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Apr 6, 2011 (last update: Apr 6, 2011)

Why you should NOT delete your posts after getting an answer.

Score: 4.4/5 (72 votes)
Good day loyal subjects and complete slaves fellow programmers,

I've seen the following behavior quite a bit on these forums, and I'd like to write out why it gets such negative reactions.

Let us presume that the topic creator has a problem with their program. They post the code, a short problem description and what they see that's going wrong. A few regulars post in the thread, offering explanations, until the problem is resolved at which point the topic creator effectively deletes all their posts by editing them and replacing the contents with text unrelated to the problem. This article is mainly for people who do this.

Evidently, there are several good reasons why you shouldn't do this.

1. It's a time-waster.
There are some people who use search functions to browse for a step-by-step solution to their problem or a similar problem that they can adapt. By deleting your posts' contents, you're effectively wasting not only your own time by deleting the posts, but also the time of those who both search before asking and those who generally answer questions.

2. Nothing bad can come as a result of leaving your code up.
This point assumes that you know your instructor will not object loudly to you seeking for help. I'd hope that most CIS instructors would have some sense and understand that programmers can and will work in groups if necessary, and not complain about you seeking help. If you know he/she will object, then... why are you cheating? :/

If you're worried about being accused of plagiarism because the instructor managed you match your code to one in your post, then you have two options. If you can figure out exactly where a certain problem is, then posting only part of the code would not only reduce the chances of getting called out for plagiarism, but it might also shorten your wait time! However, if you still get called out, then you can explain and prove to your instructor that you're the one who wrote that code.

3. It prevents everyone from getting an opportunity to help you.
We have a lot of "helpers" here, each with skills, qualifications, and specializations in different fields and each in different time zones. A subtle logic error that isn't immediately obvious during program execution that one person didn't catch might have been caught by another person an hour later if you didn't erase your posts.

To summarize, erasing your posts after you get your answer is counter-productive. Happy home-working!

O come, all ye tro-olls...
You could redirect people who do that to this article so that they know not to do it the next time, if they come back for more help (which they might). :/