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I was flabbergasted to see that a mod undeleted his answer which was deleted by another mod as poor quality due to the answer being a link only answer. IMHO, this answer is nothing better than the other answer to the same question which was deleted. That specific mod's reply in comments is as follow

I didn't see a coherent way to summarize the post without essentially copying it over here at the time. It might not be perfect answer, but it's what worked under circumstances

We delete answers which have links to official documentation (like the codex) only. What makes that answer better which completely does not even link to official sources. Are some link only answers excepted, or is link only answers only allowed if you are a mod

This again just prove my point I made a while ago that this site belongs to some mods, they break the rules as they wish, we as normal community have to abide to the rules of the site. Why do we still spend and waste our time in trying to uphold our site when certain mods just do what they want.

Link to the post and revision in question

  • I don't agree with the tone, but I agree that there is some fundamental problem about what is the goal of moderation on the site. It seems like all 3 active super moderators have somewhat different idea about it (which also reflects in the answers here AFAICT) . My personal answer is to stop caring and stop moderating, with the SE mechanics two people can not moderate the site by themselves so it is just a wasted effort, and I really not that big ass-hole to enjoy close voting and down voting – Mark Kaplun Jul 21 '16 at 3:18
  • Thanks for your input @MarkKaplun Ya, sorry about the tone. ;-) – Pieter Goosen Jul 21 '16 at 5:39
3

We delete answers which have links to official documentation (like the codex) only.

We might delete such answers. To quote the rules (emphasis mine):

Answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed.

...

  • barely more than a link to an external site

The answer in specific case was indeed link-only type. However it:

  • was upvoted as the time;
  • was commented on as looking possibly helpful by asker;
  • more than five years old.

In my opinion (which we discussed with other mod involved before undeletion) there is no upside whatsoever to remove valid (if poor quality) content from the side. Doing it on old thread is even more harmful, since it is less likely to receive new answers.

Overall — in what way exactly deleting five year old answer would contribute to knowledge collection function of the stack?

This again just prove my point I made a while ago that this site belongs to some mods, they break the rules as they wish, we as normal community have to abide to the rules of the site.

I don't see which rule was broken here. Again, there is no rule that mandates deletion of link-only answers. This was not a community decision, it was deleted by binding mod action, which (in my practice) are quite common to be discussed and reverted.

Why do we still spend and waste our time in trying to uphold our site when certain mods just do what they want.

I will inquire with SE administration to take a look at the situation.


Update

After extensive feedback on answer and situation:

  1. Contrary to my opinion at the time, the answer is delete–worthy.
  2. It was wrong of me to perform undelete on my own answer myself, regardless of circumstances. I apologize for that and it won’t happen again.

I have re–deleted the answer.

  • Again, there is no rule that mandates deletion of link-only answers Ya right. Please explain why your answer, link only, got undeleted while the other answer, which is also link only is still deleted. – Pieter Goosen Jul 20 '16 at 19:02
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    @PieterGoosen You've been informed that this decision was not taken by a single moderator, but was discussed. If you dispute the decision, you're welcome to a constructive discussion about it, but I would advise you to calm down and stop slinging mud. – ArtOfCode Jul 20 '16 at 19:04
  • @PieterGoosen as I said in my comment I didn't pay attention that the second deleted answer was deleted at the same time. It's a sizeable thread. – Rarst Jul 20 '16 at 19:05
  • @ArtOfCode then it would be great if that person/persons would join this discussion. – Pieter Goosen Jul 20 '16 at 19:07
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    @Rarst You could have checked that answer between the time I raised this uptil now – Pieter Goosen Jul 20 '16 at 19:08
  • @PieterGoosen it doesn't seem like a good idea to me to go and do more of a thing that I am accused of doing wrong. – Rarst Jul 20 '16 at 19:16
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    The language in the rules says “may” because it doesn't define clear-cut rules. But there is a policy that answer posts must answer the question at least partially. The case of answers that are essentially about material from an external resource has a paragraph in the answer guidelines. Saying “there's an answer on some other site” does not actually answer the question. This post is a clear-cut case of not being an answer, not even a partial answer. – Gilles Jul 20 '16 at 19:23
  • I rest my case. Thanks @Gilles That is my whole point of this discussion, even if I'm being dubbed as a mud slinger. I do feel that there has to be consistency – Pieter Goosen Jul 20 '16 at 19:30
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    @PieterGoosen While I agree with you that this answer should not have been undeleted, I do not agree with the way you raised this issue. You were far more confrontational than the situation warranted and your question reads more like an attack with a pretext than a genuine desire to improve the site. I recommend stating facts objectively and not adding generalizations without justification. – Gilles Jul 20 '16 at 19:37
  • @Gilles Thanks for your input, and sorry for the tone the discussion was written in. My question is at this stage is a true reflection of what I feel towards how this site is being moderated and the abuse of power by the moderators. This is definitely not the first time that I have raised this issue with site mods. Anyways, I'm done with trying to help the site. I feel no urge anymore to be constructively involved in how the site should be moderated or not and its daily workings. It is quite clear from this that we have 3 mods that can't agree on something simple as this – Pieter Goosen Jul 21 '16 at 5:46
2

IMHO, this answer is nothing better than the other answer to the same question which was deleted.

The other answer was just plain spam. Something that we have every day on endless posts. We delete such answers and if the user has a history of more such spam posts we either nuke the account (if the spam is machine made) or contact that user. Putting both answers on the same level is wrong.

I was flabbergasted to see that a mod undeleted his answer which was deleted by another mod as poor quality due to the answer being a link only answer.

This is only half of the story. You seem to be painting a very one-sided picture here. Here is the full log.

The thing is: We moderators treat each others answers like normal user answers. We discuss things like this in public to stay transparent. Something that we could easily avoid on multiple channels. But that is something that we do not and will not ever do. And we do so to avoid drawing the picture that you are trying to draw here.

About a moderator undeleting his own answer: I offered to undelete it as I agreed on the arguments Rarst brought up. Andrey simply did it himself, something that I am not unhappy with as I would have had to search it up again. As simple as that.

About old questions not fitting the rules: The answer is 5 years old. Our (current) rules are not. When you start looking through answers from that time, you will find plenty of answers being of the same quality and being link only.

Now to answer the obvious follow up question when you read the logs to the end: Why was there no effort/ edit to make the answer better?. This is the part that you can not know: I am ill and laying in bed and @Rarst had personal reasons to drop off right after the discussion you read. We discussed this in private as it is not something that is needed to be known for the general public. Our decision was to continue another day. At the end, we are just humans.

How to fix the situation?

There are multiple ways to "fix" this situation:

  1. Bring up a meta question if the community should put effort in bringing all old answers in line with our current rules. Keep in mind that this means deleting lots of answers and closing lots of questions that drive a lot of users to our site.
  2. Go and edit the answer. The needed links are in the chat log provided above. Bring it in line with the current rules. That is the normal behavior we all have when we find questions that might still be a good fit.
  • Go and edit the answer What is the use if the mod in question don't even want to put in the effort to bring his own answer up to minimum standard. I agree with your point, but then everyone should help – Pieter Goosen Jul 21 '16 at 5:49
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    @PieterGoosen Please read the paragraph before the last headline again: He went off for personal reasons. I will not tell you what those are and it should be enough for you to know that he had more pressing and important stuff on his mind than this edit at this moment. – kaiser Jul 21 '16 at 9:03
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Link-only answers are sometimes answers, just not good ones. The reason is not that the link isn't helpful—sometime it is—but that all links will die eventually.

So the Not an answer flag isn't always correct, low quality fits sometimes better.

Helpful link-only answers can be converted to a comment by a moderator. That's what I do quite often. So the helpful link stays, but these answers are not encouraged anymore.

What I don't do, and no one else should do: generalizing from a single case to the most aggressive assumption about some "hidden" privilege. That doesn't help anyone.

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    generalizing from a single case. toscho, you know this is not the first time that I have raised issues where I felt that you mods have abused your powers, everytime I raise something, the real issue is avoided, and each time I decided to just drop the issue as I felt I'm farting against the wind. It is an insult to state that I'm generalizing from a single case. C'mon, you should know better. I do agree and respect you for the fact that you do delete your own answers and converting them into comments, that I have witnessed in the past – Pieter Goosen Jul 21 '16 at 5:54
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I'm closing this discussions with a few of my own words.

First, I apologise for the tone this was written in. I was reaslly p!$$ed of last night about the situation as I had some of my answers deleted when I started on this site for the same reason the answer in question was deleted, and only to see that the specific mod went an undeleted his because there was nothing wrong with his answer. That really added spark to the fuel. I would feel that this would also p!$$ other people off. Anyways, yes, I was wrong to start the discussion in the tone I did and therefor I apologise to the community.

This is definitely not the first time I have being involved in altercations with the mods on their abuse of power, but it will be the last. There is definitely something really wrong with moderation on this site. First of all, we are sitting with half of the moderators that does not want to get involved with the site for some unknown reasons. They are 99.9% of the time inactive and IMHO, totally useless to the well being of the site. The reason we chose and appoint mods is to help the community to handle issues which the community can't handle due to our limited priviledges.

So this leaves us with the other 3 mods which can't decide how to moderate the site as a unit. It is quite evident from this discussion that they can't even agree on an issue like this. It took a network admin to step in and tell us that the answer in question in not a valid answer. This again goes back to the many discussions in the past on what we should consider to be on and off topic.

Anyways, this is just my personal feeling, this community should elect new mods which will be able to moderate the site as a unit which would be beneficial to the well being of the site. They do not have to agree with the community, but they need to be consistent, and atleast agree with each other on basic moderation of the site, and actually also be involved in moderation.

I'm honest when I say that I do not want anything to do with this, or the process, neither am I further interested in any type of moderation work. You can see that this site is not healthy, just look how many high rep users are still active in moderating the site, almost none. There is no use in trying to moderate a site where you have mods that can't even agree on how things should be moderated. I do feel for the guys who are still trying their best to make this an awesome site, guys like Gabriel, Tim Malone and cjbj.

It is best to stop caring and stop trying to moderate this site. It is really of no use to me anymore. Let the moderators moderate their site to their own liking, I'm done, and if the network admins or mods sees it fit to do this, you can block my account, lock it and throw away the keys.

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