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I see L.Dutch deleted my answer here.

Disasters to prompt the bettering of civilisation

Without explanation. It seems like a good answer to me. I was happy with it. OP wanted a cataclysmic intervention that ultimately leaves humanity the better for it. I proposed that well meaning, rich and bumbling USA sets out to correct the thinking of humanity for the better. The cataclysm is implied (because it is part of the OP); possibly Americans do not perceive that there has been a cataclysm and it all turns out in the end.

It is not porn. It answers the question. If it is politically objectionable that is not grounds for deletion. If it is a bad answer it can be downvoted.

The power to singlehandedly delete is a big power. WHen it is used it warrants some explanation.


Here is the newest L.Dutch deleted answer.

Scooped up for military research: How realistic is it in this day and age?

My answer seems to me straightforward and riffing on the strange world presented in the OP. I am adding another deleted answer to this post to again suggest that deleting answers be reserved for porn or ads or nonsequiteurs. An answer made in good faith should not be deleted. If people do not like it they can downvote it. If people want to say why they don't like it they can comment on it. If the answer misses the point people can downvote it. If people downvote a lot it will turn invisible at -3.

Moderators: thank you for keeping order. As regards questions and answers that meet criteria of WB Stack, consider letting the users of WB stack decide.


Three: How successful could rapidly spreading new predator be in world with today's type of development

L.Dutch - I get it. You the boss, boss. But assuage my curiosity and put a comment noting your reasons under the ones you delete? It will take you 5 seconds. Or @sphennings? Do you know why? How was this one about little monsters inappropriate? I will look for a pattern and adjust accordingly.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm struck by Streisand now, I want to read the whole answer :p. This feeling aside, my English and capacity to abstract implied meanings is too low to fully grasp what you offered to the question. Best not to reexplain in details though, since you might get deleted here again if you do :/. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ Riffing on OP's world is not answering OP's question. We're a Question and answer site. Posts that don't answer a question are expected to be deleted. OP left a comment stating that your post did not answer their question. Looks like another mod agreed and deleted your self admitted not-an-answer post. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe stop posting commentary and actually answer questions instead of complaining about it. Site policy is very clear on this point. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings - come on. You cant have all the complaining fun. I want some too. And you know I actually answer questions to beat the band! Only lately though am I getting them deleted. So how about those little monsters? What was wrong with the little monsters answer? That was a good one! No-one thinks about little monsters. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ For that third question OP was asking about how fast a monster could spread. Your post did not discuss how fast a monster with specific traits could spread. It just commented on how OP could consider smaller monsters. It’s a good comment. But you didn’t leave a comment. You wrote an answer. We’re incredibly permissive with answers on this site. However we do require that they actually answer the OP’s question. Had you paid lip service to that there wouldn’t be an issue. However you failed to clear even that low a bar. Someone with your experience on this site should know better. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 2:49
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    $\begingroup$ If an answer is not an answer, it gets treated as such. If it is flagged as not an answer or low quality, it gets the due follow up based on its own merit. If answers should not be deleted because who posted them liked them, we could close the shop: who posts answers they don't like? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 7:29
  • $\begingroup$ OK. It has been good times for me on the WB Stack. Be well, worldbuilders. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk It's a shame to let them drive you off, but I honestly think it's all fallout from the Monica situation. When she got driven out, she took a lot of the old guard with her. The power vacuum has changed this place, and not for the better. They will continue to swing at ghosts, as every search result, every side panel, every old question bumped, just gives them more to rage against, as their NuRules did not apply then, and that precedent is what brings in new people, who then get bludgeoned with the NuRules. Now there aren't enough people who actually love Worldbuilding to hold the ship. $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk Willk I am sad to see you go. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 10:36

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I wasn't involved in any of this, so I might as well respond as an independent observer.

First, here's the answer, for the sake of discussion.

I need some form of cataclysm or near-cataclysmic event to prompt humanity to smarten itself up

enter image description here SOURCE

The USA has got all the smarten up that the world needs. And the USA has just been waiting for an invitation to bring it, but waiting time is done and bringing it time has come! Chesty grinning Americans are going to open up a can of Smarten Up for each of the world's people. We drank ours first in case you were wondering and truth be told it did not go down that easy. But it is down now and we are the better for it. And we want you all to be like us!

Also - did you hear? We got the fusion power now! That is going to help a lot.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-63957085

enter image description here

I know the OP asked for a disaster. And that is the funny thing. There doesn't seem to be any disaster needed. USA! USA!!

It's . . . not entirely clear what you're going for here. The OP did ask for a disaster, and while I'm sure one could characterize the US conquering the world might as such, it still seems not really what they're looking for -- nor does it describe how it leads to the global changes the OP is looking for. That might be fine if you were writing a frame challenge, but it's not really a frame challenge -- and other folks came up with answers that are closer to the question's requirements.

A couple folks (not L.Dutch) effectively made the above comments, one flagged it as not an answer, and two others voted to delete the answer when it reached the Low Quality Posts queue. L.Dutch deleting it was just the final step in all of the above; it was neither singlehanded nor unilateral.

I'm inclined to agree with all of the above reasoning; I might have let it sit for a while longer to give you time to make changes before opting for deletion (it was deleted after ~5 hours). You can obviously still edit it and flag for undeletion if you think you've addressed all of the above concerns, of course. That said, the question's now been closed by the community and seems difficult to salvage, so . . . there's a calculus to be done there as to whether it's worth your time.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for walking thru that. I figured some people would get it, and some would not and some people would be offended and some would be amused. I am surprised that the not get it camp could get it deleted! But so be it. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ Precisely what I would have written myself. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 6:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Willk: As a rule of thumb, do not deliberately write answers which "some [people] would not" understand. Ideally, answers should be accessible to as many people as reasonably possible. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 5:30
  • $\begingroup$ I'm still not sure what the joke is :-D Maybe (rot13) ftq GEM iqzf mtqmp dqxqmeqp mz uzhqzfuaz ftmf ime yqmzf fa ymwq qhqdkazq oxqhqd, ngf uzefqmp ympq ftqy mxx efgbup. Ftq GEM mdq zai faa efgbup fa dqmxueq ftmf uf pupz'f iadw dustf? $\endgroup$
    – A. B.
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 8:00
  • $\begingroup$ @A.B. The joke, really, was that the USA could find the solution to the problem and basically gang-press the rest of the world into adopting it, whether they like it or not, as is our way. Sorry this fusion power is going to ruin some of your industries and maybe your economy but it's for the best and also we will sanction/invade/nuke you if you don't do it. You don't need a "cataclysm" if you just have an enthusiastic, heavily armed, and somewhat imperialist nation pushing the change hard enough. (Or, possibly, that could be the cataclysm itself.) $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 15:11
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Explanation warranted?

I think the only real explanation that is needed is why you wrote such a horrible answer in the first place! Here's how I see the situation:

The response itself --- I concur with Willk on this: the underlying basis of the answer is spot on, and is thus the makings of a good answer to a poor question and I think I can see where you're going with your answer. The USA is a cataclysm in so many ways. It's a force both of good and evil; it is powerful economically, militarily, socially, culturally, scientifically, technologically. The USA brings both chaos and order wherever it goes, and the USA literally goes everywhere in the world.

The basic problem the OP was looking for was a way to clean up the environment. Willk proposes that fusion is the way to go --- it's supposedly clean, has no short or long term environmental impacts. The logical conclusion is: environmental disaster is reversed by USA cataclysmically forcing its fusion power on the world; greenhouse gasses reduced by rapid depetrolification.

Clearly, the USA having such a power source can, if they make it viable, cause extreme destabilisation in energy producing areas like Russia and Southwest Asia. If the technology is operated by the US in places like India and Africa and given to allied countries and eventually even to rivals, further destabilisation would occur in China as well. I'd say that's an immediate cataclysm.

The problem! --- The only problems with Willk's answer is that it's not well executed. The tone is exaggerated and a bit braggadocious; the delivery is quick and non-explanatory; the matter that goes into making the answer is not as well thought out as it could be.

Your original answer was apparently in the low quality queue and tagged for deletion, which was duly done and, I concur with L Dutch on that. It was an answer that deserved deletion because the respondent didn't respect either the querent or the query enough to make a good answer!

Possible solution. --- Here in Meta, you wrote a far better answer than you did in your original response!

I proposed that well meaning, rich and bumbling USA sets out to correct the thinking of humanity for the better. The cataclysm is implied (because it is part of the OP); possibly Americans do not perceive that there has been a cataclysm and it all turns out in the end.

I think that if you went back to your original response, cut out the baloney, focus on what you just wrote, focus on how American ingenuity and fusion power combined with the USA being a bit (well, sometimes disasterously) cataclysmic in its actions, you'd have a reasonable answer that could be easily undeleted.

The only problem now is why waste the effort on a query that's been closed as being opinion or story based!

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I did not vote to close this answer. I didn't even know it existed!

Looking at the picture, I gather the key idea. The disaster was the warmongering self-entitled American military bombing all the other countries to bits. Like in that movie with the puppets. This is a perfectly good answer.

But then I read the text. I find it indirect to the point of confusion. And English is my native language. I imagine users with other mother tongues are even more perplexed.

(Emphasis added)

The USA has got all the smarten up that the world needs. And the USA has just been waiting for an invitation to bring it, but waiting time is done and bringing it time has come! Chesty grinning Americans are going to open up a can of Smarten Up for each of the world's people. We drank ours first in case you were wondering and truth be told it did not go down that easy. But it is down now and we are the better for it. And we want you all to be like us!

Also - did you hear? We got the fusion power now! That is going to help a lot.

enter image description here

I know the OP asked for a disaster. And that is the funny thing. There doesn't seem to be any disaster needed. USA! USA!!

"Open up a can of whoop-ass" is already a metaphor. "Open up a can of smarten up" is one step further removed from the idea of America bombing all the other countries to bits.

"We drank ours first": So America bombed itself to bits first? But then how could it destroy everyone else if it was already destroyed?

Then you mention fusion power. It is not directly relevant to America bombing everyone else, and suggests the "Smarten up" might in fact mean America sharing the secrets of nuclear fusion with the other countries. After all, you need smart people to invent fusion.

Then you say there is no disaster needed. Which makes me further doubt my interpretation of "Open up a can of smarten up".

So are you proposing America bombs (smartens up) everyone and then everyone unites in the wake of the invasion to the betterment of civilization? Or are you proposing America just shares fusion with everyone else and this betters civilization?

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    $\begingroup$ Good point revealing the expressions and metaphors. It's much harder for me to understand them, part because I'm me and part because foreigners are often taught the "international" or "school" English, which doesn't include a lot of expressions. Us French already have an hard-time not butchering English vocally, don't make it worse with misunderstandings on top :p. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 1:55
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There's no doubting that this is a bad answer. Even after getting the joke, all it does is describe a problem that the OP feels he needs a disaster to fix. Personally, I would also have voted it down to make sure it doesn't get in the way of anyone looking for a real answer.

I need to question how deletion of the answer benefits the site. Deletion, in most of the world, is reserved for answers that aren't just wrong, but are offensive. Do the moderators of this site consider humor to be offensive? That feels like a counterproductive perspective.

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    $\begingroup$ In addition to deleting offensive or otherwise disruptive answers SE policy is to delete posts that don't answer the question. A joke post that just describes OP's problem should be deleted under this model. Remember the SE tagline "Ask questions, get answers, no distractions". Posts that don't ask a question or answer one are in direct conflict with the most fundamental promise of this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ I mean, it actually did answer the question, you just had to really read between the lines (the disaster is what the USA is going to do now that they have fusion power. USA's interference in global affairs has a...questionable...track record. So it's an answer, and a plausible "disaster" scenario). But it does seem like moderators now have a standing policy of deleting answers they personally disagree with, or which they find borderline. It's damaging, but not much to be done about it. It seems they drove willk off for good over this new policy. $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Commented Mar 4, 2023 at 22:04
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That was one of the most awesome answers around lately.

You may agree or disagree, and that's cool. This is what up and down votes are for. I see many here did not like the answer, so I would expect it to have a negative overall score even with my upvote (which I did not get a chance to give). That would be ok.

But deleting it like that I think that should not have been done. I would still be ok with a deletion coming from a "not an answer flag" in most cases, but in this case it is an answer even if you don't like it.

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    $\begingroup$ I disagree with the answer's quality as it was quite confusing. However I agree it shouldn't have been deleted like that ^^. +1 $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 11:02
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It is an excellent answer.

It includes an exquisitely appropriate illustration.

I upvoted it, and I tried to explain in a brief comment that maybe some of the people who could not see why it was a good answer may benefit from trying to acquire some basic skills in the appreciation of literature.

(One of the reasons for saying that it is an excellent answer is that is a frame challenge, and at the same time it is not a frame challenge, but rather a straightforward example of a disaster which would prompt a fundamental change of the human civilization.)

People, if you don't understand it, it does not mean that it is bad or that nobody understands it. Let it be. Some readers will vote up, some readers will vote down. If it is articulate, it is not an advertisment, is not immoral, it is not lewd, it is not prurient, it is not an invitation to a flame war, and it does not overtly promote a worldview contrary to whatever ideology is prevalent in the USA these day, then there is no valid reason to delete it.

The only reason I can think of which would explain its deletion, but in no way justify it, is that the powers that be got a serious case of fear of heights. Yes, the answer may have passed way over the head of the person who asked the question. So what? The site is index by the all seeing Google, and in the fullness of time it may be the case that the answer will be found and appreciated by somebody who can appreciate it.

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    $\begingroup$ Completely missing the spot with your wrong assumption based on not having all the information, which doesn't justify the answer, since HDE gave the explanation way before you wrote this. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 7:18
  • $\begingroup$ This answer on Meta seems to arise a paradox. AlexP... you say you upvoted and judge the answer as excellent.. how come you VTC'd the question ? When a question is to be closed, answers can't be good, I learned from sphennings. I got downvoted for answers to closed questions several times. Don't get me wrong, we only disagree on the closure.. we agree about the literary quality of Willk's answer ! $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 10:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Goodies It's actually subtler than this. The more the question is opinion-based, broad or unclear, the less likely you'll strike accurately the querent's target. If you got downvoted multiple times, it's more likely due to a recent shift on how downvotes are handled. More often now I see closure followed by downvotes, even though downvotes ≠ close votes. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 11:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Goodies: My view, which is mine, is that what we are doing here, as a side effect of having fun, is slowly building a repository of searchable knowledge, outlandish opinion, and nifty suggestions. Questions and answers are equally searchable and retrievable by a good search engine. Because questions and answers are equally searchable and retrievable by a search engine, it is perfectly reasonable to upvote a good question and downvote a bad answer, or to downvote a bad question and upvote a good answer. Other people may have other views and other beliefs. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP Yes, a good recent example is this one : Can a gunsafe survive a nuclear blast level attack?. Some downvotes and a relatively low view-to-upvotes ratio (+closed, though again this is not downvote). Yet top answer gets +50 votes. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 12:29
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    $\begingroup$ If a question requires reading specific literature to understand, it is a poor answer. External sources should be summarised within the answer. That's the rule. $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 14:47

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