Far too often, I see answers that are one-liners, wholly unsupported throwaways and downright terrible answers to questions of an OP.

These questions fall far short of our community's "Show your work" guidelines. In fact, reviewers often have to point new users to this meta post or this meta post outlining the "show your work" rule.

In the past, one of the valid methods of dealing with this discussed was to delete the post, yet in the reasons for deleting a post, there is no option for "Does not meet community scholastic standards." Instead, select "No comment needed," when a comment is in fact needed, but there is no suitable option for deletion.

We do, of course, have the option to add yellow box messages (Or at least some do; I do not), and these are automatically added in some cases when an answer is deleted.

Furthermore, because there is no option to delete scholastically anemic and unsupported answers, many are simply not deleted. For newer reviewers, it tends to imply that crummy answers shouldn't be deleted as long as they do technically, in fact, answer the question no matter how awful an answer they are.

I would suggest that we add a reason for deletion if possible and attach an automatic banner message noting and linking to our show your work requirements. This will also help to better codify site requirements. Something along the lines of

This answer does not show its work which is a requirement on this site and it does not meet our community's academic standards. You may improve this answer by editing it which will place it into the review queue. If the answer is revised to meet the community guidelines and standards, it will be reinstated after review.

Is something like this possible? Does anyone have suggestions for a better message?

  • 3
    Re. and these [yellow boxes = post notices] are automatically added in some cases when an answer is deleted -- to my knowledge, these are always added manually by a diamond mod.
    – Susan
    Dec 10, 2016 at 8:21

2 Answers 2


OP: Far too often, I see answers that are one-liners, wholly unsupported throwaways and downright terrible answers to questions of an OP.

Since this is tagged , I'll add in another related matter, prompted by this observation.

My practice -- at least since being chastened in a previous Meta.Hermeneutics Q&A -- has been to (a) comment (from boilerplates I have saved on Google Keep); (b) DV; (c) reload (to get delete link); (d) register VtD; and finally (e) flag for ♦Mod action.

(A record of "yellow-box" options available to ♦Mods has kindly been provided -- thanks @Susan♦.)

Since doing this, I've noticed that the site has a lot of dross in it (on it?). I suppose there are historical reasons for this. But there are plenty of posts to which I apply the steps noted above when I come across them as new posts, only to find copious amounts of older posts which are equally bad, if not worse, but which languish undeleted, unhelpful, and unnecessary.

This query on the SE Data Explorer finds all BH.SE posts that have a score of 0 or less, and are less than 300 characters.a At this moment, the query gets 102 hits. The vast majority of them I would happily delete. In fact, a case could be made that the vast majority of them ought to be deleted.

Would such a retrospective cull be possible? I think it would; most of these answers add no value, but rather detract from the quality of BH.SE.

a The 300 figure I chose fairly arbitrarily; you can fork the query and see what lurks in longer "short" posts if you're curious.

  • P.s. If this "answer" ought to be a new question, I'll happily do the necessary.
    – Dɑvïd
    Dec 11, 2016 at 17:28
  • 1
    Yellow box options.
    – Susan
    Dec 17, 2016 at 1:12
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    Yes there is nothing wrong with retrospectively culling posts. In fact it's often easier than for new ones because the OP has been given (should have been given?) feedback as to what we were expecting and clearly done nothing about it. Old posts that are not up to snuff are as much candidates for deletion as new ones. On a side note, fdb might be the only person to actually answer a question on this site in 300 characters or less, and even some of his early ones were marginal. Otherwise, the odds of those being dross is pretty high and they tend to attract more of like kind.
    – Caleb
    Dec 17, 2016 at 13:36

I understand where you're coming from. This is a highly repetitive task for mods on this site. That being said this would require significant changes to the core SE engine that just aren't relevant to other sites and not likely to happen.

I would suggest that we add a closure reason if possible and attach an automatic banner

First, you seem to be conflating closure (something that can only happen to questions) and deletion (a deferent step that can happen to questions or answers).

Second, banners are a manual thing and not available for every-day moderates (all users!) and thus not very useful in general.

What can you do? Post exactly that as a comment, then if if you have VtD powers cast a VtD, then flag as NAA. NAA for the purposes of this site pretty much means "does not show its work" (although it occasionally means "user thinks they are on a soap box" or "user things this is a discussion forum").

Flagging by itself works too, but that just leaves the mod to have to make the comment and also complicates the timing. Making that comment when you flag gives the user half a chance to fix it before the mod sees the flag and we can make a better decision at that point than we could if the user has not previously been given any feedback.

  • Yes, I did mean reason for deletion, not reason for closure. I edited the OP to fix. While it would be nice to be able to add post notices automagically, even merely adding an explicit reason for deletion would be helpful. It clarifies that that IS a valid reason for deletion and formally enshrines that more fully as a site requirement. As it stands, that is not pointed out in the site tour and not a reason for flagging. The burden of educating new users is entirely placed on the mods - which by nature of humanity is always going to see mixed results. Dec 10, 2016 at 17:36

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