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In this question about getting a child to wear a CPAP mask, I've written an answer that was deleted as not an answer. Moderator encouraged me to have this contested in meta to get the community's take on the issue.

I suppose many of you can read deleted answers, and come to your own conclusion, but for those of you who can't, my response consisted of:

  • An elaborate explanation of the reasons why what OP has tried so far hasn't worked, in general terms and with references to OP's particular situation. I believe the emphasis on this part is mainly what lead the moderator to object that I'm not answering the question. I think coming to this understanding will be immensely useful for OP on its own, but I agree that leaving it at that would not constitute an answer.
  • One paragraph about finding out the root cause of the problem. About how there may be more to the issue than the parent first assumes, and about how regardless of whether the parent's initial assumptions turn out to be accurate, it is meaningful to include the child in this work, so that the child knows that they're heard and their needs are taken into consideration.
  • One paragraph about how the solution must be a product of what is discovered in the previous step. Even if it does turn out to be only an issue about how the mask is uncomfortable (which I think is a premature assumption at this point), there is tellingly nothing in OP's question about how to make the mask less uncomfortable.

I think (well, obviously) that having access to this answer would be preferable to OP and to others in the same situation finding the question, over not having it. I am posting here to follow the moderator's direction to contest the deletion in meta.

My understanding (with reservation that I may not be the best advocate of their view) is that the deleting moderator would have liked to see me go even further in suggesting concrete actions, for the response to constitute a real answer, but I would argue that that would be to negate my main points. That's not what I or OP should be engaging in, ahead of finding out the facts.

Curious as to whether the community agrees that no response is preferable to the attempted response.

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  • We are discussing that topic, the answer in question and your flag atm within the mod-only space. Please be patient for a small time, thank you. Nevertheless the community may chime in here of course, as we are shaping the overall site policy here on Meta.
    – Stephie Mod
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 11:19
  • OK, good to hear @Stephie. I do have patience, I was just following moderator encouragement to bring it up here. But that was written, I realize, prior to my flag.
    – user36162
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 11:35
  • Just to make it clear that I did not direct you to bring this to meta, my words were, "I'd welcome seeing this contested in meta" to get community input. Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 0:57
  • @anon: if that means something else I'm still not getting it, but yes, those were your words indeed.
    – user36162
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 5:48
  • Usually people who feel strongly post meta answers. I would like to hear from someone who thought this was a suitable answer on this site. I would have posted an answer, but Joe said it all already. Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 19:33

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I don't know if I'd have deleted that as not an answer, personally, but I don't think it's a good answer, and I'd have downvoted it. I don't think it is unreasonable that it was deleted.

An answer to a question should come from one of two places:

  • Experience with a subject
  • Research on a subject

Your answer was very vague, and not remotely related to the question. Specifically:

  • It did not show any evidence that you have experience with children with Down's Syndrome or similar
  • It did not show any evidence that you have experience with CPAP machines and children
  • It did not show any evidence that you have experience with children, even.
  • It did not show any research or citations

As such, it's not a good answer.

It also has no actionable information in it, and while sometimes that might be okay, most of the time that's another indication of a poor answer. Telling someone not to do something is okay if they're asking "should I do something," but if they're asking "help me find a way to do this," then a good answer will tell them how to do this - and again, come from experience or research.

While I certainly have thoughts on what OP could do, I don't plan to answer it, because I have only peripheral experience with children with Down's syndrome or similar challenges, and none at all with the specific example at hand. Anything I suggested would be no more than a guess, and thus - not a good answer. This isn't a chat room or forum; this is Stack Exchange, and we expect good, well-researched answers, or answers from relevant experience. I'd totally post on this on r/Parenting - but on Stack Exchange, we have a higher bar for answers.

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    Thanks for your thoughts. I don't have the same view, obviously, but I don't mind being disagreed with. I wouldn't have taken such an objection to meta. I appreciate the high bar, and could've added references, sure.
    – user36162
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 16:40

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