Who chooses which answers are retained, and which are removed on Workplace. Exactly who are they and what are their credentials?


2 Answers 2


Answer deletion and undeletion

As Phillip mentioned in the comments, regular community members with the trusted user privilege, users who have earned at least 20,000 reputation on our site, have the ability to cast delete votes on negatively scored answers. After 3 delete votes by at least 3 trusted users, the answer is removed. The answer can also be removed by lower reputation users if the post ends up in the low quality review queue.

You'll also see users around the site with a diamond to the right of their username. These are either elected or appointed moderators or Stack Exchange employees. These folks have the ability to put any question on hold instantly or reopen it for answers instantly, and can remove answers that don't meet the site guidelines.

Users with less than 20,000 reputation can flag answers that don't meet our community's back it up guidelines. Moderators then review the flags to see if the post needs to be removed, if it can be edited to meet our guidelines, or dismiss the flag if it has no merit. In general, when moderators remove an answer, we leave comments explaining why. In general, we try to leave comments suggesting how the answers can be improved so the answerer has an opportunity to fix the problems. Many times, these end up being the best answers on our site since they get a lot more care. But to clarify, we rarely, if ever, delete answers on site without explanation unless it's just blatant spam or other noise.

Finally, if you want to learn more about a specific user, some users provide some details about themselves in their user profile, so you can always check that out to learn more about a specific user.

Perhaps you're referring to comments?

However, I noticed you don't have any deleted answers, so I suspect you're referring to comments. Comments on Stack Exchange are intended to be temporary post-it notes used to help a user improve their post or to seek clarification. They're not intended to actually answer the questions. You can read more about that in the post What comments are not....

Regular users around the site help with this cleanup effort by flagging posts with a lot of comments or by flagging the comments individually. Moderators then make the call as to how to handle the flag. If we're sure the comments have served their purpose, we generally remove them.

While this may seem odd to some, there's a very important reason behind doing this. Our goal as a community is to avoid the scalability issues known as "the forum problem", as described in Good Subjective, Bad Subjective:

Most forums and chat rooms have a scale problem. As in, they don’t. The more people that join the discussion, the more noise each of those connections bring. So the forums get progressively noisier and noisier, and suddenly one day … you stop learning.

… eventually the experts (i.e. people who are teaching you stuff) get drowned out and you are left with an experience that looks more like the magazine rack at a grocery store than a book shelf at Harvard. — Robert Scoble

Because we believe so deeply in learning, we are willing to go to great lengths to suppress the discussion, debate, and opinions that — while plenty entertaining — cause most forums to inevitably break down.

As a platform dedicated to teaching and learning, it's important that we stick to what has made these sites so great, and that is the Q&A -- the focus on good detailed questions with a clear problem, and objective answers explaining both why and how, backed by facts, references, and experiences or explanations that demonstrate the answer is correct. Hope this helps.

  • I understand the scaling problem. You solve that by forking the forum when it gets out of hand. "I won't have more than 20 students in an upper division class, we have to add a section", if I may quote myself. I didn't handle it by not allowing students to ask questions. Is there a mission or vision statement for the Workplace forum? Not your pedantic rules, but a clear statement of purpose.
    – System 360
    Jul 26, 2014 at 22:19
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    @System360 That's the key. Stack Exchange is not a forum. What applies to a forum doesn't necessarily apply here. I moderate both on a Stack Exchange site (productivity) and a forum (coderanch). It's a different experience and outlook. Jul 26, 2014 at 22:27
  • So, does that the elusive mission statement indicate that a question like "Do I fire a guy that's had an affair with my wife", needs just a (possibly misguided) answer, or should a number of people encourage him, comment on his situation, and possibly criticize the answers? Forum was your guy's term, not mine. Our beloved English is loose enough that you can mean anything by that that you wish. I hold that discussions about semantics are like those of statistically probable timing paths; the last stage before total desperation.
    – System 360
    Jul 26, 2014 at 23:26
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    SE is a Q&A site, @system360. We let the folks at Reddit, Quora, and other discussion platforms handle that type of content. Our site focuses on finding definitive answers to problems people face in the workplace, without the noise and chatter that oftentimes happens in forums. Think about the last time you googled a problem and found the answer buried on page 30 of some forum, 3/4 of the way down the page. On SE, we don't want people to dig, we want answers to bubble to the top and be free of clutter. Hope this helps clarify.
    – jmort253
    Jul 26, 2014 at 23:34
  • I got her by Googling "Release Letter". A contractor of mine, I guess in India, wanted one. I had no idea what was one. I found a half-dozen questions, a few answers that were little help, and found my answer in the comments. If you let other people handle that type of content why did not immediately flag the question? Does a new graduate that posts a question like "I interviewed 6 weeks ago and they haven't gotten back to me, should I continue to search" not need some care? If you want to talk the talk, walk the walk and prohibit needy people like those from posting those type of questions.
    – System 360
    Jul 26, 2014 at 23:44
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    My flight's loading. I'll get back to you when I get to Panama. Thanks for making the wait not boring.
    – System 360
    Jul 27, 2014 at 0:08
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    Answers can also be deleted if they're not an answer (that's a specific flag type), or if they're gibberish (very low quality). Jul 27, 2014 at 4:22
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    Also, users can delete their own answers...
    – daaxix
    Jul 30, 2014 at 22:54
  • As there are currently only 6 trusted users on The Workplace, it's somewhat unlikely that an answer would be deleted that way. In general I think the most common use-case for an answer 'disappearing' without explanation is that its author deleted it for one reason or another.
    – aroth
    Aug 4, 2014 at 2:49

This site is not a forum. Comments which are chatty belong on reddit or yahoo answers or chat.

If you want that method of discussion you are going to consistently be annoyed, frustrated, and fighting the entire Stack Exchange business model.

Stack Exchange is a Q/A site.

Who chooses which answers are retained, and which are removed on Workplace. Exactly who are they and what are their credentials?

I am a member and vote to delete answers/questions which I do not find to add to this site.

My vision for this site:

  • Providing comprehensive, detailed, and thought-out answers to constructive workplace questions

So if you want to know when I vote to delete things or vote them down, simply ask that question.

If you want to get a feel for what a "comprehensive, detailed, and thought-out answer" is look here as I generally try to add only answers which I feel meet this criteria.

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