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I just spent the last few hours implementing and testing a HTML parsing solution based on a library that was pointed to in a top answer, only to find out that the recommended HTML tidying library is inflexible and does't handle HTML containing undeclared XML namespaces; for example the nice fancy microformats everyone is using today.

The answer was good in 2008 and I've added a better answer now, but I am unable to remove my upvote and others are doomed to walk this path in the future.

I'm sure that this will be closed as "as designed" or a duplicate, but I'm venting anyway because it sucks.

If votes are immutable, should we refrain from voting on a seemingly helpful answer in future until we've actually implemented and fully tested the solution? What about four years later when the technologies change and this bad information is polluting the Internet?

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Answer in question: stackoverflow.com/a/289167/830639, OP posted an answer stackoverflow.com/a/9441191/830639 –  simchona Feb 25 '12 at 4:54

2 Answers 2

The answer was good in 2008 and I've added a better answer now, but I am unable to remove my upvote and others are doomed to walk this path in the future.

Yeah, this is annoying. However, there's a handy loophole - with a very nice potential side-benefit...

If the post is edited after you vote on it, you're free to change your vote. This is true even if you're the one who edited it!

So in this case, edit the answer to include a mention of the deficiencies of the library, and then remove (or reverse...) your up-vote. Not only will you then have voted appropriately, but you'll have improved the situation for the next person to run across that answer!

See: Vote too old to be changed, unless post is edited

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It sounds to me like he acted upon a post which has upvotes, only to find out it was outdated. Then he posted an answer himself. At least, that's what I got from it. –  animuson Feb 25 '12 at 4:52
    
I've quoted for context. –  Shog9 Feb 25 '12 at 4:55
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I wish people would feel less icky about doing that, it really does help improve the quality of information. –  Tim Post Feb 25 '12 at 6:54

Didn't you ever learn to look at when things were posted while evaluating how helpful an article might be? You know, along with who wrote it and other things.

This won't ever be "bad information polluting the internet." It's history. This is how things did work before. That's like saying a history book should be thrown away because it covers years too far back. Different historical pieces of information are more interesting and useful to different people. What if some poor chap wants to write an article on the evolution of HTML? It'd be nice to know what information was accurate then versus what information was not accurate.

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The history of history is certainly an interesting topic, but reading old history books does not necessarily teach you accurate history. Yes, the events themselves didn't change, but our knowledge of them most certainly has evolved. You're only doing yourself a disservice not to keep up with those late developments. Often, old theories are modified, or even rejected and replaced entirely, by new information that is acquired. Likewise, if you are trying to solve a practical programming problem, information on the history of HTML is unlikely to be useful: you want something current and relevant. –  Cody Gray Feb 25 '12 at 9:54

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