I have a question about my English Language Learners Stack Exchange answer: Do you say “2 Byte” or “2 Bytes”?

Am I expected to delete my correct answer that was downvoted for not being the one selected by the OP?

3 Answers 3


You are not expected to delete your answer because one person down-voted it. You shouldn't let one down-vote upset you - people make mistakes, some people are wrong, and some people just enjoy down-voting I think. At least your down-voter left a comment about why they felt like it wasn't a good answer. If it were my answer, I would think about how I might edit it to make it different from the accepted answer. This isn't a contest to see who posts the correct answer first and just because there is an accepted answer doesn't mean there's no room for other good answers.

Having answers that explain things from different perspectives is a good thing, and I think with a little more explanation of why 2-byte is sometimes correct (and explaining the hyphen) your answer might have garnered some up-votes to offset the sting of that single down-vote.

Also, I think 5 years from now when someone comes looking for an answer to this question, they won't be very interested in how you tried answering this yesterday under programmers... I think if you tweaked your answer to read a little less like a discussion post and more like a entry into our 'library of detailed answers to every question' about practical English, it would be better received.

I would like to up-vote your answer, but it just doesn't stand out from the other answers as something that should float to the top of the list. I don't think it's a terrible answer that should be deleted or that it should be down-voted, but I don't think it's worth an up-vote either. I personally up-vote answers that have explanations or illustrations that might help someone really understand the answer, like the answer that added a video tutorial to help explain the expression 'to hawk a loogie'.


The Stack Exchange has a mechanism where, after an answer reaches a vote total of -3 or less, the answer will be displayed in a "faded" print:

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When that happens, it might be a good idea to either improve or delete the answer.

Like others have said, though, I don't think a -1 is too much to be concerned about. Were it my answer, I might try to think of a way to make it stand out more on its own. However, if I couldn't think of any way to do that, and I thought the answer might still be useful to someone, I might just leave it alone.

By the way, I've had a couple of my answers sit a 0 or -1 for months or even years before a first downvote trickled in. So you never know when the answer you leave behind might be viewed as helpful down the road.

Lastly, I'd like to address the issue of downvoting simply because an answer seems too much like an earlier answer. Unless the answer is simply cluttering up an already-cluttered page, I don't think that's really a good reason to downvote. It strikes me as petty. Plus, in a language learner's forum especially, we never know when a shorter, simpler answer might be more helpful to someone down the road.

I wouldn't be in any rush to delete your answer.

  • 1
    Your last point about clutter and duplication could use a bit of expansion; I personally have no issue at all with answers posted close together, or even a few days apart, but if an answer is posted long after another one that's basically the same I'm less forgiving of its noisiness. Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 17:23
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    @NathanT - I've seen it go both ways. Sometimes a very weak answer feebly repeats one already-stated point and adds nothing. Other times the answer explains something in a slightly different way, or from a different angle, and that reinforcement might help a learner. I think you and I would both give this advice: when adding an answer that reinforces one already given, make it a strong answer that's going to be worth keeping. The more you can do that, the less vulnerable it will be to downvotes.
    – J.R. Mod
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 18:32

Generally, you are not expected to delete you answer if it received down votes. You are expected to try to improve your answer, so that the person asking can receive useful information.

Notice that down votes and up votes do not mean incorrect and correct respectively. They are supposed to show whether or not an answer is useful. So, although your answer might be "correct", down voters might believe that it was not useful since the accepted answer was post on June 10, 14:55Z and was accepted on June 10, 16:29Z. Your answer was not posted until June 11, 13:23Z, almost one day later than the accepted time. Since you can't "improve" your post time, you might consider deleting your answer since there are already 4 other answers on that page with another also with a -1 score. If you delete your answer, this would reduce the "clutter" on that page.

By the way, you can hover over the little "answered on" line to get a time stamp. Z stands for Zulu.

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