My answer to this question about whaling was deleted by three users. At that moment, it had 27 upvotes, 36 downvotes, and was the accepted answer.

It's unclear to me why this answer was deleted.

As one of the moderators yesterday wrote in another meta post about an unrelated answer:

Answers get deleted for being wildly off-topic, total gibberish, or outright offensive.

None of those apply to my answer. So why was my answer deleted?

I certainly hope it was not deleted because it didn't confirm to the mainstream opinion on this site. If that be the case, it would be very bad, as per the same moderator:

What Answers do not get deleted for is being wrong, let alone potentially wrong. [..]

If no valid reason can be given, please undelete my answer.

[Full text of my original answer, for those who cannot see deleted answers:]

What is the fundamental difference between catching whales and hunting other animals?


There is no fundamental difference between whales, and e.g. dogs or cows. All are mammals; Some people eat some (or all) of those, while some other people consider it immoral to eat some (or all) of those.

Therefore, the main difference is culture. Many people are used to eat beef, while they are not used to eating whale meat.


Undelete flag was denied:

declined - Moderators will not override community consensus unless the answer was substantially edited or the delete-votes were very clearly abusive. This doesn't seem to be the case here.

Despite every answer, plus two moderators in comments, stating that the answer should not be deleted, they still do not undelete.

Compare that with the speed that this answer was undeleted.

  • 1
    did you flag the answer asking for it to be undeleted? Jul 10, 2019 at 21:20
  • @SamIam Yes, I did as soon as I found out (as an aside, I didn't get any system notification of the deletion), but wasn't able to write a fully documented meta question at that time. I wrote this question four hours later - the flag was still unanswered at that time. Some time after writing the question, that flag was marked "helpful" with the comment "Let's resolve this on Meta."
    – Sjoerd
    Jul 10, 2019 at 21:23
  • I see. I'll probably wait for that mod to respond. Jul 10, 2019 at 21:28
  • 1
    @Sjoerd When I saw your flag asking for undeletion, you had already posted this Meta question. So, I thought it would more productive to conclude the discussion here before we take any action on the answer. Had I seen the flag before the Meta question, I probably would have undeleted the answer.
    – yannis
    Jul 11, 2019 at 8:26
  • 1
    That said answers do not only get deleted "for being wildly off-topic, total gibberish, or outright offensive". It's well within the rights of community members with delete privileges to vote to delete posts they think are of very poor quality. While in my opinion the answer shouldn't have been deleted, I can completely understand why it was.
    – yannis
    Jul 11, 2019 at 8:32
  • By now, it has gathered two new delete votes. I guess I'll have to ask for yet another undelete soon.
    – Sjoerd
    Jul 11, 2019 at 21:59
  • 1
    Related: politics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3914/…
    – Jontia
    Jul 12, 2019 at 10:17
  • And yes, deleted again. Flagged for undelete. Two out of three delete votes are the same as the first time.
    – Sjoerd
    Jul 13, 2019 at 2:36
  • @yannis You stated you "probably would have undeleted the answer." Then why was my undelete flag denied?
    – Sjoerd
    Jul 16, 2019 at 23:17
  • Thanks again. Probably the the comment under Fizz will be my last relief. But as you say, tags like "conclusion reached" seems necessary to me.
    – user7598
    Jul 17, 2019 at 17:24

3 Answers 3


Update: just noting some developments...

  • The disputed answer was deleted again roughly two weeks ago (beginning of March 2020); after gaining more experience on this site, I honestly don't think it's worth fighting over that quality of an answer, so I'm not voting to undelete again.

  • Something that I had missed the first time around (well, because it happened roughly two weeks later than the rest of my post below) was this comment of mod Philipp:

    the author of the question reverted it to a version which is nothing but a rant against "non Japanese". If the author considers this the version they want, then it must be closed as "promote or discredit a specific political cause, group or politician". I reverted it to the last version which was acceptable. I am now locking this question. We are forced to babysit this question for 20 days now, and it is becoming an unacceptable strain on the resources of the volunteer moderation team. – Philipp ♦ Jul 23 '19 at 13:05

  • The question was eventually unlocked... after a bit more than three months:

enter image description here So yeah, undeleting a cheesy accepted answer to entertain a question[-asker] like that is doubly not worth the hassle.

My original answer below:

It think it's a poor answer worth downvoting and I agree with the comment that said

(+38) Downvoted. Literally everyone I've ever talked with on this subject complained about two reasons: 1. whales are endangered and 2. whales are incredibly intelligent mammals. These are objective facts, not some cultural relativism – Davor Jul 4 at 14:30

And also with

(+18) -1, this is like answering the question "why is the death penalty allowed/forbidden in some countries?" with "culture". Yes, technically that is correct. But it's a non-answer you can give for everything and that implies that there essentially is no reason, stated or otherwise. And that is simply not true. Whaling stopped for reasons. Whaling is opposed today for reasons. Culture.... "Why did the Roman Empire fall?" "Culture!" Technically true, but ultimately pointless. – Kakturus Jul 5 at 8:52

On the other hand if the OP thinks it's the right answer... it speaks volumes for the OP. The question ends up with

I'm looking for the stated reasons from environmental groups and governments that have signed the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

But none of that is detailed in the accepted answer. So I think the question is rather off-topic to begin with... i.e. smacks of someone accepting an answer that echoes his prior opinion on the matter.

A poor answer to a poor question is about par for this site, so I've undeleted Sjoerd's answer (3rd vote).

  • 6
    Pigs are not endangered (as a whole, bacon ensures that many individual pigs are :-) :-( ) but are highly intelligent. This 'fact' is largely ignored by most when "bacon!!!" is applied. Jul 11, 2019 at 3:21
  • 8
    Yeah this is the correct answer. The answer in question isn't great and needs sources, but it should be downvoted, not deleted.
    – lazarusL
    Jul 11, 2019 at 12:40
  • 1
    I take the full responsibility. Thank you Sjored for enlightening me after all that when I first picked llam's as the answer when I was an ignorant. So that catch limit was set to 2 whales a day for 100 millions people. I'm living the hard core center of Tokyo, Minato-ku, where many white ( English ) people are living in too, any it is so few I can not spot any whale cans on retail basis and the consequence is to me, "What happened"? May be I should start worrying about eels which are in the endangerment now. But I don't want to have a headaches for whales which takes 100 years to exterminate
    – user7598
    Jul 11, 2019 at 12:40
  • 2
    I wanna speak the truth yet so let me comment please. First, your (+38) Downvoted. Literally everyone I've ever talked with on this subject complained about two reasons: 1. whales are endangered and 2. whales are incredibly intelligent mammals. These are objective facts, not some cultural relativism – Davor Jul 4 at 14:30 Does that "everyone" know that the Japan's catch limit was set under 1.0% of the estimated number of the existing population according to the Japan's FDA ( the announcement is available in my question ), which takes 100 years on the ground target whales never breed?
    – user7598
    Jul 17, 2019 at 16:57
  • 1
    Second, it speaks volumes for the OP. Nah, when I picked first time llama's answer as the best, Sjoered criticized me that Japan had resumed the whaling withing its territorial sea and EEZ. And I didn't know such a simple fact. That's why I picked Sjoerd's because "Okay, all the answers are opinion based but this person is at least smarter than me".
    – user7598
    Jul 17, 2019 at 17:00
  • 2
    And to the lazarusL's comment. but it should be downvoted, not deleted. Exactly. Deleting and undeleting 4 times is almost a rant. In the thread about the chanting issue against Clinton, the OP, the moderator, has yet ever set anything standards like. That ended up with nothing.
    – user7598
    Jul 17, 2019 at 17:04
  • 1
    Fourth, people say "whales are endangered", which whales are you talking about? Is that the Blue Whale? link [ fisheries.noaa.gov/species/blue-whale ], which Japan do not catch? People include every species under the category "Whales". And the gulf of California is not our EEZ.
    – user7598
    Jul 17, 2019 at 17:09

If I handled a deletion flag on that answer, I would probably decline the flag. In fact, there was a VLQ flag on that answer which got declined by a different moderator. That answer was deleted because members of the community voted to delete it.

With that in mind, there are a couple of reasons I can think of why someone might want to delete that answer.

  1. "People oppose whale hunting because of culture" reads a bit like "people oppose whale hunting because they oppose whale hunting." It might be that the real thing people want to know is why the culture is the way it is, and your question barely scratches the surface of that.
  2. You don't really give us much reason to assume that your answer is correct. It appears to be based on some very loose assumptions, and you haven't provided us with anything to prove that those assumptions are correct(sources are useful for this purpose). Theoretically, the reaction to this should be downvotes, but if your answer is getting enough negative attention to receive a lot of downvotes, it makes sense that you'll get users who receive your answer so poorly that they decide to vote to delete instead.

By the way, in case you're wondering, yes, you should feel discouraged to post things that are likely to get downvotes. That's kinda the point of downvotes.

  • 1
    "Why culture is the way it is" - I address that in my answer: "Many people are used to eat beef, while they are not used to eating whale meat."
    – Sjoerd
    Jul 10, 2019 at 21:52
  • >You don't really give us much reason to assume that your answer is correct. It appears to be based on some very loose assumptions, and you haven't provided us with anything to prove that those assumptions are correct(sources are useful for this purpose). Then you should only read this thread link [ politics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3941/… ]
    – user7598
    Jul 10, 2019 at 22:02
  • 1
    Your explanation sounds like "I don't like you choice so that I will delete", That's outrightly against the SE rule.
    – user7598
    Jul 10, 2019 at 22:05
  • @SamIam Could you please clearly state whether the delete votes were inappropriate or not? This "I wouldn't, but...." style of answer seems to defend the delete votes.
    – Sjoerd
    Jul 10, 2019 at 22:08
  • WRT your point 2, I would like to quote your comment from yesterday: "Are we deleting answers for just having no sources now? I might have missed that memo." In my case, you seem to defend that same behavior. (source: second comment to politics.stackexchange.com/a/42780/8912 )
    – Sjoerd
    Jul 10, 2019 at 22:39
  • 1
    @Sjoerd Did I not say I would decline a flag to delete that answer? Jul 11, 2019 at 4:32
  • @SamIam I took your answer as a "yes" to the question "were the delete votes inappropriate?" Still, my undelete flag was denied. What made you change your mind?
    – Sjoerd
    Jul 16, 2019 at 23:15

Many people are used to eat beef

How do you use people to eat beef? You may think that this isn't total gibberish, but some of us disagree with you. In general when I see nonsense answers reject grammar correction edits that aren't marginal, I vote to delete.

There is also the reason why this answer was accepted. It was accepted because the ranterasker happened to agree with it. It fit his rant. For the same reason, we don't encourage rant questions, we shouldn't encourage rant validation. My opinion remains that not only should that answer have been deleted, but the whole question should have been closed for ranting.

  • Okay, I am the ranter, you should have deleted mine perfectly.
    – user7598
    Jul 10, 2019 at 23:23
  • So a minor grammatical point. Plus the fact that the answer agreed with something you disagreed with. Got it.
    – Sjoerd
    Jul 10, 2019 at 23:24
  • 2
    BTW, I'll let that "rant validation" accusation go unflagged for the sake of the discussion. I would flag it as "rude or offensive" on the main site.
    – Sjoerd
    Jul 10, 2019 at 23:27
  • @Sjoerd I'm done perfectly. My nerve almost explodes if I continue. All I could I am sorry for involving you in this way.
    – user7598
    Jul 10, 2019 at 23:30
  • 1
    @KentaroTomono Don't worry about me, I can handle myself here, and I decided to get involved. But you should disengage if it takes such a huge toll on you. Nobody will blame you for prioritizing your health.
    – Sjoerd
    Jul 10, 2019 at 23:33
  • 1
    Your understanding of the term "rant" is very inconsistent with it's usual English language usage. (I'm against whaling so my comment is not due to my bias in that respect). Jul 11, 2019 at 3:26
  • 3
    @RussellMcMahon Have you gone back and read the actual things posted? Or are you reading the current version, which was heavily edited to remove the things that I'm calling a rant? (And I'm mildly for whaling, so my comments are not due to bias in that respect.) My characterization of the original question and various edits by the original poster is that the question is "People are being unfair to Japan in opposing whaling (reasons), amIright?" Are you claiming that that characterization is false? Or that does not fit your definition of rant?
    – Brythan
    Jul 11, 2019 at 9:47
  • 2
    @BrythanMy bad. I based it on the current versions. I should know better than that by now :-(. I'm a bit knee jerk on "bullying" - which I now realise (even without not having looked) was not the case given the original. I'll have a look tomorrow for completeness, but my apologies in advance of having done so. [Sleep calls with urgency]. Jul 11, 2019 at 12:24
  • 5
    @Sjoerd still wondering why you reverted my edit improving the grammar. I even left a comment with a link explaining why it's wrong, but instead of a reply to that all mention (comments removed, edit rolled back) of it got removed. Combined with all the advice on how it can be improved, it seems as though you're going out of your way of having a low-quality answer at the top.
    – JJJ Mod
    Jul 12, 2019 at 0:07
  • Just out of curiousity. In your entrance example what would be the corrected version of this? I have approximately a C1 language standard in english (being german) and confer regularly in english. And this sentence is exactly what I would have used. I just checked google translate and it would use eating instead of eat. But this reason would just be discrimination, because of language knowledge. I agree though that the question should have been deleted and the answer deserves downvotes for being quite vague. But the answer itself deserves no deletion.
    – Kami Kaze
    Jul 22, 2019 at 13:25
  • @KamiKaze I'm not saying it should be deleted because it used eat instead of eating. I'm saying it should be deleted because the edit fixing that (and only that) was reverted.
    – Brythan
    Jul 22, 2019 at 16:09
  • @Brythan You are persisting on the reversion. It is O.K for you to do so if you would like me to label me as a ranter. But do not forget I completely concur the hijacking which was terrorized within a minute lol after I posted my original one. And I happily went on with the "hijacking" after that. I did not even rollbacked.
    – user7598
    Jul 22, 2019 at 20:37
  • @KentaroTomono To be honest your original question was really lacking in regards of tone and quality and was quite emotionally loaded. It was even lacking a proper question. Categorizing it as a rant is to my mind completly valid and it should have been deleted on sight and not edited. At least at SO there is a policy to not edit such bad questions. I do not how it does apply here. What you are doing here is not fighting for your right to speak your mind but just fighting because your feelings are hurt. And the topic here is the answer not your question.
    – Kami Kaze
    Jul 23, 2019 at 8:42
  • @KamiKaze Then I would be unfortunate to spot there are more insane people than me who are lot crazier when it comes to whaling on the ground the revised version became virtually mine.
    – user7598
    Jul 23, 2019 at 8:45
  • @KamiKaze And then you got a new choice if you say so. Just roll it back to the original post and delete the whole question. At least you could have done that and you can still do it.
    – user7598
    Jul 23, 2019 at 8:48

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