Why was my answer to this question deleted by a moderator?

For non-moderator do you think this should have been deleted?

It is a direct answer to the stated question.

I use finely chopped cilantro in spaghetti sauce and include the soft part (like 1/2) of the stem.

You might use the stem as a substitute for chives. Like as a topping on a baked potato.


The stated question was off topic, so I went ahead and deleted the answers (not just yours) to that version and left alone the ones that might plausibly be valid if merged into the duplicate or if the question were edited and reopened. I don't always do this kind of cleanup, but in this case both of those were plausible next steps, and this is the kind of question that I've seen attract lots of answers like that, including in comments after closure. I wanted to try to avoid it becoming a mess, and have it in a good state in case of those next steps.

It's not like these are serious rule violations or anything, but generally if you find yourself answering an off topic question you might want to think twice. We don't really want to encourage people to ask them and hope to get a few answers before it's closed, and depending on voting, the whole question may end up automatically deleted anyway. (It won't in this case, because it's closed as a duplicate.)

So in the future you might consider voting to close instead of posting that answer, or if for whatever reason you don't want to cast that vote, just moving along. This practice is supported by:

  • Should I answer off-topic questions? on network-wide meta (answer: no)
  • The close vote privilege help: "Closing is a democratic voting process where the community identifies questions that duplicate existing content, are unreasonable to answer in their current state, or do not belong on the site." If the question is a duplicate, answers belong on the original; if the question is unreasonable to answer it shouldn't be answered, and if the question doesn't belong on the site neither do the answers.

We don't generally strictly enforce this, but it is certainly better for the site if things are closed before they attract answers. And in this case, as noted above, I thought the question might get reopened, or answers might get merged, and in either case we wouldn't want the answers to the off-topic version of the question.

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    Makes no sense to me. I answered before it was closed so at that time it was considered on topic. – paparazzo Feb 8 '18 at 14:59
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    No, off topic questions are off topic before and after closure - that's why we close them. And in this case it was pretty obvious: at the time you posted your answer it had four close votes and a comment explaining why it was off topic. – Cascabel Feb 8 '18 at 15:02
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    Not buying. You can only answer if the question is not closed. I will hold with a question is considered on topic until closed. – paparazzo Feb 8 '18 at 15:05
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    Yes, it's true that the system will let you answer. That doesn't mean it's a good idea. The system will let you do all kinds of things that are bad ideas, which moderators and higher rep users have to deal with. For example, it'll let people post off topic questions, and it'll let people post answers to them, so in order to enforce the scope of the site (which was decided by users like us) users with the close vote privilege have to vote to close, ideally relatively quickly. – Cascabel Feb 8 '18 at 15:09
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    Don't change the topic. My question is not if the closing the question was correct. I posted a valid answer to an open question. I don't think the answer should have been deleted. – paparazzo Feb 8 '18 at 15:18
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    You said this makes no sense because it was "considered on topic" when you posted it. I'm explaining why that's not true. The fact that a question is open doesn't make answering it the right choice. – Cascabel Feb 8 '18 at 15:21
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    Can we not play semantics? Fact: the system let me post a valid answer to an open question. If you don't think that was a good choice is not proper or sufficient basis to delete the answer in my opinion. – paparazzo Feb 8 '18 at 15:27
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    That's exactly my point: the fact that the system let you do it is irrelevant. If the system only let us do everything perfectly right, we wouldn't need moderators or review queues or close votes. My answer already explains why, in this case, I decided it was better for the question in the long run not to have these answers on it, and while it is true that folks should've known it was off topic and voted to close instead of answering, that's not the only reason I deleted some answers. – Cascabel Feb 8 '18 at 15:37
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    I get you had your reason(s). I contend your reason(s) were not valid in this situation. I posted a valid answer to an open question. Moderators are supposed to enforce rules and I contend I broke no rule. – paparazzo Feb 8 '18 at 15:43
  • The rules here are not serious formal rules (as noted in the answer) but mods handle some fuzzy things too. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/133552/… for the most basic take on answering off topic questions. – Cascabel Feb 8 '18 at 15:52
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    We are just going to need to disagree. Yes this is fuzzy to me. Two answers still stand. – paparazzo Feb 8 '18 at 16:24
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    My case is pretty basic. I provided a valid answer to an open question. I did not VTC. You don't feel like that makes a case - I will live with that. – paparazzo Feb 8 '18 at 16:38
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    I give up. I don't agree with your reasons. Moving on. – paparazzo Feb 8 '18 at 17:02
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    It is off topic for "too broad"? I can't keep up. Good day. – paparazzo Feb 8 '18 at 17:16
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    I know what "too broad" is. Seems kind of late to make that the reason. I don't want to say this is a way to violate the be nice policy but I am done debating this with you. – paparazzo Feb 8 '18 at 17:30

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