I had not given this question enough thought before asking it. I went straight to looking for a reference without thinking about it. Somebody pointed out the obvious solution in a comment. Should I delete the question or give the commenter the chance to turn this into an answer (and earn reputation) ?

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    $\begingroup$ My own opinion is that it's fine to delete if you wish, before someone posts an answer. After someone posts an answer, it gets a lot stickier. I think you conveyed your appreciation well to the respondent; I think that's enough in this circumstance. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 16:37
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    $\begingroup$ If you think that someone else might benefit from the answer, it does no harm to leave the question on the site. You can ask the commenter to turn the comment into an answer or, if necessary, provide a CW answer yourself. If you think the question is unlikely to be worth anything to others, you can delete it as Todd suggests. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ I deleted the question on mathoverflow. It still lives in math.se where it is probably appropriate. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ This is technically OT here but: in my mind it is more important you do something about the Mathematics version: self-answer or delete, but please do not let the question just sit there unanswered. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ Yes that was always the plan. I'm just busy with a toddler arm. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ Toddler asleep, question updated: math.stackexchange.com/questions/1386382/… Thanks for all your input. Out of curiosity: Why don't you answer the question and we are having this discussion in the comments? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Todd I prefer(at least from now on) to not delete my question which turns out trivial after a comment. Because this would respect the commenters help. But I have a general question on the philosophy and reason of deletion: $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ What would be happen if all question would remain forever?So no longer we see "vote to close" by 5 participant? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 12:01

1 Answer 1


To answer the comment question, "Why not just answer the question instead of discussing in comments?", my belief is that your question is both too general and too specific for meta. The specific question for meta was your question above, and (except for one snag), the specific meta question has served its purpose and could be deleted too. The general question, how to decide, is a good question to which there is no good answer. The community may decide a question should be closed if it does not meet certain criteria, but aside from not being spam or unfriendly, there are no rigid technical criteria.

In short, there is no good answer to the question. It really depends on many factors, not just the content of the question.

Gerhard "This Answer Is A Snag" Paseman, 2015.08.31

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    $\begingroup$ - Lol such meta $\endgroup$
    – ruadath
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 6:28

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