I recently posted an answer to this question, then when I received advice in a comment that my answer really didn't answer the question, I reread the question and then attempted to post a comment that I would edit soon.

The comment I tried to write, in which time my answer was deleted:

I took the question as in the title. "How do I convince my parents.. [that my worse path is better]" (Which is: he won't) - but I've reread the questions at the end of the body and see they are more about "how to talk to my parents", so I'll edit shortly.

I understand, that the answer could be considered "not an answer" once I reread the questions in the body, but I wish more time had been given for me to edit, let alone write a comment. The way it was closed, it seems like no part of it was useful, when really the spirit of it was as an expansion of the top voted answer - which also seems to take the same "you won't be able to convince your parents until you do it" approach - and isn't about how to talk with them.

In any case, the time I've already spent on it just to have it closed before I could edit makes me question whether the edit is even worth it - so I'll probably just forget about it.

Is there a recommended delay for taking actions on a post after advising for improvements? Or this is a bad idea for maintenance reasons? (prevents encouraging other, similar posts and needing to come back to check)

4 Answers 4


As a general rule, I would recommend giving someone time to edit. My usual rule of thumb would be something like a day for a site like this. I don't feel it is particularly fair to not give someone an opportunity to fix their mistake.

That being said, I can also see the other side of the coin here. Your answer didn't really address the question and wasn't useful. And in order to fix it, it would require substantial editing which would very nearly destroy everything from the original. Since people had voted on it, pulling a switcheroo like that doesn't sit well either.

One of the things that we should look for when deciding to delete something is if it can be salvaged thru editing. And your post couldn't really be salvaged without a total rewrite.

If you still want to provide an answer to the question (now that you know what question to answer), you can still add another answer. There is nothing stopping you from posting a second answer.


I'll begin by noting that deletion is not permanent. Answers can be undeleted (flag as "other" to attract attention, if necessary). With that in mind, a delay in deleting is more a courtesy than necessity.

That courtesy is important, though, and I respect the time invested in an answer even if that answer could use revision. However, sometimes other issues override a considerate waiting period, and that can make it sort of hard to quantify. We therefore don't really have a policy.

Generally, about a day feels like a good balance between "proposing improvement" and "maintaining overall answer quality". If I see that a user has been back on-site earlier (either through other Q/A activity or the Last Seen stat on their profile) and not paid attention, then I won't necessarily wait out the clock. (Comments on an answer ping the user, even without the standard @username.)

Some of the things that bear on deletion urgency are below. Only the first really applies to this specific case, but I wanted to mention some other reasons as well:

  • How much attention is the question/answer attracting?* If the answer is "lots", then deleting comes faster.

  • How bad is the answer? Does it need supporting sources, adjustment in tone, revision to improve focus (all relatively minor) or is it not nice or not even attempting to answer (more serious)?

  • How new is the user? (Are they simply unaware of How To Answer or how SE works? Are they new to Parenting, in which case Don't Argue With The Premise may come as a surprise? Usually these cases get longer delays.)

  • Have there been similarly problematic answers from them in the past? (Unusual situation -- but if prior experience indicates a poor answer won't be revised, deletion comes faster.)

  • Has it been flagged or commented on? (Often I'll comment and wait to take further action, unless there are flags or deletion votes -- that speeds up deletion.)

* We have been very aggressive about moderating answers on that Question over the course of the last couple of days. Don't Argue With The Premise is a pretty strongly held concept on Parenting, and the premise of "I am OK with failure" is really quite difficult for a parent to not argue with, so LOTS of parents have been contributing good advice... but good advice isn't necessarily a good Answer in this case (ref. Isn't "You're Wrong" an "answer"?). I mention this because you're not the only user who experienced a faster than usual deletion of answer in that thread.


I think there are two unconnected things here:

If your question is put on hold you can still edit it. In fact in circumstances like this, that is exactly what you should do.

If those edits improve the question enough it can then be reopened, by the community or moderators.

If your answer is on a question that is closed, then your answer post is almost irrelevant to whether the question gets closed. It's the question that needs improving here. If it is edited accordingly, it can be reopened, and then you can update your answer.

So your question about how long to wait is not really relevant here. There is no time limit and its about the question, not your answer.

  • ah sorry, clarification: from "the post was locked" to "my answer was deleted" Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 21:00
  • Thanks - that changes things :-) I tend to give a day or two for salvageable posts, but Becuzz is right- if you have had loads of downvotes, best plan may be to write a new post.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 21:03
  • @DoubleDouble - do you mean "protected"? Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 0:33

First, Hot Network Questions are moderated more closely than the average question. Because so many new users come by, a wrong impression of the site can be quickly gained from leaving argumentative or dismissive comments, answers that don't follow site guidelines, etc. on the page.

Secondly, you did have time to edit; @Erica left a comment three hours earlier that yours was not an answer, which I thought was sufficient time.

In this case, however, it doesn't really matter how much time you had to edit; none of your answer - which I did attempt to edit into an answer, as I did with the others (including the highest voted answer) - actually answered the OP; given that you had already been advised, at that point, I deleted it.

Therefore, a totally new answer (not an edit) is appropriate course of action.

I do understand, though, that it's frustrating to have an answer deleted. However, there isn't a good reason to wait to remove unsuitable answers, especially as there is already a warning (if not two at the time of your answer) in comments to stay on topic. They just set a bad example for others.

If your edited answer was going to be

an expansion of the top voted answer - which also seems to take the same "you won't be able to convince your parents until you do it" approach - and isn't about how to talk with them.

then I wonder if your new answer would have been on topic, or whether it would really offer new advice. I don't know that.

  • 1
    Not sure I agree that three hours is 'sufficient time'. Most of our users probably aren't on the site more than once or twice a day - so three hours is three minutes in a lot of cases.
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 18:23
  • In this case, I don't think any time is necessary, as I said above. HNQs, though they bring traffic, are very, very disruptive. But I respect your opinion. I just don't agree in the case of an HNQ. With a non-HNQ, I would wait much, much longer, or simply comment/possibly downvote/possibly edit. Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 18:51

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