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Comments on Unwarranted answer deletion

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Unwarranted answer deletion

+2
−1

I wrote an answer a year ago to a question about how much power some consumer device uses. My answer was basically to measure it, gave a starting explanation of how to do that, and suggested to ask on the Electrical Engineering site with the results so that they would be properly interpreted. This answer was deleted earlier today.

This was a serious answer. If I were faced with needing to know the power usage of such a device, that's exactly what I would do. I realize that takes some EE skills, which is why I described basically what to do, then explained what to ask on the EE site to understand the results and get the final user-level answer. If the OP had done what I suggested, I see no reason he wouldn't have gotten exactly the answer he was seeking. If the OP didn't understand something, he could have asked for clarification. The fact that the OP did none of these things doesn't make the answer wrong or invalid.

A year later, someone apparently found documentation where you can look up the answer. That doesn't invalidate the existing answer that describes how to determine the information for yourself. The existing answer would still work, and applies to any other device where such documentation isn't available.

I understand the desire to keep the site clean, but this answer was not noise, and would have led to the desired result if followed. The fact that the OP chose not to follow it isn't relevant. I doubt the answer would have been deleted if the OP used it to get what he asked.

This is tagged "discussion" because there are only four tags allowed, and the other three fit even less well. This is really a complaint about moderator action, but a discussion would be useful to see where everyone is at.

Added

User Canina found a link to an old archive so that everyone can see the answer without needing the curate ability, HERE.

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+2
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I removed the answer because it didn't actually address the question.

The newer answer had nothing to do with the decision to remove the earlier answer, except for the fact that it bumped the question and brought it to my attention.

When somebody asks a question, we generally expect answers to provide an explicit answer to the question asked. In this case, the answer described a method for finding an answer, but did not actually provide the end result.

While a method for finding the answer yourself is useful, it does not by itself qualify as an answer. If it came along with an answer to the question, and included a section on "here's how you can figure this out for yourself", that would be excellent; that would be a thorough, helpful, answer to the question asked. As it stood, though, "measure it yourself" did not adequately provide an answer to the question as asked.


I did, however, make a mistake in that I deleted it without leaving a comment, and I apologize for that. I shouldn't have deleted it silently and should have left a comment detailing what the issue was. Sorry about that.

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2 comment threads

Explaining how to find the answer is a valid answer. (3 comments)
The answer (1 comment)
Explaining how to find the answer is a valid answer.
Olin Lathrop‭ wrote 9 months ago

You are setting a very unusual and bad precedence. I didn't know the direct answer, and don't have one of those devices to find it myself. There is nothing wrong with explaining the process to find an answer. Such answers have never been considered invalid before. It could have been useful to the OP if he had followed the steps. It could still be useful to someone else in a similar circumstance. It certainly doesn't deserve deletion.

Mithical‭ wrote 9 months ago

In this specific case, the OP requested a specific data point. The answer given explained how that data point could be obtained, involving a specialized piece of equipment that most people are unlikely to have. While that would be very useful in explaining how somebody got the data point requested, without the end result it's not especially useful for anyone visiting the question looking for the answer. It might serve better as a comment. I can't speak to precedence, because I'm not aware of similar answers - deleted or not - but I do not believe that the answer in this particular case meets the standard of proving a solution to the question asked, unfortunately.

Olin Lathrop‭ wrote 9 months ago · edited 9 months ago

Small handheld meters are quite common, and are hardly specialized pieces of equipment. They are available at any hardware store or home improvement store. Lots of people have them as part of their overall toolkit. Anyone doing home auto mechanics, or general home "handy" stuff is likely to have one. I don't know whether the OP has one, but the chances were high enough to make it worth mentioning. I would have been happy to work with him if he had more questions. It's hard to know what level of detail someone knows about a subject. I didn't want to go into long descriptions that weren't necessary. Those would have been added as necessary if the OP had asked for clarification.

It seems the problem is that you didn't know it, so assumed most others wouldn't either.

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