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Paul Slaybau…, Real Estate Pro in Scottsdale, AZ

Is deleting an answer a copout?

Asked by Paul Slaybaugh, Scottsdale, AZ Mon Aug 13, 2007

I just removed a posting of mine from a thread. After getting a couple of thumbs down, I reviewed my respone. I deserved the negative feedback for veering off topic. What do you think? Should I have left it there and taken my medicine, or was I correct to remove a potential distraction from the discussion at hand?

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The "delete this answer" is a proper option on any forum, and especially in this forum. This forum is so new.

When I first entered Trulia I deleted one of my very first posts because a question struck me so funny that I responded to it with the top "10 reasons why..." as the answer to the question and after thinking about it, although I knew the Realtors would love my answer, I myself deemed it inappropriate. I realised I was answering the question for the Realtors on Trulia, not the non-realtor that asked the question. Even though I received a thumbs up from someone before I deleted it. So I absolutely immediately deleted it because I deemed it inappropriate. Sometimes, as Realtors, our first reaction is to totally tell it like it really is. And most of us do have a humorous streak in us. We have to. It is ingrained in us... In fact, it is required to succeed. I feel that the humor ads a human element to what we are really doing here... but we really do have to use caution. Trulia Voices is really about doing what we do... helping people. Not trying to solicit leads. That isn't going to work here anyway. Try it and you will find out. The hope is that it will somewhere down the line Trulia will become a lead generation site but at this point in it's infancy... it is not. The only way you are going to earn a client on this site is if you are fortunate enough to build a relationship... a friendship with a particular person... not by telling the world, in 30 seconds or less, everything you know about real estate. What are the odds of that? So that is not going to happen here. That is not what Trulia is about... or any other similiar real estate forum, for that matter. If you feel you have the ability to impress people with your real estate knowledge, then start a real estate blog of your own and see how much interest you generate. If you do a good job of getting clients, then stick with your blog. Blogs are free at http://www.blogger.com. I have yet to see a totally out of line question on this forum, Realtors - non-realtors, or otherwise. Because we as Realtors live this stuff on a day to day basis, we may sometimes find humor in some of the questions... some of the posts. I can't wait sometimes to come home at night to see what questions have been posted by Realtors in a vain attempt to generate a discussion. Some do good, some don't. Please leave the delete option in there. Please give us the chance to redeem ourselves. It is good for all of us. It is absolutely necessary, at least for those of us who actually do possess a conscience. Trulia Voices, at this point in time is a great networking spot for Realtors, with a small amount of public input thrown into the mix to keep it interesting. I am very impressed with most of the voices I have heard here and I am proud to be part of this community. I understand that some will have to evolve through a learning curve and in time will figure things out. In the mean time, we just have to roll with the punches and assist those who don't yet understand why we are here. And please do not delete the thumbs down button either. I am an advocate of constructive criticism, and I feel we should help those who need our assistance, I do not think this is the place to play anyone down in a negative way, no matter how bad their answers are on this site. If something really bothers you about what someone has said here, visit that persons profile and send them an email. Don't publically belittle that person in front of the world....it really will only make you look questionable in everyones eyes. Let's keep this place a positive resource for buyers and sellers to ask questions and get valuable answers. I guarantee you... it will come back to all of us in the long run.
Web Reference: http://www.edmonaghan.com
5 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2007
Paul, you are one of the most erudite and on-topic of the posters here. And I am one of the most outrageous.

I will sometimes delete and re-enter my postings through copy and paste to correct the spelling or grammar. This is one of my minor annoyances with Trulias capabilities, is that it exposes my lousy typing skills. Also, Trulia type is so small that I can't see my misspellings until it is already posted.

It is hard not to go off topic when discussing this business as one thing often leads to another. And sometimes it should. I just went off topic on a guy who wanted to know if he would lose his deposit if he backed out. - His question was thoroughly answered so I segued my answer into a discussion of buyer's remorse.

Paul, tooting your own horn once in a hundred posts is forgiveable. You more than most of the posters here have earned the right to do so. There are some who feel that brief 25 word answers justify a self plug every time. If all I can do is to repeat what somebody else said ten minutes ago, then I should not post in the first place and if I do I should delete any duplication.

I don't delete because of thumbs down, because it is often my best rants that are down-thumbed.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2007
Jim Walker, Real Estate Pro in Carmichael, CA
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Deleting an answer solely because it received a thumbs down may be a cop out. If your review of the post revealed that you missed the boat, overlooked the issue, or made a mistake, then removing the post down may be a wise call. In other words, stand by sincere and ethical convictions, even if unpopular. Remove a post if your position has changed, or if your prior post was unclear.

If several responders post in agreement and you (any Trulia member) have a different point of view, please do stand up and share your thoughts. Since our industry is amidst such change, a perspective that shines new light might just be the medicine the doctor ordered. I remember sitting in a room of 70 RE Pros a few years back discussing the evolution of bringing property listings online. Wow! I was the uncomfortable recipient of a massive amount of disagreement that day when I was one of a few who predicted consumer demand. Other RE Pros thought I was drinking funny water, and the majority believed that consumers would not want to undertake an active role in searching for properties. (While I might have been looking in the right direction, my views were foggy and I totally lacked any and all foresight to have seen the diversity and options that exist today.) The responses that I received that meeting were definitely “Thumbs Down” as they thought I was completely off the mark reading customers or anticipating the next wave of change.

On Trulia, I appreciate answers that show differences in thought, as long as such are presented in a way that is not disparaging to another.

Removal of a post as a result of rethinking your position or a mistake is an option that needs to remain on the forum. An individual might create an addendum or correction as an alternative to deleting their original post. I vote to leave the option of removing posts on Trulia.

Thumbs down is sometimes abused on Trulia, but the value of its presence outweighs the negative. I vote leave that option on Trulia.

For whatever my vote counts (LOL), I vote leave as many options available to the members and participants on Trulia. Most will use good judgement. Those who need assistance will receive it from both the participants and Trulia moderators.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 14, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
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How funny, I just deleted one prior to you posting this. However, when I posted it, I planned on eventually removing it because I put my phone number on it. But I really wanted the poster to give me a call and she did not have an email linked to her profile.

I think going off topic is great but sometimes inappropriate. If the post you removed sounded like an infomercial, you were right in removing it. I do review my posts after a while. I also just went through all my questions and awarded best answers. You earned one of them. What was interesting was someone different earned the reward for each I chose today.

Nice job - thanks for asking.
Ruth
Web Reference: http://www.oak-park-il.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2007
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
MVP'08
Yes, Paul. I did the same also. I removed one of my entries because I received a thumbs down, I read my posting again after receiving the thumbs down, and agreed that my reply was 'NOT' useful to real estate, so I deleted it - although I do have others that liked my reply.

Since I was not the originator of the thread, I did add another reply to say why I deleted it and even admitted that i recieved a thumbs down - you don't have to do that.

I only started a couple of weeks ago on Trulia, and as somebody else said, it can become an obsession, so the more we can focus, the better. .

We also have to consider the potential customers who are reading our postings. The more professional image we project, the better.

Others who are reading this and who might have added useless entries might want to go back and delete those. One of my peeves is people who repeats what others have said many times in the same thread, and in abbreviated version, I wonder if the intention is really to contribute.... .

Sylvia
3 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2007
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Novato, CA
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I hope I didn't insult anyone with my last post here. It was intended as an eye opener, not my opinion.

I'm resurrecting this thread because I am going through and deleting several of my old posts. And yes, it is affecting my Tuba rating developed by Jim; but sometimes in both directions. I'm finding it educational to see some threads improving, others deteriorate, and many duplicate Q&As. I'm also looking at the best answers and TU and TDs. I trying to award Best Answers but it is sooooo hard. (I might get lazy and just award majority rule if I agree with it or award one of Deborah's answers simply because I know I can trust her. It saves so much time.)

By going back and deleting, I'm also seeing my own patterns. Sometimes I am pure and just try to help someone. Other times it is vent in hopes of someone learning from my experience. Some are ego driven and others are promotion. I enjoy the heated debates and learn a lot from them. I stay on here because of the camaraderie and humor. And sometimes its just an addiction and a distraction.

Back to deleting responses. As the forum grows, searching will become more common. I think it is wise to remove many of the individual responses that were fine at the time but now seem inappropriate out of context. I would urge you to use caution and analyze how its removal will effect the understanding of additional responses that are relevant to the original question. My personal request would be to not remove posts from currently active threads unless absolutely necessary.

So No Paul, it's not a copout. It is necessary house cleaning, in my opinion. You did a great job at awarding best answer. If I am repeating the same message, it is because a month has gone by and I think it is more important than ever to reflect on the changes.

Ruth
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 20, 2007
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
MVP'08
I always find the responses interesting...on track or not. There are times when I've wanted to delete and answer myself. I also enjoy the sometimes snarky feedback from other Realtors. (There, I said it....)
Web Reference: http://www.cindihagley.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2007
Cindi Hagley, Real Estate Pro in Pleasanton, CA
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I don't think it's a copout Paul. If anything I think it's admirable of you to remove your own posting--it takes humility, focus, and a sense of duty. I have seen posts on Trulia that add absolutely no value to the discussion many a time, and even with several thumbs down per question the posts still remain. If all of us had the humility to realize when we have shared irrelevant or unnecessary information, there wouldn't be a need to police the forum at all, making it easiest for everybody especially the Trulia staff!

I've seen your postings though and from the ones I've seen, they're always very thought out and informative. I personally do not review my own postings often enough, so thank you for raising the idea. This is where it would be very helpful if Trulia could show us on our Profile page the ratings we've received for each response. Thanks for asking this question Paul!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2007
Hi Bruce,
In this case, the feedback was deserved. I went off on a tangent, and though not my intent, it read a bit like an infomercial. This was the first time I have deleted one of my responses. I don't want to make a habit out of it because I think the board would lose transparency if we all deleted our poorly received posts. I'm not always right, and I don't think it would be honest to leave only the popular responses up for consumption. In this particular instance, I removed the offending post because I thought it was a distraction from a good topic.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2007
Now did you say OTHER people's answers or your own? You usually have great feedback.

I agree with you. Streamline. I see nothing wrong with it. I think it is very smart of you. It is easy to get off topic here, but I think keeping things on topic and professional attracts more buyers and sellers to participate (rather than all brokers/realtors, etc). I am sure I have a couple I need to delete, as I was debating the same thing.

Good call Paul.

Heather & Steve Ostrom
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2007
Steve Ostrom, Real Estate Pro in Roseville, CA
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Nah!

Sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes things are just better left unsaid...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 20, 2007
Absolutely not a cop out. We all make mistakes. I'm thankful this is a forum that we can rectify or delete our bad answers.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 20, 2007
LOL after reading Ruth's recent post. Certainly LOL and also with a big TY. What a nice compliment that you stated you could trust me. When it comes down to choosing and working with real estate professionals, clients need to trust that you know what you are doing and need to trust that you will maintain their best interests.

Your comment, although I sitll am LOL, is sincerely meaningful.

BTW.....I repeatedly tell you I don't give a hoot about total answers......I just do what I do......
I do, however, care about BA.....so if Ruth, you are undecided, and think I can carry the torch for that thread, I would be honored!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 20, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
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I've deleted one of my answers - I responded tongue-in-cheek to a question I thought was a prank.
Apparently the questioner wasn't kidding around, and I felt bad. I emailed her personally to apologized,
and told her I would delete my answer.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 20, 2007
Very interesting to hear your take on the repeat of the same answer. Depends on how its worded, I often take it as an affirmation of the validity. The value of the consensus in a democratic forum.

I was surprised about your comment that it could foster mistrust and collusion; even if that was not the case. Appreciate the fact you took the time to share that, as it opened my mind to try to look at things from another perspective. Tx for sharing that thought.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 21, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
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A good reason to delete an answer, especially if you got a thumbs down, is because what you said is the same thing the previous poster or three said. I don't think most people are posting the same thing on purpose just to get their name there, but it's because you posted at the same TIME. One of the reasons the consumers on this site think agents are just trying to promote themselves, is because you do all say the same thing. Part of it is training, part of it is because that's the way things are, part of it is habit, and part of it is self-preservation. The PERCEPTION (real or not) is that you are all in collusion - that is what creates mistrust.

Sincerely,
Ruth
Web Reference: http://www.oak-park-il.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 21, 2007
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
MVP'08
I have deleted my answers if I didn't get all my thoughts properly laid out - I then re-enter it with the updated/thorough information.

I haven't deleted because of a thumbsdown, however. I feel that I have answered in the best interest of the reader, without being redundant. If I echo other opinions - I'm okay with it.

If I am not in the mainstream of the think panel - I actually like it.

It means I am bringing a different voice - albeit somewhat different. My hope is that someone, somewhere will agree with me or better yet actually get something out of my dissertation.

It does sting however, to get a thumbs down - and sometimes wonder if the person is being subjective rather than objective. I still won't delete - I think its cheating the person who needs my particular point of view - stated in a less formal manner.

Take your medicine: Somebody is listening.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 14, 2007
Thanks for the input all. As for thumbs-down reviews, Ted, they do not affect rankings at all. That was certainly no factor in pulling the offending post. Food for thought, though. If negative reviews are ever factored into the ranking system, I would imagine there could be a problem with some folks cherry picking the good answers and eliminating the rest. I think the boards would suffer if such a system was introduced. I would hate to see anyone deterred from letting their opinions stand, popular or otherwise.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2007
If after posting your response(s) you genuinely believed that you were off-topic and distracting from the original question or on-going discussion, then you were right in removing your answers. If you removed them simply because they were not favorable and you feared that it would adversely affect your "ratings", then shame on you. Suffice it to say, I think that the majority of users are here to learn and grow the depth of their real estate knowledge as well as find answers and varying view points from peers & the general public. Hmmm - now that I think about it, I'd better quickly review all of my answers to see if I have any needing to be purged...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2007
TED SHOOP, Real Estate Pro in Buford, GA
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How do you know the feedback was valid, since we can't tell who left it.
Also there may be different values in different answers. Is the value only to the person posting the question or also to the readers. I for one vary rarely give a up or down thumb. Just when it's really one way or the other and more often up thumb when the answer gave me new info or a different way of looking at things.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2007
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
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Just want to add another one to Ruth's 'PART OF'; - Part of it is that we actually truly believe in what we say.

I just went to my company's mandatory Legal Update session. Some agents think it is a bore and a waste of time, I always find it fascinating and hope they conduct more sessions. The real life horror real estate stories and how hungry, ugly some people can be really opens your eyes (ears).

The other side of story is how good agents do the right thing and protect their clients from getting into any of these troubles.

So, perhaps we say the same thing is because by knowledge and experience that we believe the same thing...

Sylvia
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 20, 2007
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Novato, CA
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Paul,
Ruth revived this thread during some personal "housekeeping." I believe all the insights here (even Ruth's interesting collusion perspective--that hadn't occurred to me either) are valid. An unpopular answer should stand. A bad answer, whether it has erroneous information or is detracting from the original poster's question, should probably be deleted. The instance when it should stand, is when the answers following yours have referenced that "bad" answer in their own posts. Deleting these would make the thread too hard to follow. Another Trulian mentioned some time ago (I think it was Ruth?) that deleted posts should have some kind of simple marker indicating such (ie: Bridgette Kostek deleted her response to this question). I hope Trulia follows up on that suggestion!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 20, 2007
I find the responses interest and sometimes controversial. I think that is what makes this a good medium of exchange. I am not sure which response you are referring to but I could go either way....leave it or delete it. How did you really feel about it initially?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 14, 2007
Pam Winterba…, Real Estate Pro in San Ramon, CA
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