As at the time of the question I am now asking, my answer to the question In John 6:58, in what sense did Jesus' flesh “descend from the sky”? received three upvotes and one downvote. You deleted it without giving any explanation for doing so.

Is it part of your role on this site to remove questions that you personally don't find useful, even though other community users do?

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    In case you hadn't noticed, Jon Ericson is a Stack Exchange employee and responsible for community management. As such he's somebody that would be reviewing any claims of abuse from the volunteer moderator crews (like myself) and somebody above me you could appeal to if you really think I'm abusing the role. That being said you probably won't win his favor rolling back his edits.
    – Caleb
    Dec 23, 2016 at 14:25
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    @Caleb My intent is not to WIN anyone's favour, but to advertise your appalling behaviour.
    – enegue
    Dec 23, 2016 at 20:15
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    The question being discussed is -8 in votes...I don't think the community found it useful...
    – Joshua
    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:54

1 Answer 1


No, we don't delete stuff just because we don't personally find it useful. There are, however, a lot of scenarios where content is not useful to the community and we do clean it up. In this case it wasn't your post specifically but the question as a whole that was a steaming mess.

  1. The question was closed as off-topic. In this case no moderator even stepped in to make that happen, 5 community members voted on that. That's the opposite of what your post claims: that is is the community saying content along these lines isn't what we want being posted on the site.

    This has nothing to do with your answer. Even very high quality answers might not be something we want to keep around if the question topic doesn't square with the site's guidelines.

  2. Both the question and answer were attracting nonconstructive comments (even name calling and insults). Having the content lying around was just fanning a flame war. Cleaning up the whole mess puts out the fire and resets the post to the stage where they need to be worked on. In this case if anything is going to happen to the post it would need to be edited to be on topic and cleaned up, then the community would need to vote to reopen it.

    If that step isn't going to happen, nothing else should. There is no sense in letting a discussion run on about post content that has been determined to be off-topic.

  3. Leaving answers –even reasonably good answers– on controversial closed questions only serves two counter-productive outcomes.

    1. If the answer is bad, wrong, or disputed in any way people are unable to fix it properly. The best thing to do in these scenarios is post a good answer. Since this can't happen on closed questions comments end up getting abused to carry on topical discussions. The outcome is not a high signal-to-noise ratio and good answers floating to the top where they can be easily found.

    2. If the answer is good or at least passable, nobody is motivated to fix the problem. The OP will go on asking poor off topic questions because they're getting the answers they want even though their questions are getting closed. The community isn't motivated to edit or help reopen thing or re-ask in more appropriate ways.

To make a long story story short, it's often the best thing for the long term of the site if off-topic stuff in cleaned up (whether posts or comments) so that it doesn't breed more of the same.

If the content of your post is something you thing does fit the modus operenti of this site, then the thing to do would be to ask a question that is actually on-topic for which it would be an appropriate answer.

Addendum: If you're serious about making the content available you should take me up on that final suggestion sooner rather than later. The entire question post will eventually be deleted. Part of the reason I didn't do that part already is to give you time to either edit the question or post a new one. You can see your deleted post for now but when the question goes away that will be a lot harder as you can't see others deleted posts yet.

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    Your answer is totally unacceptable. You didn't even have the decency to leave a comment explaining your behaviour. While the question remains visible to the community, so should the answer, particularly since the community has found the answer useful. Your action in regard to my answer is nothing short of abuse of your role as moderator, and you should resign.
    – enegue
    Dec 23, 2016 at 12:31
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    The question should not be deleted, either. It is not a "steaming mess", and only a child would be offended by its tone. It actually is asking a question that needs to be addressed. Ignore the tone and just give an answer. Grow up.
    – enegue
    Dec 23, 2016 at 12:46
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    I didn't say I was offended by the question's tone, nor am I. If you'd like to object to my reasoning at least object to what I wrote instead of making something else up about me. The problem with the question wasn't its tone, it's that the OP asked it with a specific answer in mind and wasn't going to accept anything but that answer. These are known as Stump the Chumps posts and are a question pattern we avoid. Also, it was far more theological than it was textual.
    – Caleb
    Dec 23, 2016 at 13:42
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    As for it being a steaming mess or not, 10 down voters and 5 close voters disagree with you. Convince them, not me. My job as a moderator is to take what the community agrees on as guidelines for the site and make sure they play out that way. The extra power to delete things is to cleanup things the community has agreed aren't for here or are disruptive. As such I think the community has given a pretty strong mandate for the question to be removed (which will happen automatically at this point) if it doesn't get edited/opened.
    – Caleb
    Dec 23, 2016 at 13:45
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    As for not leaving a comment, I figured it would be apparent to anybody who'd seen the comment streams why that whole mess as was being tided up. I try to leave comments when it's not apparent why I took an action or for people who haven't been around long enough to know how things work. In the event you don't understand something, asking on meta is the right thing to do. It's not like I've never answered questions about deletion here before, I have a track record of explaining when asked.
    – Caleb
    Dec 23, 2016 at 13:52
  • Why are you still talking about the question? The question has nothing to do with deleting an answer that other users found useful, but deleting my answer has everything to do with your lack of suitability as a moderator. Your personal attitude towards me, which is not going to show up in any link you provide, has compelled you to take advantage of the status of the question. As of this comment, I don't see any of your colleagues batting for you on this, as they have in the past. It is as clear to them as it is to me, that you have acted outside your role. You should resign as a moderator.
    – enegue
    Dec 23, 2016 at 20:21
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    The fate of the answer is directly determined by the fate of the question. Until that is resolved there is little to even consider in the way of answers. Closed questions are closed to being answered. In the mean time I see you edited the question, but so far nobody at all has voted to re-open it as a suitable question, not even yourself. If you think the edit helped enough to open it, then please vote that way. If it doesn't get any traction soon, it will be deleted entirely. (And again per my addendum I rather suggest asking a separate question anyway.)
    – Caleb
    Dec 26, 2016 at 9:52
  • Thank you, Caleb. I have voted to re-open the question.
    – enegue
    Dec 26, 2016 at 9:58
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    @enegue - If you see a question that seems like it will be closed, it is best practice not to answer it - even if you have a good answer. Dec 27, 2016 at 15:47

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