I saw a question about the smallest effect of gravity ever measured, and posted what I believed to be an interesting answer about the forces in an AFM. When I came back a few hours later, I saw that my answer got a single down-vote, and zero up-votes. Further, some other answers had appeared. Based on the comments that had also appeared (to the question and other answers), I realized that the OP was asking for something altogether different, and deleted my answer.
Still, it bothered me that existing questions were not quite getting the point. So the following day I wrote a completely new answer. Not a minor edit of the previously deleted one - it was as though I was answering a different question.
This got me a comment from QMechanic:
In the future, please edit a downvoted answer rather than deleting and adding a second answer. It may be seen as gaming the reputation system to avoid a downvote.
I thought the point of up/downvotes was to separate the wheat from the chaff. I had clearly misinterpreted the intention of the OP, so I deleted the irrelevant answer. Good riddance. Then I set about writing a better one.
I'd like to hear others' opinions: does one need to keep a bad answer around? Should you delete the entire body of your answer and write the new one "in place of the old one"? Or is what I did OK - just rip up the old one and start again.
Do you consider this "gaming the system"? I hope I don't sound like I'm whining - I just wanted to calibrate myself.
For reference, the timeline:
Nov 1, 20:19 - posted original answer Nov 2, 1:41 - deleted answer Nov 3, 2:38 - posted new answer
In case you're interested, here is the link to the deleted answer