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This question started off not so great:

https://music.stackexchange.com/questions/52264/what-do-you-need-to-know-about-buying-a-guitar

Still, it seemed to be meant well and attempted to present lots of information. It was asked by a new user who might be forgiven for not having the feel for SE right away. A few people commented and the asker took the comments to heart and edited the question, and turned the information into an answer.

It looks like a success. Perhaps it was a bit broad and could have attracted VTC on that basis, but instead it was just deleted. What do I not understand about this situation that explains the deletion? I'm pretty surprised by that and I've seen a fair bit of the usual activities around here.

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  • Are we saying this was a mod, rather than user, deletion? If so perhaps it would be good if the question could be undeleted and placed on hold so that we can discuss it properly here. – topo Reinstate Monica Jan 16 '17 at 23:52
  • @topomorto Yes, the user themselves did not delete it. There is a rep where one can see deleted questions and I'm not sure what it is. – Todd Wilcox Jan 17 '17 at 3:24
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    It's 10k and while I don't agree with the out right deletion, there are still issues with the question and undeleting will not fix them. It's too broad, too opinion based, and still is more like a blog post rather than an actual post here. The OP can still fix it and flag it to be undeleted, but it may be better to find similar question to answer first like this one to get a feel for how the site works before trying to construct his own self answered question. – Dom Jan 17 '17 at 3:49
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    @Dom I agree. I think there's a fine line between mods picking up the slack on review queues and mods bypassing the normal review and VTC processes. On the one hand, mod apathy would surely make things messy before too long. On the other hand, sometimes things move too fast and the new users feel shut down right away without any comment dialog or slow accrual of VTCs. The only time all haste is needed imho is when something is patently offensive, spam, or completely wrong. – Todd Wilcox Jan 17 '17 at 4:25
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    Todd - or when it is only going to attract activity that will then have to be deleted, or will be pure argument, or a few other topics. – Doktor Mayhem Jan 20 '17 at 17:44
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In general once a site has reached large enough size, most posts get voted to close by the community, or flagged by the community for closure or deletion. And on Music.SE this works really well for almost all posts. And I agree with Todd on this - this is what we as mods want, as it saves us effort, and allows us to focus on the more complicated things we need to do. I also agree that this is the place to raise discussion about it.

But there are certain actions which mods absolutely have the power, and the right to do summarily, is to delete posts which are offensive, spam and a few other reasons.

For spam and offensive posts we delete, and even remove accounts as quickly as we can see them.

With off topic questions we generally can leave them up to the community, or what I try and do is wait until 4 votes to close have been passed, so I can act as one vote, rather than as a unilateral close.

But an exception is with questions that are not a good fit here, but that will attract a lot of activity. For these we also are likely to delete rather than put on hold, as we don't want people to have to put in effort answering a post that will be deleted. It's just not good for anyone. It is not one that could simply be edited to make it work -

Now - this specific post mentioned is explicitly off topic for this site. There is no doubt about that. Yes, the writer obviously put a fair amount of effort into writing it and the answer, and in terms of detail, I like what he's done. I would read it if it was on a blog.

But it is suitable for a blog. Not here.

Unfortunately the structure of it also means it is not something you could ust edit to make it fit, without deleting the answer anyway.

I'd second @Todd's comment to Marko about reading the FAQ to see how the site works. It looks like that is where the issue lies. And I absolutely approve of him raising the question here in meta to get community input.

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    "...likely to delete rather than put on hold, as we don't want people to have to put in effort answering a post that will be deleted" - not sure I quite understand there - people can't answer on-hold questions either, so how would they waste time answering them? – topo Reinstate Monica Jan 20 '17 at 22:18
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    I should probably replace that with avoiding google hits... – Doktor Mayhem Jan 20 '17 at 22:20
  • Good point. And of course if it's the case that the posts are really unrescuable, it saves people from the effort of trying to rescue them. Of course as I'm not one of the hallowed 10K club I can't take an opinion :) – topo Reinstate Monica Jan 20 '17 at 22:34
  • This is a great explanation for why delete instead of VTC. And it helps answer the question of whether haste is warranted when the content is not blatantly offensive or spam. And this situation is definitely a rare one. As we can see, an unfortunate consequence of deletion in this particular case is that it caused a new user to feel like their content is totally unwelcome here without an explanation that was clear to them, so they concluded that they were victims of a cliquish culture. Long time users know that's not the case, but new users might warrant more gentle treatment. – Todd Wilcox Jan 21 '17 at 4:39
  • As far as I've seen in my time on Music.SE this is an unusual case. In retrospect, maybe it would have been better to have some comments explicitly explaining to the new user why their content was about to be (or had been) deleted. Or perhaps having this meta discussion with the new user hopefully reading is the best way to explain that the deletion wasn't personal or capricious. It does seem to be a challenge for several stacks to keep things well moderated without also alienating some well intentioned new users from time to time. – Todd Wilcox Jan 21 '17 at 4:43
  • @topomorto I'm just one member of the community, so I'm not sure what my opinion counts for, but from that very standpoint I'd say your thoughts are just as valuable as mine, as you are just as much a member of the community. If you have the rep to comment, then your comments are not only welcome, they are necessary for this to be a community run site. I would object to rep-based "powers" if I could think of a better way for a democratic site to be run. Stack Exchange: It's the worst community moderation system, except for all the other systems. – Todd Wilcox Jan 21 '17 at 4:49
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    @ToddWilcox I just meant I can't see the deleted question yet as I'm not at 10K :) so I can't say much about this post in particular. I was just hopong somone would run round and upvote 50 of my posts... You're right about "worst except for the others" - though I'm sure mods wouldn't mind an "other" system where they got paid! – topo Reinstate Monica Jan 21 '17 at 10:12
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Todd Wilcox -

Thanks for sticking-up for a fair process. Your assumption that - in providing answers to several questions I'd seen nothing in the archives generally addressing the purchase question - is spot-on.

I also appreciate the advice given by you and others. I certainly DID take it to heart and did a Jeopardy! number on my post. But the limited communications functionality for new guys - coupled with the moderator instant-delete - is really discouraging.

You appear to have the magic powers to see my other answers: you are welcome to evaluate whether my contributions have been/could be worthwhile...

But my point is that you folks run an inward-looking game. I don't see a reason to be a part of it, nor to recommend it as a resource to my students and fellow musicians.

Actually, I'm likely to tell folks to avoid it.

Because you've been actively helpful, I'll postpone my account-delete to give your rather scattered community opportunity to reply. But don't count on finding me in February, however....

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    Personally, I object to the mod delete. One of the things that should make Stack Exchange better is that it is community run. What's supposed to happen is a quorum of at least five users with a high enough rep would agree that a question like yours is not in line with the rules of the site. If at least five agree, then the question is put on hold. At that point the asker of the question can edit it based on comments left by those who voted to put the question on hold. If the question is fixed, then a quorum can agree to reopen the question. – Todd Wilcox Jan 19 '17 at 23:08
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    The mod delete bypasses that whole process and is a bit dictatorial, imho. Note that one value of Stack Exchange is that the moderation process helps maintain quality content by removing content that is not up to the minimum standards. Those standards are published in the help center so anyone can understand them. They are also open to discussion right here on the meta Stack. The upside and downside is that the content is high quality, and also content that we all post might be voted for removal if the community doesn't deem it up to snuff. No one is outside the will of the community. – Todd Wilcox Jan 19 '17 at 23:13
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    Which reinforces my objection to unilateral moderator actions when they aren't absolutely necessary. That cuts out the community involvement and breaks the chain of accountability and involvement. Mods have these powers for good reasons, so we just have to work to make sure that everyone is voting and acting as wisely as possible. The meta is the place to negotiate those boundaries. – Todd Wilcox Jan 19 '17 at 23:15
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    My ultimate suggestion to you is that you spend some time reading here without posting anything to get a feel for how it works. Your question could be undeleted but the truth is, it's not the kind of thing this site is about. It's not for any one person, including you or any mods, to decide what should be here. It's the community that does that. You can participate in the community as long as you are ok with the situations where you disagree with how the community runs things. Give it enough time and participation, and you'll find yourself voting to close other people's questions. – Todd Wilcox Jan 19 '17 at 23:18
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    There is a TON of good information and good people here. Sometimes we make mistakes. Maybe this is a case of that, on both your part and the part of the mod. Maybe not. In any case, to learn what we are about, you'll want to read and comment and vote a lot more than you ask or answer, at least at first. – Todd Wilcox Jan 19 '17 at 23:20
  • One final note: while I object to the outright deletion in this case, it's also true that I don't see your question and answer as fitting this site well enough to vote to undelete it. I and others have that ability and we aren't using it. It's not that what you wrote is bad or wrong. It's just not the way we want the questions and answers to be here. Mainly, we want more focus: questions that are specific and narrow and answers that address the questions directly and completely. – Todd Wilcox Jan 19 '17 at 23:24
  • Todd, I did a bunch of reading before any activity. An example I used for the "buy" question/answer is the well-received "wall of text" by @Basstickler at music.stackexchange.com/questions/30210/…. Help me understand why - aside from writing style - his answer is good and mine is not. This has nothing to do with the deletion process - it is about community standards... – user36052 Jan 20 '17 at 17:52

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