I find it quite frustrating if I write an answer and don't receive any feedback. On stack exchange the feedback is designed to work in the following manner:

  1. By accepting an answer.
  2. By providing comments.

The recent case which caused me to write this post happened something like this:

  1. I wrote an answer to a question regarding dS vacua in string theory. The question was composed of two parts: one which asked what is the obstruction, if any, to construct such vacua (I answered this by mentioning the standard constructions with links to literature and the present status and debate regarding them). The second question was a misunderstanding of string theory basics. (I would like other users not to edit this point as I want to understand what exactly went wrong here)

  2. There wasn't any feedback regarding the same.

  3. I commented that I would like some feedback on my answer.

  4. The asker deleted the question.

This is highly infuriating to say the least, for I believe the question was an important one and I answered it because I thought the answer should be useful to other people, especially beginning graduate students. At some point of time, continued behaviour like this might cause people like me to move away from the site, which they may not want to do in the first place.

Is there some way which would discourage such behaviour, such as displaying a strong enough message for the asker to give some feedback?


No, it is not "unreasonable" to expect feedback on your answer, but we never require users to give feedback. The main feedback mechanism on our site are neither accept marks nor comments, they are votes. These can come from the asker or from anyone else. I understand that on some human level we write an answer for the person asking the question and that we instinctively find it nice when they thank us and rude when they don't, but SE sites are not meant to be focused on this social interaction.

However, the situation you describe is an outlier, and I would consider the deletion of the question rather different from "no feedback from the asker".

Askers cannot delete questions if they have at least one up-voted answer, precisely to prevent this sort frustration for answerers. If you think the question was on-topic for the site and you'd like your answer back so that at least other people can vote on it, raise a custom moderator flag explaining the situation. Unless we see a reason the question should stay deleted, I think the moderators would generally be willing to undelete the question and hence the answer. While we generally try to respect authorial intent, when two intents conflict in this way, generally the one that wants to keep quality content visible should win.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I would say it's not unreasonable to want feedback on an answer, but it may be a bit unreasonable to expect it. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Apr 16 '20 at 19:02

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