After trying to delete a post, by clicking the delete link under it, the final deletion prompt mentioned "Repeated Deletion of Answered Questions".

What exactly does this mean? Could I be banned from asking questions just for clearing out trash / malformed questions that received answers that are just of the form "Your premise is wrong" or Duplicates? I could maybe understand the virtue of leaving the former up so anyone else caught in the same moment of confusion / idiocy can learn what's going wrong, but why the latter? Surely deleting duplicates wouldn't harm the site.

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    $\begingroup$ Could you perhaps link to some examples (even if deleted, >1ok's can see them anyway)? $\endgroup$ – AccidentalFourierTransform Sep 29 '17 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ physics.stackexchange.com/q/357641 Here's the one that I was going to delete when I noticed the message. $\endgroup$ – user95137 Sep 29 '17 at 20:29
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    $\begingroup$ What exactly is "this"? Is that a system message that you got? $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Sep 29 '17 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ It is just displayed in the box that appears with the final deletion prompt, after clicking delete below the post. Or at least, it was for me. $\endgroup$ – user95137 Sep 29 '17 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ FWIW the answer has a positive score so you cannot delete your question in any case. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Sep 29 '17 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ The prompt you mention is not normally encountered in the normal operation of the site, which made the original formulation of your question extremely confusing. I have rephrased it to add some context; feel free to re-shape it as you consider necessary (possibly adding a screenshot?), but please keep in mind the experience of people who are not directly looking at the same screen as you when you do that. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Sep 29 '17 at 22:13

When you post a question on Stack Exchange, you're soliciting other people to do work for you, in the form of answers. In the Stack Exchange mentality (which I agree with), it is impolite to then remove the content that those other people have produced for you, and the system tends to see that as a negative signal in various ways. As a simple example, of the system has any indication that that content has any quality (that is, if it's been upvoted) then the system will not let you delete the question.

If you've asked a question with incorrect premises and received answers that helped you realise that fact, then it's a bit ungrateful to then delete those answers. That's compounded by the fact that writing that kind of answer is quite often a significant risk, as it is often hard to gauge whether the OP will get belligerent when their assumptions get questioned.

And as for duplicates the standard practice is to leave them up as signposts to the existing, answered question. The thinking is that if you were unable to find that thread because, say, you used keywords that didn't quite match the existing text, then there's a nontrivial likelihood that someone else will come along and use the same search terms, which will lead them to your question and from there to the answer.

In short, only delete questions, and particularly questions with answers, when you really need to.

And, if bears mention, deletion sometimes looks like a nice alternative for closed or downvoted questions, particularly when facing their negative effects for things like automated question bans or the 'positive question record' of some badges. This is wrong: the system considers deleted questions as a negative signal in addition to the other metrics. Don't delete downvoted or closed posts - fix them.


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