Here is the post:
Why did Krishna steal butter and milk?. This nearly 2 years old answer is deleted under no clear written policy.

I have presented 2 reasons to the Qn & also cited following in my answer's last para:

Since this question is about the reasoning and hence it cannot cite any accurate reference. However, above 2 reasons can be clearly seen in 2 of the tele-episodes of BR Chopra's Mahabharata which closely followed "Gita press, Gorakhpur" as its base source.

Now here are my defending points (also excerpts from discussion with Mods):

  • We didn't have any solid meta policy for deletion based on type of sources when this answer was written.
  • The tele serial was well respected & it followed "Gita press, Gorakhpur", which was presented in writing.
  • The accepted answer which is older than mine also doesn't cite any sources; However Back it up policy existed even before that answer. But that answer is not deleted. (No policy on date criteria for deletion).
  • There are many old & new answers w.r.t. this answers which don't cite sources; That's why we call it targeted deletion
  • Lastly, such Qn-s which ask for "Why happened" would mostly generate opinion based answers. Because scriptures mostly describe "What happened". In fact many times, "Why" Qn-s cannot have sources. They would generate slightly opinion based answer & official policy for opined answers is set by Mods in this post:
    What should we do about opinion based answers?

Update: As per discussion with a Mod in comments below, the grandfathering policy or whether to delete all the unsourced answers -- is under discussion. This discussion is happening as early as this post: Let's delete all old answers from early days of the site that lack any references at all, if not before. However my answer was deleted as recently as 19-Apr-2017. That means it's deleted after the discussion initiated. Which is not right. Hence answer should be restored to its undeleted state until the policy is finalized. That's more practical compared to deleting all the unsourced answers.

Update 2: As it seems that the discussion with the Mods are failing on the fairness of the deletion. To avoid dragging this issue further, I have decided to add "some scripture", which is related. Though for this Qn absolutely no sources can be cited IMO.

  • As you can see from the comments under my answer the MOd is saying that any answers that are lacking in sources but written in 2015 or afterwards shall be deleted . So, you can ask if there was an official rule like that framed when you wrote that answer,
    – Rickross
    Apr 20, 2017 at 16:05
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    @Rickross. No there was no such rule. Neither there was any written policy for which answers are not subject for deletion, i.e. 2014. Only rule of thumb is followed, where it strikes. We all know whose thumb. :-) As I wrote in my Qn, the "back it up rule" existed even before the accepted answer, but then that user is not having philosophical or opinion differences, hence not targeted. Even under "opinion based answer" policy, my answer should be retained. I am planning to start individual threads for all my deleted posts. Let's see how far the SO bosses defend such moderation.
    – iammilind
    Apr 20, 2017 at 16:59
  • 3
    This answer would not have deleted if this was targeting.
    – Pandya Mod
    Apr 20, 2017 at 18:38
  • @Pandya, hope you understand that targeting happens for high rep users, when many of their answers are deleted. For low rep or new users, it doesn't matter. Let me put meta post for all the deleted answers. If you feel that my answer has to be deleted, then it will be helpful for you to post an answer to debunk all the points I listed. Whatever is posted by Keshav is dissatisfactory as noted in comments.
    – iammilind
    Apr 21, 2017 at 1:19
  • @iammilind I want a clarification from you: "Are you against immediate deletion of answer without notifying again (since you were notified through comment long ago)?" or "Are you against idea of deletion?". Rule we follow for unsourced answers, notify - wait (for 7 days or 15 days) - take action (either convert to comment or deletion). As per new policy, answers without sources (except those written during initial days of site) at one time or other will be converted to comments or deleted .
    – The Destroyer Mod
    Apr 21, 2017 at 4:54
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    @iammilind There's no targeting, Keshav visited your answer from this comment. We can even cite sources for Krishna's stealing butter. There's a Chora Astakam written by Shri Bilvamangala Thakura. We can even cite words of Saints or swamis for esoteric meaning of Krishna's butter stealing.
    – The Destroyer Mod
    Apr 21, 2017 at 4:58
  • @TheDestroyer, Mainly against targeted deletion. Refer the DB query & see that there are many answers which deserve deletion. Under which policy my answer is deleted? The source you presented for butter stealing is actually specific to certain thinking among vast array of Krishna devotees. They are Not scriptures but blog. Understand that, in philosophy when someone asks "why", it becomes opinion based. Because reasoning differs for all. Still feel free to cite that in my answer & undelete. That's what you told in one of your answers that knowledgeable users should improve unsourced answers.
    – iammilind
    Apr 21, 2017 at 6:50
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    @iammilind I can say this is definitely not targeted deletion. Mods can't go to every question and delete. They will take action when questions becomes active. Users can flag answers if they want to bring notice to Mods. He followed current policy. But i thought you had problem with deleting without notifying again. Due to backlash for former policy and unambiguous rules, we (as community) revisited rules.
    – The Destroyer Mod
    Apr 21, 2017 at 7:25
  • @iammilind But your main argument is about Philosophical questions. Answeres here say yes to sources but this is not finalized. So, we should first decide on Philosophical answers. Adding above sources of mine to your answer is not good idea as your answer is entirely different to above sources of mine. I will get back to you shortly.
    – The Destroyer Mod
    Apr 21, 2017 at 7:28
  • @TheDestroyer, When this was posted on meta, many people told that they will bring up some sources for "Krishna stealing butter", but haven't found anyone so far. Even if someone comes up with a reason, it will be mostly from a blog, which will be a personal opinion of the writer. Such Qn-s are difficult to have answers from direct scriptures. At least my answer doesn't rely solely on personal opinion (though Qn is of that nature) & refers TV series as a weak reference. Irrespective of grandfathering policy, have we arrived on any conclusion?
    – iammilind
    May 1, 2017 at 10:46
  • @iammilind Your question 1 and 5 are delayed as we (Mods) are discussing on Grandfathered policy, whether to retain it or scrap it.We are also discussing whether to stop deletion of 2015 answers, unless all policies are finalized (this happens if we eliminate that Grandfathered policy). Since you said, "Irrespective of grandfathering policy", I think it's better if you write a detailed answer for your question, though you have put some arguments in question.
    – The Destroyer Mod
    May 1, 2017 at 11:36
  • @TheDestroyer, this Qn belongs to a category where the sources cannot be cited. See, no answers contain sources. Hence if the Qn-s like this is allowed, then the answers will be opinion based & they are protected under "Opinion based answers". Now if an unsourced answer is deleted where the scriptures are possible, then it's still justified. Not in this case. In my answer, I have explained why the scriptures cannot be cited. Still I have added 1 weak ref to make sure that the reasoning is not solely my personal opinion. That's why this Qn has to be treated independent of "Grandfather" policy.
    – iammilind
    May 1, 2017 at 11:51
  • @iammilind Actually, we are discussing Grandfather policy (whether to retain it or scrap it) only after your meta questions.
    – The Destroyer Mod
    May 3, 2017 at 14:36
  • @TheDestroyer, (1) even in that case, the answer should be undeleted, because we are still undecided. The benefit of doubt goes to more efforts which is being put in answer. "Delete" is just a click. (2) Btw, the discussion on whether to delete all unsourced answers is initiated quite a while back as linked in "Update". Even that's also pending. In that case also this answer has to be undeleted. (3) The strongest reason is that this Qn is of nature where sources can't be cited. -- So now there are 3 reasons to undelete the answer. What more proofs are needed?
    – iammilind
    May 3, 2017 at 16:42
  • @TheDestroyer, the scripture is added to this answer. Let me know if you still want to keep this answer in deleted state. If Keshav's permission is required to undelete, then I am available for chat room discussion with all the Mods to reach to an early settlement. Kindly ping me whenever you have time.
    – iammilind
    May 4, 2017 at 7:20

2 Answers 2


Let me respond to your points one by one:

We didn't have any solid meta policy about type of sources when this answer was written.

Yes, we did. See this Meta post.

The tele serial was well respected & it followed "Gita press, Gorakhpur", which was presented in writing.

Mythological TV serials are not an acceptable source on this site, as discussed in the Meta post linked to above. If the Gita Press translation of the Mahabharata backs up your answer, then you are welcome to provide citations and/or quotes from that translation. But merely citing a TV serial is not good enough.

The accepted answer which is older than mine also doesn't cite any sources

Yes, that's true, and if that answer was posted today, it would certainly be deleted. But it was posted in the first week of the site's existence, before firm rules were established. What we've been doing until now is grandfathering such answers. There have been discussions about potentially changing that policy, but that hasn't been finalized yet. If and when it is finalized, that answer would certainly be one of the ones to go, unless of course it can be salvaged by edits.

In fact such Qn-s cannot have sources.

That's not true in the slightest. As I said in the comment section, "Hindu scripture discusses the motivations and intentions of people all the time." So Hindu scripture would be exactly the place to look to find out Krishna's motivations for his actions.

There are many old & new answers w.r.t. this answers which don't cite sources; Now you know why we call it targeted deletion

There's absolutely no targeting of any kind going on. When we see a post that doesn't follow the rules of the site, we take action. If you see answers which don't cite sources, we encourage you to flag them so that we can take action on them as well. The community plays a valuable role in maintaining the quality standards of the site!

  • -1. I am aware of that policy & it didn't say answer will be deleted If it cites TV. Hence not solid enough. Btw, my answer does not cite tv show, it just references it. If there is an authentic reference for it then please post it as answer or add it to my answer. :-) Here, the last comment of mine for answers without sources query, but they are not deleted. Hence targeting. Good part is that there are very few users to target due to active participation from other mods. Somehow they have managed to sideline this targeting activity.
    – iammilind
    Apr 19, 2017 at 20:26
  • Deletion of answers that don't cite sources was a policy long before your answer. And as that Meta post makes clear TV serial do not qualify as an acceptable source. But if you're able to find an authoritative source that backs up your answer, I'd be more than happy to undelete it. Apr 19, 2017 at 20:31
  • Concerning that query, as I've discussed with you before not everything in that query is unsourced; for instance some of those answers may have been edited to add sources long ago. But if you would like to go through the items in the query and flag the ones that actually don't cite sources, you are welcome to do so. And there are absolutely no users who have ever been targeted on this site. Apr 19, 2017 at 20:34
  • @iammilind As I said, there has never been targeting of any users. We don't look at the author of the post (other than if it's a new user or old user) in determining what actions to take. We just look at whether the post conforms with the rules of the site. Apr 19, 2017 at 21:32
  • @Rickross I refer you to this post from February 2015: hinduism.meta.stackexchange.com/a/362/36 "What I generally do with extremely short answers that don't provide any details and sources is convert them to comment, and then give the user an opportunity to add details and sources, and then I can undelete the answer. With longer answers, since deletion is a more drastic option I tend to first request that the user provides some sources for their claims, and then if they don't provide any I may delet their answer later." Apr 20, 2017 at 15:20
  • "Mythological TV serials are not an acceptable source on this site, as discussed in the Meta post linked to above." - I think either you or one of the other mods need to properly answer (What rules does this site currently follow?) since not all FAQs are considered 'rules' here. I can see how that meta post is seen just as a guidance and not taken seriously just as The copy-paste issue, Hinduism version which is also a FAQ & received 30 upvotes. Apr 28, 2017 at 1:48

I don't think there was any such rule, at the time when the answer was posted, which allows deletion of unsourced answers.

So, even if we agree that TV serials are not valid sources, the answer can't be deleted. It should be simply considered as an answer without any references. But so is the selected answer. And so are many many such answers which were written during the same period or even much later and all of them are not deleted. Right?


The moderator responded by saying :

The general rule of thumb we've been following is that unsourced answers posted in 2014 are grandfathered in, and answers posted after that are subject to deletion. Because that's roughly when we started enforcing deletion of unsourced answers. If you see unsourced answers posted in 2015 or later, please flag them

So, now you can check for yourself whether any such rules existed or not at the time when you posted the answer. If not, then i would consider what happened as an instance of unfair deletion.

  • If see other answers that don't cite sources, you should flag them so we can take action. Apr 20, 2017 at 15:22
  • But can you delete answers which were posted long time back? If i am not wrong then only "new" answers should be deleted like that given they do not have references. @KeshavSrinivasan
    – Rickross
    Apr 20, 2017 at 15:46
  • What about the selected answer? It does not have sources either. Then?
    – Rickross
    Apr 20, 2017 at 15:47
  • The general rule of thumb we've been following is that unsourced answers posted in 2014 are grandfathered in, and answers posted after that are subject to deletion. Because that's roughly when we started enforcing deletion of unsourced answers. If you see unsourced answers posted in 2015 or later, please flag them. Apr 20, 2017 at 15:53
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    By the way, as I said in my answer, there have been discussions about eliminating that grandfathering policy, and simply having all unsourced answers subject to deletion, but that hasn't been finalized yet. Apr 20, 2017 at 15:55
  • Oh so the selected answer is spared because it was posted in 2014. @KeshavSrinivasan
    – Rickross
    Apr 20, 2017 at 15:56
  • @Rickross Yeah, in fact it was posted in the first week of the site's private Beta. We didn't even have moderators yet. Apr 20, 2017 at 17:43

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