Today was the third time in the month and a half I have been participating here that by mistake instead of commenting, I answered. This happens when I want to comment on the last question, and right below the "comment" location is the nice open square of the "your answer" panel.

Answers cannot be simply deleted, and so I end up commenting my answer that it should be a comment, or leaving it without comment, if it is not too much off the subject.

Does this happen to other people too, or is it just me, sort of old age dyslexia?

Maybe if "your answer" was also clickable, instead of a nice panel ready for writing, I would avoid the trap :).

I suppose that a lot of people have asked for a simple delete ( not a vote one ) choice in answers which has not been satisfied.

  • $\begingroup$ This is an answer that should actually be a comment (if you wonder what this is about, please read the comments here) - also sorry for spamming :( $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kienzler Mar 14 '11 at 6:06

When that happens, you can either delete your answer or flag it for moderator attention. We have the ability to turn an answer into a comment.

EDIT: I thought you could always delete your own answers (unless they've been awarded a bounty or accepted, or something like that). Perhaps I'm wrong though.

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    $\begingroup$ I think once they've been voted up enough (maybe 2 votes) you can no longer deleter your own answers. $\endgroup$ – Peter Shor Mar 10 '11 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ In that case how does one earn the 'Disciplined' badge ( Deleted own post with score of 3 or higher)? $\endgroup$ – MBN Mar 10 '11 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, I think my last comment is incorrect ... it's questions you may have trouble deleting. $\endgroup$ – Peter Shor Mar 10 '11 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ I tested it before writing this. When you press "delete" it asks "vote to delete this post?". Well, I would rather not draw negative attention to it and delete it quietly, or otherwise leave a comment that it is a comment. Particularly as I realize it immediately as the "answer" comes up! $\endgroup$ – anna v Mar 10 '11 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ @anna: I think that when it's your own answer, it will just delete it immediately, even though it says "vote to delete." In other words only one vote is required ;) The same thing happens when I close or delete something - it says "vote to close/delete?" even though there is really no voting involved (since moderators can do those things unilaterally). $\endgroup$ – David Z Mar 10 '11 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ Even though it says "vote to delete this post", if you're the person who wrote it you do, indeed, delete it. However, you can later undelete it, and it continues to show up as an answer to you (but not to everyone else). $\endgroup$ – Carl Brannen Mar 11 '11 at 1:29
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks everybody. Just did not want to set up a vote so did not try it. $\endgroup$ – anna v Mar 11 '11 at 5:23
  • $\begingroup$ Since the first 5 minutes after an edit do not cause a new revision to appear I'd guess an answer deleted within 5 minutes also vanishes entirely. But a 10k+ user or mod has to check that since only they can see deleted posts $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kienzler Mar 13 '11 at 12:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Tobias: interesting point, I'm not sure whether that's the case. I can check if you point me to an example. $\endgroup$ – David Z Mar 13 '11 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ @david I tested it with this answer here, I forgot that one can see one's own deleted answers, it still shows up. I guess this doesn't happen if you turn an answer into a comment. Could you test it with this answer? $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kienzler Mar 14 '11 at 6:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Tobias: sure... the answer is still there (soft-deleted) after conversion to a comment. Now that I think about it, I believe the SE team has the power to completely delete content from the site, but nobody else. $\endgroup$ – David Z Mar 14 '11 at 7:34
  • $\begingroup$ @David probably because that would involve tampering with the database in a untidy way. But I know the team can and will hard-delete posts e.g. because of copyright issues $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kienzler Mar 14 '11 at 8:34

It hasn't happen to me, but I don't think it is such a big deal. I doubt that anyone would be unhappy and mind seeing a comment mistakenly written as an answer. For example I was ok with it.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd rather not see comments written as answers. The system works much better when we clean those up. Fortunately it's not hard to change them. $\endgroup$ – David Z Mar 10 '11 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ I agree, I am just saying it is not something to worry about too much. $\endgroup$ – MBN Mar 10 '11 at 17:08
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    $\begingroup$ Well... the people in charge of the Stack Exchange network say it is something to worry about. Or at least something that should be dealt with, even if maybe it doesn't literally merit actual worrying. I'm inclined to agree with them. $\endgroup$ – David Z Mar 10 '11 at 18:14
  • $\begingroup$ Well if it happens often i can see why it should be dealt with, if it happens only once in a while, then I wouldn't care. Of course other people may care, it is their right. I just gave my point of view. $\endgroup$ – MBN Mar 10 '11 at 19:13

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