I was in the process of answering this question: https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/104975/synthetic-biology-olympiad, when it was removed from the site, apparently "for reasons of moderation". The asker had answered a question for a 'Synthetic biology olympiad' incorrectly and wanted to know why their answer was not accepted.

Looking at the help page: "Questions that are extremely off topic, or of very low quality, may be removed at the discretion of the community and moderators." I can't see the question anymore, but I thought it to be a good-quality, on-topic question. It was tagged with #homework, but the asker was not asking for help with homework, but rather feedback on what they had already done.

Can anyone provide a reason why it was removed?

  • $\begingroup$ It was deleted by a moderator. I'm sure they'll have an answer for you in fairly short order. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Oct 21, 2021 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


Question deletion is very unusual when the post involved isn't obvious spam or cleaned up automatically by the "Roomba" (typically for closed/downvoted questions without answers once those posts reach a certain age).

The homework policy here is pretty broad, and covers exams and past questions just as much as it covers an assignment someone is presently working on. The key for these questions is that they're allowed only if the poster is explaining thoroughly the attempts they've made and showing what understanding they have. However, homework questions don't get deleted (except by the Roomba clean up), they get closed.

Sometimes, moderator actions have more to do with a user overall than specific content. That puts mods in a tricky situation because by rule we don't discuss interactions with users with third party users, unless those users themselves want a public discussion.

Using user suspensions as an example: if a user is suspended moderators won't post about or explain the reasons on meta; there will be a short, vague sentence on the user's profile, and that's it. If they wish to contest their suspension they can contact the SE staff, or once their own suspension is up they can post on Meta, and at that time moderators can explain their reasoning. Otherwise, it's between the specific user and the mods or SE staff.

If a question itself looks fine, or seems like something that would merely be closed rather than deleted, you can assume there's some other underlying reason.

I apologize that your efforts towards writing an answer were interrupted in this case - that's of course not anyone's intent nor desire and I sympathize as I've found myself in exactly your frustrating situation on a few occasions.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the clarification. I didn't realise there was a distinction between closing and deleting a question. I was concerned that this reflected a policy of the site to not allow these sorts of questions, but it doesn't sound like this was the case. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2021 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ @NoahSprent For what it's worth, there is another question that may look a bit familiar: biology.stackexchange.com/questions/104968/… though it's currently in the reopen queue. There have been some edits since the first version was closed, though I still find the format completely unreadable and not up to site standards for questions. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Oct 21, 2021 at 18:05

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