This question received a code-only low-quality answer that the OP accepted.

I had downvoted that answer, because as the moderator note mentions:

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

Answers that don't include explanations may be removed - don't get me wrong, I generally agree with removing low-quality, code dump answers. But this one was accepted by the OP, with a justification:

@RubberDuck I have accepted this answer as the RemoveAt and Insert part in the switchTabs sub is good. Even if it is winforms it is still viable in wpf. – RedLaser May 16 at 12:06

The moderator-deleted answer cannot be undeleted by community votes now, and we're sitting with question that, in my opinion, is lacking context, left unanswered with a deleted answer, a frustrated new user, and a puzzled OP.

What happened here? What should have happened?


6 Answers 6


Do I like code only answers? No. I don't. Do I think in general they should be removed? Yes. I do.

However, I'm a bit uncomfortable with this situation because it was the accepted answer. It provided value to the OP of the question. I don't believe this answer should have been deleted. Why? Well... mostly because there is a precedent for not deleting accepted answers. If I recall correctly, once an answer has been accepted, it can not be deleted by regular users. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong about that.) this means that SE staff made the calculated decision that if an answer was accepted, it provides a positive net value and shouldn't be removed.

Of course, the flip side of that argument is that they also explicitly gave moderators the power to do exactly that. So... Yeah. There is that to consider too.

All in all though, I prefer to defer to the question's OP here.

Now, what should have happened? More or less what did happen IMO. With the exception that perhaps it shouldn't have been deleted at all and the Reviewer should have created this meta themselves. I think an appropriate course of action would have been to downvote the answer, yet leave it there along with a "why" it's a poor quality post. We don't have to delete every bad post. Sometimes a signpost to what we don't want here is useful for helping new users into our community as well.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ While I see your point I don't hold the checkmark in as high honor as you do. A checkmark IMO shouldn't prevent answer deletion by regular users, at most require an additional vote, if at all different from every other answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vogel612
    May 27, 2015 at 23:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe we're a little too overzealous with maintaining a very high quality @Vogel612. We do have a problem with a lack of reviewers. We might have just permanently run off a new user who might have turned out to be one of the best reviewers we've ever seen. We may never know now. \$\endgroup\$
    – RubberDuck
    May 27, 2015 at 23:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ True that. Maybe a longer 'grace period' would've been a better course of action. Then again I think the deletion is in principle the correct action (whether the answer was accepted or now) \$\endgroup\$
    – Vogel612
    May 27, 2015 at 23:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ A longer grace period might have helped, it might not have. Idk. I do know that you're right about one thing @Vogel612. I hold the checky with higher esteem than you. And that's ok. =) \$\endgroup\$
    – RubberDuck
    May 27, 2015 at 23:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ when I look at this answer, it gives me the option to vote for deletion, so it is possible to delete an accepted answer. if the content is bad enough that it damages the sites reputation then it should be deleted. \$\endgroup\$
    – Malachi Mod
    Jun 3, 2015 at 16:11

Being good and being acceptable are two different things.

Is/Was it a good answer? Definitely not, especially not according to Code Review standards.

Is/Was it an acceptable answer? Obviously, considering it was accepted by the OP.

Should the answer have been accepted? Not in my opinion, but accepting an answer is really not up to me, or up to anyone else except the OP.

Should the answer be deleted? No. Absolutely not. Apparently it was of value.

I see absolutely no reason to delete this particular answer, considering it was accepted it was obviously helpful to the OP.

As a side-note, I think we tend to be too aggressive deleting things around here. Deleting should more be used as a last resort IMO. Does it hurt anyone if this (and some others as well) code-only answer lies around forever? Down-voting and commenting can often be enough. It would have been enough in this particular case too. Don't over-use the delete button.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think we tend to be too aggressive deleting things around here. That. \$\endgroup\$ May 27, 2015 at 21:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just because OP deems an answer acceptable, this does not mean it actually is by CR standards! sure being good and being acceptable are two different things. But Low-quality answers shouldn't be deemed acceptable IMO. We can (and should) hold ourselves to higher standards than 'OP thought it was fine so everything is fine, even though the answer is violating basic guidelines' \$\endgroup\$
    – Vogel612
    May 27, 2015 at 23:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vogel612 Again, deleting and down-voting are two different things. What good comes out of deleting the answer? What is it that deleting this kind of answer accomplishes, that down-voting and commenting does not accomplish? \$\endgroup\$ May 28, 2015 at 13:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Vogel612 From a meta SE post: For answers, any post that is not an answer (should be a comment, doesn't answer the question, etc.) should be deleted. Answers that are wrong or that dispense poor advice should be downvoted, not deleted. - I consider this answer to be an answer, it is a bad answer but it is an answer. As such, it should be down-voted, not deleted. \$\endgroup\$ May 28, 2015 at 13:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is it. The only exception I can think of ATM, is the case where OP posts a code dump of the "final code" as an answer, which is NAA and delete-worthy. \$\endgroup\$ May 28, 2015 at 14:41

I have undeleted the answer. There is no clear "best solution" that I can see happening/emerging from this discussion.

Even the high-voted/accepted answer to this meta question is somewhat contradictory (emphasis mine):

  • Do I like code only answers? No. I don't. Do I think in general they should be removed? Yes. I do.
  • All in all though, I prefer to defer to the question's OP here.

In the past it has been routine to delete non-review answers. I believe this accepted meta-answer confirms that past practice ("in general they should be removed").

The real question becomes: should accepted non-answers be allowed?

I don't personally believe that a single user's accept should override the community policy of deleting non-answers.

Also note, that if the timing was slightly different, the delete would have happened before the accept was made, and thus the accept would be impossible, should we undelete all previously deleted not-an-answer in case they make sense to the asker? I don't think so.

So, does this answer stands as a test-case for something? Again, I am not sure. Regardless, this answer is now undeleted, and hopefully the answerer will edit, and improve it now (even though it was not improved during the 30-hour original undeleted window).

One possible lesson should be that non-answers should just be deleted quicker, not giving them a window to be improved....or accepted?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If I recall correctly, I've seen some mod-deleted answers bump the question after being edited by the answerer. As such, it may not so bad to delete code-only answers promptly if it'll help avoid this issue. Either that, or the answerer may end up posting a second answer of higher quality. We can never be sure if a new answerer will ever stick around. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jamal
    May 28, 2015 at 19:13

I'm all for pruning code-only answers from CodeReview. I've seen this horror escalate on StackOverflow and I think it's a much bigger problem for CR.

CR exists on reviews. In my opinion, a good review can have many helpful advice and no code at all. However, it can't have just code and no explanation of why something is wrong and why it should be improved.

If anything, we shouldn't empower code-only reviews. All of them would be of better quality with as much as two lines of explanation.


Prior to deleting the code-only answer, I did also leave this comment:

Please provide an explanation on this code as well. We don't accept code-only answers.

Had the answerer read that and tried to improve the answer, I would've gladly undeleted it and removed the post notice. However, I'm not sure if the answerer checked the deleted answer in time, also considering I didn't leave that comment or another one shortly after deleting the answer (doing so would've still generated a notification).

Regardless, another mod (if one agreed with undeletion) can always undelete it. Someone else can then attempt to improve it, unless only the answerer can help with that.

As an alternative, he/she can be invited to chat, if it would help improve this and future answers.


Quoting the notice directly:

Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

This notice was added by Jamal at May 16 at 14:58 (according to the post history). Jamal mentions in his answer here, that he commented, so that OP can improve their answer.

When nothing happened, the answer was deleted 30 hours later.

IMO the poster had enough time to improve their answer, and the deletion was appropriate.

It seems the poster of that answer has returned to activity only today, posting another answer to the same post, complaining about the moderator action taken.

That answer was promptly deleted by the regulars, mentioning meta as the appropriate place to post inquiries concerning moderator decisions.

That's what happened, from what I can see. What should have happened.. I don't know, I personally am not all that unhappy about the deletion of this low-quality answer, whether it be accepted or not


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