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Basically I'm starting to think that I might be over zealous in implementing what I see as the site ethos.

For example: Say a user asks about a method of handling a task that requires querying a database; the user is inexperienced with the technologies used and offers in their attempt a methods which would be ubiquitously considered bad practice - say carries out X INSERT queries where one would be the efficient choice. With the post an user responds with a variation of the poor practice code which is then accepted as an answer.

In type of situation should other users accept that since the answer does solve the problem that it is sufficient or should they down vote the response?

Without information regarding the frequency of use it may be fair to say that unless the person who asks the question provides the frequency it could be considered an occasional task where good practice / efficiency isn't important. In this case if the response to the previous question is treat all questions zealously should a site member push the person that asked the question for frequency information before pettifogging over questionable quality responses?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Voting is entirely subjective. If you feel that an answer, even one marked by the OP as the accepted solution to his specific problem, is in some way a "bad" answer then you are free to down-vote it accordingly.

While there's no compulsion to leave a comment with said down-vote, it would be good for the community in general to explain the problem with the answer. If there's a glaring security flaw or performance flaw, call attention to it. Assume that any code snippet posted on the internet will one day be blindly copied/pasted into someone's production code without a second thought. So do the world a favor and try to improve it.

It's not unheard of for a high-voted answer to not be the accepted answer (there's even a badge for it). Nor is it unheard of for a negatively-voted answer to be accepted by the OP.

You can also post a "competing" answer. Just because one has already been accepted doesn't mean you can't contribute content of your own. A better answer is a better answer, if not for the OP then at least for the people who will stumble across that question from future Google searches.

The user who posted the answer shouldn't take it personally. Sometimes they do, but that's something we can't fix. Better to cast the vote, make the comments, and walk away.

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Your answer sums up one of the concerning elements I've posted in answer comments and generally encompasses all my queries. Someone might stumble upon the thread and base their code or copy and paste it. –  SOliver Jan 17 '12 at 16:18
    
@SOliver: That also makes for very good reasoning to edit another user's answer, improving the code. (Including a description of why the edit was made and how the code has been improved, of course.) I can imagine a user complaining that their answer was being edited. (Even though StackExchange makes it pretty clear that the answer is not theirs and is the community's.) But I can't imagine a user complaining very loudly because their bad code was made better. Indeed, those are exactly the kind of users we don't want here. –  David Jan 17 '12 at 16:21
    
I feel that is it in a nutshell; users should accept that the code is written for the benefit of the world (who knows, eventually universe) and not just their site reputation. That said: my personality doesn't capacitate for empathy amongst other similar traits and as such I'm generally considered a walking faux pas. I rely heavily on friends for grasping social expectations - sadly though I'm the only developer in the group. Perhaps metacognition is the real foe here. –  SOliver Jan 17 '12 at 16:37

Showing the Tooltips of the Up/Downvote-Buttons on an answer.

Follow your heart, and ask yourself one question:

Is this answer useful, or not?

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Thanks for the response. Defining useful is the problem I'm having; if someone offers an answer that say "climb 1000 steps and you will reach your goal". The answer works but it also climbs 999 steps more than is required. I'm extremely obsessive which is why I worry that I'm not acting in a gentlemanly manner. –  SOliver Jan 17 '12 at 16:15
    
@SOliver: Well, you miss one step, compare "climb 100 steps and you will reach your goal" with "do one big jump and you will reach your goal". Which of these answers is useful, which not? If you find an answer is wrong, or not as good as it could be, comment on it, downvote, post your own, better answer. –  Time Traveling Bobby Jan 17 '12 at 16:17

Personally I will use downvotes sparingly, because there are other ways to point out something is a bad idea, or there is a better way, etc. In general, I would only use a downvote for an idea that could cause serious problems, or when someone is being "naughty." Still that is not to say everyone should do the same.

However, in regards to posting a new answer after a current answer has been accepted, if you have something to add that you think would be useful, by all means post it! You may not help the current questioner, but you never know when your answer will help another viewer. In the multitude of possibilities, the best can be chosen. And although it is rarely (at least seemingly so) done, they can always take back their acceptance of one answer in favor of yours....

My two cents worth!

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