I misread a question, and gave a detailed answer. This could be a good answer... but not to that question.

Am I supposed to delete it, or to leave it alone? Despite being unrelated, it might still be useful to someone... only, not to someone searching an answer to that question, maybe.

I never noticed anything like that on a SE site, so I've no idea if there is a standard way to deal with such a situation or not.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Just noting that you could create the question you thought you were answering and move your answer there. If you think it would be useful to people. \$\endgroup\$
    – Anko
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 5:06

2 Answers 2


You should delete it.

If you don't, there are two issues at hand:

1) You may continue to get negative votes from people who agree that it's the wrong answer to that question

2) If somebody does come to that question, and see your answer with negative votes, they may think that it's a bad answer in general (assuming they don't read through the comments and understand the situation).

In case you haven't deleted anything before, you should know that deleted questions/answers aren't completely removed, they're just hidden from anybody who isn't 1) you, 2) a mod, or 3) somebody with over 10k rep.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure? I thought that after a while they became invisible to you, and remained visible only to the admins. \$\endgroup\$
    – o0'.
    Commented Jan 20, 2011 at 1:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ That may be true, I don't know. All I know is that I'm pretty sure I can see all the deleted posts ever, but then again I'm logged in as a mod. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetrad
    Commented Jan 20, 2011 at 6:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Looris 10k users and moderators can always see deleted questions and answers, all the time. Original posters can only see their own deleted answers, and can do so at any time. Deleted questions cannot be seen by sub-10k askers, even if the asker remembered the URL. \$\endgroup\$
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 16:43

I'd delete it. You can save it until someone asks a question for which that answer is appropriate or you can ask that question yourself and post your answer (unless the same question was asked before, in which case you can directly answer it).

You can also post it on your blog or website if you think it's useful to have it out there. Leaving a wrong answer to a question doesn't help anyone.


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