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http://stackoverflow.com/a/5302162/127880

I flagged to have this removed, as it is completely worthless in just about every conceivable way.

Moderator disagreed.

Do crap answers like this make SO better?

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Jeez, it went from -2 to -6 in like 4 seconds. o.o Oh well, the 10k users can delete it now if they want too. –  animuson Feb 20 '12 at 19:20
    
I think you need to update the downvote counter in the title ;) –  Lix Feb 20 '12 at 19:20
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You have already condemned the answer by posting this link. Its -6 now. ;-). –  Toon Krijthe Feb 20 '12 at 19:21
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The answer in question now has 6 down votes; I doubt anyone would read that post and consider it to be an accurate answer. The thing to note about Moderators is that they aren't really supposed to be making value judgements on the accuracy/correctness of answers, in general. That's the job of voting. This isn't strictly an answer to your question, though, so I'm not posting it as such –  Andrew Barber Feb 20 '12 at 19:21
    
@animuson It's actually 20k+ users who can vote to delete negative answers. But your point definitely applies. –  Andrew Barber Feb 20 '12 at 19:22
    
Ya, my meta question is not only not future-proof, it's not present-proof. My larger concern is what do do about all the -1 to -5 downvoted impossible/horrible/crap answers that have stagnated for a year or more? They're just sitting there like this one. Surely bringing them to meta is not the answer –  user133440 Feb 20 '12 at 19:23
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Since the OP of the answer is still active, I've posted a comment recommending he delete it himself. –  Andrew Barber Feb 20 '12 at 19:24
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@hamlin11: Just because something has a score of -2 doesn't necessarily mean it's a wrong answer; only in some cases. It could be completely valid, just not preferred, maybe it's outdated for the question, or maybe two ignorant people just downvoted and no one felt like voting it back up. There's no way to really "clean it up" automatically, and this isn't the moderators job. Hence, they stay until someone does something about it. –  animuson Feb 20 '12 at 19:24
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@hamlin11 I would say that it's not good to bring up all such answers here, because there wouldn't be room for anything else. But there are things built in to the system for this sort of thing. When you find such a post, you could also link to it in Chat to cause what is happening now to occur, also. –  Andrew Barber Feb 20 '12 at 19:25
    
Andrew, I just noticed your mention to bring it to Chat. I think that's a good solution. You may want to convert that portion of your comment to an answer for this post –  user133440 Feb 20 '12 at 19:32

2 Answers 2

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Leaving an answer that's wrong (and not merely irrelevant or nonsensical) can be useful: they're a warning, an indication of what doesn't work. It's important that the answer be downvoted, to indicate that it's wrong. Sometimes you'll find that someone posts a wrong answer, then it's deleted… and someone else posts the same wrong answer, and it's deleted… It's also important to explain (in a comment) why the answer is wrong. Since this answer has been downvoted and commented on, it's not actively doing harm, and it's a deterrent to anyone who might suggest the same method again. Having it on the site is not noise.

In addition, moderators cannot always judge the technical accuracy of posts.If the moderator who handled your flag is unfamiliar with the topic of the question, how are they to tell whether installing the interopt assemblies solves the asker's problem? (I, for one, can tell that the post makes a statement that answers the question, simply from basic skills in the English language, but I have no idea whether that statement is true.) So moderators are not supposed to delete wrong (as opposed to irrelevant or nonsensical) answers: judging the technical accuracy of answers is explicitly not in their task description.

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Do crap answers like this make SO better?

No, but it's not the moderators' job to decide on the technical accuracy of answers. Just downvote and - if necessary - comment.

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I think you miss the point.That has been done. What is the purpose of leaving this up on stackoverflow for a full year? It was downvoted, brought to a mods attention, and yet it's still there. It'll probably get removed now that I brought it to meta's attention, but what about all the other completely worthless downvoted answers, should they be cleared off , or should they sit there and confuse people and make stackoverflow worse? –  user133440 Feb 20 '12 at 19:21
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@hamlin who cares if it's there? Do you seriously think that, at -2 votes and critical comments from high-rep users, somebody is going to mistake it for a valid answer? –  Pëkka Feb 20 '12 at 19:22
    
@hamlin11, the community is perfectly able to handle this. So there is no need for moderator invention. –  Toon Krijthe Feb 20 '12 at 19:23
    
I understand that you are arguing in favor of leaving impossible, completely worthless answers up on stackoverflow for years at a time, but some people feel that doing this makes the site less of a resource to the Internet –  user133440 Feb 20 '12 at 19:24
    
Gamecast, in this example, this answer sat there for nearly a full year. Is this good? If you all judge as good, fine. I just think it's pretty worthless –  user133440 Feb 20 '12 at 19:24
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@hamlin11, you dit a great job by detecting it. And there are more. But it's still not a moderator task, if the community can handle it. We don't want the site to be completely "ruled" by moderators. –  Toon Krijthe Feb 20 '12 at 19:26
    
What is the proper course of action to handle 1-5 downvoted answers that common senses says should be removed? I'm not talking about BAD answers, I'm talking about impossible/worthless answers. Common sense. Posting to meta is not a good solution for these right? Do we let them sit for eternity? In my example, that would have never been deleted had I not brought it to meta. Sorry if I sound argumentative, but I see something broken on stackoverflow and I want to fix. it. –  user133440 Feb 20 '12 at 19:29
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@hamlin completely impossible, crap non-answers can be flagged as "not an answer" and I can tell you from experience that they get swiftly removed. However, the example you show isn't one of those IMO: without domain knowledge, it's impossible to decide whether the answer is complete nonsense or not. What you can do is take it to the right chat room as Andrew suggested above –  Pëkka Feb 20 '12 at 19:35
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Total comment fodder. Shame on you for using the quote to pad your comment into something that looks like an answer. That's a Joel tactic right there. =) –  casperOne Feb 20 '12 at 21:01
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@casper man, I run a bordello! Take your ethical considerations elsewhere. (Seriously though - I do stand behind posting it as an answer. Though Gilles' is obviously way superior and deserves the check mark.) –  Pëkka Feb 20 '12 at 21:04
    
@Pekka'sReputationBordello "Bordello" is way too classy for the operation you are running =) –  casperOne Feb 20 '12 at 21:05
    
@casper bah! We are a classy establishment. –  Pëkka Feb 20 '12 at 21:06
    
@Pekka'sReputationBordello Don't be surprised if you wake up one day and your screen name on meta is "I'mma Pimp". –  casperOne Feb 20 '12 at 21:07
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@casper Hah! Threatening me with your mod badge, are you? If you knew how many of your moderator colleagues come visit us on a regular basis.... –  Pëkka Feb 20 '12 at 21:12

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