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I've recently gained the ability to edit and have been spending some time cleaning up very old questions.

In some cases, I have seen that a person asks a question within the context of a certain technology, but an answer will be provided that proposes that the OP change technologies completely in order the solve the problem.

This is obviously a touchy subject.

On one hand, there is a very real possibility that the question being asked simply cannot be accomplished within the limitations of the technology provided. An example might be "How do I manage memory in BASIC?"

However, what I am seeing is that, here and there, users will provide an answer that says "The answer to your question is to stop using X and start using Y", when in actuality, they are not an expert in X--and haven't provided a true solution, but are merely professing a bias toward X.

These answers then go on to be accepted, which is "a bad thing".

What is the standard protocol to handle answers like these?

  • If the question is open and doesn't have an accepted answer, should the answer be flagged/downvoted/commented on?
  • If the question is old and has an accepted answer, should a moderator be called in to review its subjectivity?
  • Something else entirely?
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Link, or it didn't happen. –  Robert Harvey Jan 14 '12 at 18:12
You should totally stop worrying about this and just switch to jquery. –  Rosinante Jan 15 '12 at 1:09

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted


  • Assuming that the answer does not provide a solid technical analysis explaining why X won't do and why Y will, I would probably downvote.

  • If the answer does sufficiently explain why X won't do, but fails to explain why Y will, I would downvote and leave a comment asking for OP to expand on Y.

  • If the answer does sufficiently explain why Y will do, but fails to explain why X won't, I would leave a comment asking for OP to expand on X. No downvote, probably.

  • If the answer is a knee jerk "use jQuery" type of answer, I would downvote, and if possible provide a better answer. If not, and there are no answers I'd normally consider worth up voting, I'd up vote the least annoying one, out of spite.

  • In extreme cases, I might post the question in chat, indirectly notifying the community.

In any case I wouldn't flag it, even if the answer was technically wrong. Flags (and in extension moderator intervention) are not intended for wrong answers, those are supposed to be handled by peer review, i.e. voting.

Also, accepted answers mean nothing to anyone but the OP. If there's a perception that an accepted answer is somehow the correct answer, that's a different problem.

And finally, if somehow I notice that a user repeatedly posts such answers, I would flag one of his / her posts for moderation attention, with a small explanation of the problem and links to the problem.

Additionally, if I felt the problem was getting a bit out of hand, I'd post a meta question, on the general behaviour of course, not the individual user.

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