|No such thing as a small change|
On node obliterationby davido (Archbishop)
|on Oct 14, 2012 at 01:52 UTC||Need Help??|
This is a reminder to those who post a question, or an answer, and then decide that the question (or answer) no longer merits public display:
Please do not obliterate your question, wiping it clean, or changing the entire question to something akin to "I figured it out.", or "Thanks, it's resolved now." That's unhelpful to future readers, and goes against the social norm here in the Monastery.
If you post a node and then decide its content isn't relevant, or is ill-conceived, or even just plain wrong, add an update to the top or the bottom of the node explaining what changed, why the question is no longer relevant, or why the answer is being withdrawn. But leave as much of the original post in tact as practical.
When you participate at PerlMonks you're doing so not only for your own good, but for the good of other readers, and even for the good of fellow contributors. When you wipe out a node, you are essentially squandering all benefit for yourself alone, rather than leaving a trail others could follow in the future when they encounter similar difficulties. No matter how misguided the original thought-process that led to a question or an answer, it's possibly useful to someone else, if for no other reason than to be a learning experience in problem-solving.
This isn't to say there aren't times when it's useful to edit a node's content; fixing formatting, fixing a typo, adding that semicolon that was forgotten, and even within the first few moments after making a post, clarifying some verbiage so that others may better understand the concept you're trying to convey. If an answer is later determined to be completely wrong, post an update that adds to the post (rather than replacing it), explaining why this solution is not valid. If the question is being withdrawn, post an update that adds (rather than replacing) an explanation of how the question was based on incorrect assertions (or whatever was wrong with it to merit withdrawal). However, over the years here I've come to feel that wiping a node's content is thoughtless and selfish; it invalidates all responses, and robs others of the opportunity of learning from your challenges.
(Moderators should also not consider such nodes for reaping, nor vote to reap them, for all of the same reasons.)
People here are generally good natured when they see others making honest, well-intentioned mistakes. (This is in contrast to the impatience we often see with those exhibiting false laziness.) There's a degree of latitude extended to those who demonstrate willingness to own up to an error. Mistakes happen all the time in coding. It's a natural part of any relatively complex process that involves human input. Shrug it off, document it for future posterity, and move on. But please, leave it there for all of our benefit.