A user posted an answer to a HNQ question which was quickly heavily downvoted. When it hit -7, the user deleted their answer then reposted it, resetting their downvotes, with only minimal changes. A moderator expressed that doing this is OK to counter "runaway downvotes". While I can understand doing this if the answer is completely reworked, the core of the answer was unchanged. In fact, it's almost word-for-word identical. Is this really acceptable in this situation? I strongly believe it is not.

Three sentences were changed. This should be done in an edit, in my opinion.

The relevant answers are here (self-deleted, requires 10k rep to view) at -7 and here, currently at -4.

  • The changes switch the answer from "TLS is inherently weak" to "TLS can be weak in certain circumstances"
    – schroeder Mod
    May 25, 2019 at 9:19
  • @schroeder I've removed the quoted changes. Is the question acceptable now?
    – forest
    May 25, 2019 at 9:22
  • It would be helpful to post a screen-shot of the original
    – Richard
    May 28, 2019 at 20:48
  • @Richard Good idea: i.stack.imgur.com/Fnvnd.png
    – forest
    Jun 3, 2019 at 6:25

1 Answer 1


The issue you have reduced it to is:

  • minimal changes
  • the core was unchanged
  • almost word-for-word identical

And then you asked if a deletion and repost is acceptable. I would separate those two things logically because you are co-mingling the issues. The question you should be asking is "when could it be acceptable?"

Frankly, I do not believe that your characterisation of the changes is accurate. The changes, perhaps, do not make the answer significantly more accurate, but I believe there was a significant shift in the poster's answer and approach in addition to a major change to the technical accuracy of some facts. Sometimes big shifts happen in few words.

As I stated, I believe that if a portion of an answer caused a disproportionate downvote reaction then an edit will not recover the runaway votes. A small part becomes a distraction from the whole. I believe that in this particular case, the whole needed to be evaluated on its own; whether the whole was correct or not.

Trying to "sneak in" a copied answer to flush the downvotes is not acceptable. I do not think that's what happened in this case.

  • So the essential answer is "Yes, it is acceptable to delete an answer and then post a modified answer, as long as it is sufficiently different"?
    – user163495
    May 27, 2019 at 9:23
  • @MechMK1 yes it can be. And it happens more often than people think.
    – schroeder Mod
    May 27, 2019 at 10:08
  • 2
    The original is basically the same as the new answer, so I disagree with your characterization of the difference when you say "significant shift" and "major change to the technical accuracy". It should read "minor shift with the thrust of the post being the exact same." Jun 4, 2019 at 4:27
  • 2
    @GregSchmit The fact that we do not agree doesn't matter. What has resulted has been exactly my intent. The answer was wrong on 2 core issues. The new answer avoided one core issue, allowing the community to weigh in on the remaining issue alone. The re-issuing of the answer allows your (and other's) opinion to be expressed with clarity. I do not believe that the re-posting was done to flush the downvotes. That's the only issue at hand. Re-posting a different answer allows the poster to be wrong.
    – schroeder Mod
    Jun 4, 2019 at 9:30

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