should not expect this—that's just not how deletion works on Stack Exchange. (Nobody else has the ability to see the reason for deletion either.) If you want someone to tell you the reason, you'll need to actively seek that out, as you did by making this post on Meta.

Edit: Matt E. has specified in chat that the answer was deleted for offensive content:

she is not technically still their stepfather. that is offensive.

See also Kit Z. Fox's answer.

(My initial guess for the reasons was the following)

I would guess your answer was deleted mainly because it is opinion-based and doesn't provide any sources. This is a matter of format, not content. That said, I see there is another answer without sources that was not deleted, so there may be some evaluation of the content involved as well—your answer had already gotten two downvotes, showing some level of community disagreement with you, while the unsourced answer that remains has one upvote. In other words, unsourced answers that don't appear to be accurate are not tolerated as much as unsourced answers that do appear to be accurate.

Oh--another thing I just noticed was that you consistently referred to Caitlin Jenner using "he" and corresponding pronouns; many people find that offensive. This by itself wouldn't constitute a reason to delete your answer, since it could easily be changed by editing, but it might be another reason the answer wasn't received well.

  • Thank you for clarifying how deletions work. I expected them to work differently. I realize people may disagree with pronouns and I'll keep that as a separate issue. As far as opinion based, how is the answer opinion based? Specifically, what opinions do you think are contained in the answer?
    – user105360
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 20:20
  • The following are opinions: it's "illogical... to call [Caitlyn Jenner] a stepmother because of his genetics" and "One would use the context's time frame in determining which term to use." Actually, I guess the latter isn't inherently an opinion, but it comes across that way because you haven't provided any evidence for it, so it seems like you're just describing your own usage preferences.
    – herisson
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 20:23
  • (This isn't relevant to the discussion about deletion, but I for one don't think your "time frame" argument is valid; or at least, it has a large number of exceptions that you don't mention. It's perfectly valid for me to say a sentence like "my mother graduated from high school in 1965" even if she wasn't my mother yet at that time.)
    – herisson
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 20:26
  • The last phrase is meant to be connected to the "one could make an argument.." phrase, meaning that if one makes that argument, then their usage would be [this]. I guess that could be made clearer because it came across as an opinion to you. Re: first sentence: Preferences today are fluid, and the only fact we have that's unchanging is genetics. He is a stepfather (genetically), but may prefer to be called stepmother. When one does not know preference, one logically would reference facts. A person may choose to let known preference override fact, but the fact does not change.
    – user105360
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 21:45
  • How can you be a stepfather "genetically"? There is no genetic relationship at all between them. Usually when we say something is "logical," we're saying it's what a logical person would do. But logical people don't necessarily reference facts as much as possible in speech, or prefer precise definitions over fuzzy ones. Speech has many purposes aside from communicating facts. The logical course of action is to use whatever phrasing best suits one's purposes.
    – herisson
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 22:28
  • @Physics-Compute: For example, I wouldn't say it's "illogical" to use the term mother cell to reference a bacterium that reproduces asexually. Would you? I feel like it's a matter of opinion.
    – herisson
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 22:37
  • He is a genetic male (XY). For parenting terms, male corresponds to father (female to mother). If you are a substitute parent, you are a stepparent, which makes him a stepfather using gender (genetic) specific terms.
    – user105360
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 22:51
  • "...logical people don't necessarily reference facts as much as possible in speech." The meaning of logical makes that statement conflicting. I would consider it illogical to call it mother cell if it has no notion of sexuality. The sex-neutral term would be parent cell.
    – user105360
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 22:57
  • I guess we have different definitions of "logical" as applied to people and word-usage. I usually take "logical" in these contexts to mean "determined by logic to be advantageous." It's not obvious to me that defining "mother" genetically is more logical (in this sense) than defining it in other ways. The other definitions may not be as clear, but what's the actual advantage to having a clear definition of "(step)mother"?
    – herisson
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 23:30
  • 2
    Physics-Compute What about a mother ship as in "All the shuttlecraft made it back to the mother ship, although many were badly damaged." (Made up). And ships are traditionally called she or her, and cars frequently so. On the other side of the coin, animals are frequently called it even when their sex is known. (My cat is not an it!) I think your answer (which I can't see until I have 56 more rep points) perhaps should have been kept because I don't like deletion for PC-ness except for things truly awful
    – ab2
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 1:40
  • 4
    You'll have to ask the deleter, Matt E. Эллен. This action seems inappropriate, although characteristically so. The answer isn't intrinsically offensive, and if it's illogical or simply an opinion, that's what downvotes are for.
    – deadrat
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 8:30

We are sensitive to transgender issues and your answer was ill-informed. I understand that you were referring to a 'genetic' viewpoint of parentage, but your answer neither made this clear nor respected the human right of choosing gender identity. It was offensive, so it was deleted.

  • -1 for the only true statement in your answer being that SE is sensitive to transgender issues. I understand that and the answer came from a completely objective point of view. If one reads more into it than what is there, that is an issue with the reader, not the statement in this case. I specifically mentioned genetics and specifically mentioned that one has the option of overriding factual genetics with the person's preferred choice of terms. The core of my answer was that one could apply a time context into deciding their choice of terms if they did so.
    – user105360
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 22:14
  • Please explain how you found it could be offensive to anyone. Please explain how it was ill-informed.
    – user105360
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 22:15
  • @Physics Gender is not genetic.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 22:17
  • The scientific term gender most certainly does mean genetics, and has since the term came to be. Social sciences routinely misuses gender in place of the mental state that gender dysphoria causes. There's not really a consensus on a term for that yet.
    – user105360
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 22:24
  • 1
    @Physics Sex is used in genetic sciences. Gender is a social construct.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 22:32

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