No reason to delete answers unless they are in extreme violation of the rules. Just because you don't think my answer is very good shouldn't warrant deletion or censorship.

Please undelete my answer: https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/625388/353848

  • First time I have seen this behavior in 10+ years on StackExchange. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 17:32
  • A moderator has deleted this post and it cannot be undeleted not even high rep users can vote to undelete, this is anti-open web behavior. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 18:38
  • 4
    Well, we're trying to create a site where there are a wealth of well-written questions that all get precise and well-written answers. Your answer was good, but it had nothing but the word touch to do with the question. If answers were generally allowed to be that loosely connected with questions, then the site would gradually become utterly useless. You're totally free to update the answer so that it is in line with the question, and I'll undelete it immediately.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 18:46
  • "No reason to delete answers unless they are in extreme violation of the rules" Says who?
    – muru
    Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 10:12
  • Ah, if it's only you, then there's no problem deleting "answers" such as yours that don't answer the question.
    – muru
    Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 14:10
  • @JesseNickles Pease be careful with your responses here. Maybe see muru's initial comment as a request for support for your claim, and not as a personal attack. I've deleted your replies as they break our Code of Conduct.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


Hi and thank you for bringing this to the Meta site.

You answered a question that asked about why a certain script could use touch successfully to create a file, while another script seemed to not be able to use touch in the same way to create the same file.

You answer:

In my case we had a touch bash alias function defined as touch -a "$@" which was only updating the access time instead of (in addition to) the modification time.

By default touch will update both of these times, but our bash function was overriding that.

Simply changing the function to touch -am "$@" fixed the problem.

This, to me, although it's good that you solved an issue relating to touch, does not answer the given question. It does not because the user in the question can show that a similar, stripped-down script can create a file. Also, the issue had nothing to do with timestamps but with actually creating a file. Their code additionally shows no function (or alias) overloading the touch utility.

This is why I deleted it with the following comment:

This seems to be unrelated to the issue at hand. The current issue is regarding touch seemingly not creating a particular file.

Now, if the answer remains deleted and you feel that you want to share your answer some other way, then I would suggest that you either

  • rewrite the answer so that it answers the question, or
  • find a fitting question to which your answer is a precise solution, or
  • write your own question to which your answer fits better.

Writing a question to which you post a "self-answer" is a fully acceptable way to share your experience, assuming the question is not a duplicate of some already existing question.


After discussions back and forth amongst the moderators, we've decided to undelete the answer to let it instead go through the ordinary review queues. As it would be me flagging the answer, I will not personally be able to review it.

I still think the answer needs some updating to make it relevant to the question. In its current form, I would still prefer it to be attached to a more relevant question. My three points of action above are still very much relevant.

  • 1
    This is what the down-vote and/or comment features are for, there is no reason for you to be deleting answers based on a personal whim. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 18:28
  • A moderator has deleted this post and it cannot be undeleted Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 18:31
  • @JesseNickles No, if the answer had answer the question, then voting would have been the correct thing to use. Since it did not answer the question, I could have put it in the low-quality post review queue. If I had found it in that queue, I would have deleted it.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 18:33
  • @JesseNickles Good point. Then we will see what other people say here (including the other mods on the site).
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 18:34
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    I think perma-delete actions by mods should generally be reserved for things like malware, jibberish and hentai spam, otherwise it's rather abusive use of powers and strips StackExchange of it's community aspect. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 18:36
  • @JesseNickles I agree with parts of that. It's difficult to be a moderator and at the same time use the site as any other user. I can't, for example, vote, which I find very irritating. Also note that it's not a perma-delete. I'm more than happy to be convinced (by you or anybody else) that your answer is appropriate for the question you posted it to, and then to un-delete it. I'm also happy to let any other moderator un-delete it (they have been notified about this).
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 18:38
  • @JesseNickles See updated bit at the end. We'll undelete the answer ASAP, and you have the opportunity to update it, if you wish.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 19:35
  • I've added a clarifying comment to my answer. Just because it's a rare case doesn't mean it won't help someone. Anyway I appreciate your willingness to listen to my perspective. Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 12:33
  • 1
    For what it's worth, @JesseNickles, deleting answers that don't answer the question as asked (and I am not saying this is the case here, I have been traveling and have read neither the question nor your answer yet, this is a general point) is standard mod behavior across the entire network. I am very surprised you haven't seen it before, but if you haven't, then it just happened that way. It's still standard, network wide.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 14:37
  • 1
    @terdon I'm pretty sure you're referring to people who answer "poopy pants!" to detailed questions about Linux, not answers that deal with rare but legitimate solutions to the OP's technical issue. In 10 years on SE I've never had one of my answers perma-deleted, let alone flagged for deletion. Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 15:35
  • @JesseNickles There is a wide range of "not an answer" material, to be sure. It's not always easy to tell when an answer doesn't apply to a question. We've seen this with bash questions and zsh answers, with grep questions and awk answers. It's my understanding that Kusalananda took the time to understand the question and your answer and made the determination that your answer didn't apply to the question. I haven't invested the same amount of time, but I respect both of you for listening to the other's points of view.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 16:03
  • @JesseNickles no, I am referring to people who post perfectly civil, constructive and often interesting answers which do not answer the specific question asked. One of the main objectives of the SE network is to minimize noise and answers that do not directly answer the question are noise, no matter how otherwise good or interesting they may be.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 17:30

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