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I couldn't quite find anything that addressed this (I assume I searched poorly).

This old-ish question regarding Java's integer object caching got a new answer yesterday. I felt the answer completely missed the point of the question, duplicated information already contained in the accepted answer (and others), and actively detracted from the page by being noise.

I commented, hoping it would encourage the answerer to delete, or at least revise to address the fundamental question, but was met with... disagreement regarding the nature of the question. I'm almost certain my analysis was correct, but I didn't downvote the answer (yet).

For me, part of SO's value is as a repository. As such, I think gardening is appropriate (and necessary), and it vexes me when needless, (IMO) off-topic answers are given to essentially closed topics.

  • What should I have done/do, if anything?
  • Is there a reference that would give me further info?
  • Is it just OCDish that I care about the One Answer to Rule Them All notion in some cases?

Edit I guess it's just a phase; a number of additional answers to old questions have popped up: bytecode, overriding main, overriding main again with the same answer, what does main belong to (third mostly-identical answer), and more about bytes.

* I also just feel for the guy, which probably shouldn't enter in to it, but it's how I am.

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Downvote and be done with it (if you feel so inclined), I'd say. –  Bart Jun 10 '12 at 16:44
    
I've left a comment as well, remind me to downvote in a few hours when I have more votes. –  Kevin Jun 10 '12 at 17:24
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In this case, Dave, the answer isn't even factually correct; see the comment I left along with my downvote. –  Ernest Friedman-Hill Jun 10 '12 at 20:26
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There is no concept of closed topics. (Assuming a valid question in the first place). If there's a better answer to be had 37 years after the initial post, so be it. Vote down the bad answer, certainly, but there's no difference between a bad old answer and a bad new answer. They're both in need of weeding. –  James Moore Jun 11 '12 at 1:00
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@JamesMoore Updated title to be more explicit. That the question is old is immaterial to the point. (Although to me there actually is a difference, because someone firing off an answer to a fresh question with no answers or an accepted answer is IMO in a different mental space than someone deliberately answering a three-year old question with an accepted, good answer. But that's a separate issue, and I incorrectly made the focus on the "old" rather than the "superfluous". –  Dave Newton Jun 11 '12 at 1:03
    
(@JamesMoore Actually there is a concept of closed topics; questions can be protected, which confers some sense of closed, but not entirely.) –  Dave Newton Jun 11 '12 at 1:08
    
Should have been more clear - I only mean that old != closed, as opposed to idea on lots of forums where old == closed and it's considered rude to resurrect an old post. In any case, I think that flagging the bad answer is a good idea, and judging from the lack of anything newer than '09 on that post, it's already gone. –  James Moore Jun 11 '12 at 1:10
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@JamesMoore Even then, it's "rude" only if it doesn't add value. Questions whose answers have changed, or there's been new understanding, etc.--neither SO nor anywhere I've seen has an issue with that. My problem in this case is that these answers are specifically not adding new, useful info (IMO) and are useless, even incorrect (for example, the bytes stuff) noise. I don't think we disagree. –  Dave Newton Jun 11 '12 at 1:12
    
Yes, I think we agree. –  James Moore Jun 11 '12 at 1:13

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

If the new answer is already saying what said in the other answers, and it contains something that is wrong, then you can down-vote it, as it is not helpful.

There is nothing wrong with answering questions with an accepted answer, but the new answer should add something new, and not repeating what already said. If it reports changes introduced in the new version of the language, or the framework, that would be fine.

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My hesitation for the instant downvote was because it's not "egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended, or clearly/dangerously incorrect" (paraphrased from downvote privilege). In this case it was definitely repetitious, and non-responsive (IMO, another reason for hesitation). –  Dave Newton Jun 10 '12 at 17:12
    
Considering that there is already an accepted answer, the new answer is repeating what already said, and it comes later in the party, I would say it is not much helpful. Before posting a new answer, the user should have checked the existing answers. –  kiamlaluno Jun 10 '12 at 17:25

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