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It drives me nuts when people don't read a question, than then respond to it incorrectly. An example: On Programmers, someone asked the etiquette of forking a project. Rather than discussing that, the responses were about how to actually create the fork.

I get down voted for actually answering the question that was asked. Someone else gets up voted for answering the wrong question. That response could have just been "RTFM"...

I also see too many (and google doesn't help with this) unusable answers to questions. I google for "how to xyz", I get "so and so wrote an article on "axu". But it gets up voted, google picks up on it and nobody bothers to actually write a correct answer.

Can't we add a button or something to flag answers like questions are? To me, bad answers seem to be worse than bad questions. If this wasn't the best site, I'd so go to another site.

PS. (off topic) Can we have a programmer ethics question board?

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Isn't that what the downvote button is for? –  Mysticial Jun 21 '12 at 2:44
    
Exactly my point here... Did you read my question? It's about getting an answer that matches the question... I suppose if nobody actually really reads the question, than any answer would be acceptable. –  Paul Jun 21 '12 at 2:50
    
4 down votes, 0 comments :( –  Paul Jun 21 '12 at 2:59
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What do you mean "4 downvotes 0 comments?" Did you read the comments? Mystical's point is spot on. If you don't answer the actual question... that's what the downvote button is for. –  Anthony Pegram Jun 21 '12 at 3:02
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Meta Programmers would be a far more appropriate place to discuss the specific question and its answers. That said, you seriously need to calm down... –  Yannis Jun 21 '12 at 3:04
    
Meh - Its not productive, leave it and just move on. The "what should I do" questions are always subjective compared to "break/fix" questions. –  Jeremy Thompson Jun 21 '12 at 3:07
    
FYI, voting on Meta is different than on SO. Upvotes and downvotes are considered to simply mean agreement and disagreement, rather than reflecting the quality of the question. And @Mysticial had a completely relevant point: The community, not moderators, is supposed to be the main arbitrator of whether an answer is correct and on-topic. –  Justin Morgan Jun 21 '12 at 4:35
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10 downvotes for all the bold abuse. –  meagar Jun 21 '12 at 4:44
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Agree on the bold abuse. It does nothing to emphasize the important parts and does not make your question more clear. IMO it makes the question look messy and seem more like a rant before having read the question. –  Bart Jun 21 '12 at 5:13
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I just thought of something: When you say "flag", do you mean "flag for moderator attention"? Or some kind of special downvote that includes a reason? "Flagging" an answer generally means calling moderator attention to it, because of a severe violation of the FAQ. –  Justin Morgan Jun 21 '12 at 5:17

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You mean something like this?

enter image description here

Note: In the interest of minimizing irony, I scrutinized your question pretty hard before deciding this covers the feature you're proposing. That's a screenshot from the live site.

Anyway, what you're talking about is, just as ** Mysticial**'s comment said, exactly what downvotes are for. The community is supposed to do the heavy lifting of policing the site, and if they vote a certain way, you can't second-guess their motives.

It's not like I haven't disagreed with votes I've seen, but all I can do is add my vote and the most persuasive comment I can. Who am I to overrule them? SO works by consensus, not fiat.

By the way, moderators aren't there to decide which votes are justified, either. It's not their place, and they haven't got the time anyway.

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See, I like this answer. I can read it and go Doh, I don't know why I missed that. –  Paul Jun 21 '12 at 12:20

Strictly speaking, your answer is incorrect and the down votes it received justified.

The question is asking about the forking etiquette on GitHub, a service that's using git, and your answer discusses forking etiquette in general:

Etiquette would be to contact the original author first. Talk with that person about changes you would like to make. It's possible that you and the author would agree, or find a way that things could be turned on/off...

Creating a fork, and putting it on github is just going to cause confusion. ie, which is the original code, which is more supported? Also, as you indicated, the issue of merging the original authors changes with yours. If you are doing significant changes (which would justify a fork), it could take quite a bit of work to keep them in sync.

It's a subtle difference, very easy to miss, but a difference nonetheless, and when you realized it you removed your sarcastic comment from the question and edited your answer to be a bit more inline with the question. Kudos for that, but you really need to remember that you were the one who did what you accused others of, namely not reading the question and responding to it incorrectly.

Next time one of your answers gets down voted, stay calm and re-read the question just in case you missed something - I'm not assuming there will be a next time, but just in case ;)

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If a user doesn't answer a question well, it won't be upvoted. Likewise, if an answer is off base or unhelpful it will be down voted. No flags, in the manner you are suggesting, are necessary.

Furthermore, I can assure you, unless somebody is trolling SO for fun, nobody is down voting you for "actually answering the question". Your answers are down voted for the reasons I just discussed.

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