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Add the ability to mark an answer as incorrect

Give the OP the ability to indicate that an answer is not an acceptable answer. That is to say, even though an answer might possibly contain accurate, factual, interesting and/or valuable information, the PO may want to indicate that for whatever reason this answer does not answer the question and will not be accepted.

As part of this feature, the answer count shown on question lists will not include any rejected answers. For example, if a question has three answers and two of them are rejected, the question will be displayed in lists as having only one answer.

This will address the problem where an OP gets an answer that s/he feels doesn't answer their question, but the question appears on lists (like the interesting questions list) as having an answer. When that happens, many experts who might otherwise look at the question to see if it needs an answer will skip over the question because they think it already has an answer.

Note that rejected answers should be left visible because they may contain very good information. If it is the case that a rejected question could be edited after being rejected, then the OP should have the ability to un-reject an answer that does answer the question after an edit.

I ask for this feature on behalf of an OP who asked me to delete my answer because (1) he thought it didn't answer his question and (2) it was keeping people from looking at his question.

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marked as duplicate by Pops, Toon Krijthe, kiamlaluno, Bo Persson, blahdiblah Oct 3 '12 at 20:48

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
    
I believe a better idea is to educate askers that having 'an answer' does not stop them from getting other answers. –  Andrew Barber Oct 3 '12 at 17:46
    
@Mysticial: not quite. The link you gave talks about answers that are not correct. I'm talking about answers that are correct, but don't answer the question. –  Chris Gerken Oct 3 '12 at 17:47
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@AndrewBarber: The behavior problem here is with potential answerers who skip over an answered question thinking it already has an acceptable answer. –  Chris Gerken Oct 3 '12 at 17:49
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You would have to demonstrate that what you fear is actually happening. The existence of questions with more than one answer would seem to be proof to the contrary. This is why, by the way, the number of answers is displayed in a different color based on whether one is accepted, or not. –  Andrew Barber Oct 3 '12 at 17:49
    
The existence of answers doesn't stop me from clicking through to the question. Nor do accepts. If anything, I click through those to see if anything is worth upvoting - and occasionally I'll add an answer if I feel I can do better than the existing ones (and if I'm in the mood to do so). –  Mysticial Oct 3 '12 at 17:52
    
@AndrewBarber: I know I do it sometimes when I can tell the answer will take more time and effort than I have and it looks like there's already an answer. –  Chris Gerken Oct 3 '12 at 17:53
    
@ChrisGerken Stop doing that. ;) I scan existing answers to see if I have something useful extra to contribute, but I never think of not answering simply due to there being existing answers. Heck... I've posted answers to questions that already have another answer accepted, because I still thought I had a better answer. –  Andrew Barber Oct 3 '12 at 17:54
    
@Mysticial: But don't you agree that it's very hard to decide if the OP will deem one of the answers acceptable? This will help everyone distinguish between the OP not having come back to accept an answer and the OP having already rejected the answer(s) already there. –  Chris Gerken Oct 3 '12 at 17:57
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You can; it's called a comment –  Ben Brocka Oct 3 '12 at 18:00
    
@ChrisGerken What about the OP not coming back to accept or reject answers? –  Anna Lear Oct 3 '12 at 18:03
    
@AnnaLear: Do you really want to open that can of worms here? :) Seriously, the whole question answering process can be modeled by a state machine and this feature would make it clearer (albeit still not definitive) as to what state a question is in. –  Chris Gerken Oct 3 '12 at 18:09
    
An example is contained in this question. A user posted an answer, but then later someone else came and posted a more complete answer. Before I saw the more extensive answer, I was thinking of adding the information the second answered did, there. –  Andrew Barber Oct 3 '12 at 18:09
    
@ChrisGerken Yes, I do... since it's kind of an important consideration if a part of your argument is "This will help everyone distinguish between the OP not having come back to accept an answer and the OP having already rejected the answer(s) already there". –  Anna Lear Oct 3 '12 at 18:13
    
@AndrewBarber: But the question isn't how folks on MSO generally behave, it's how does the broader community on SO generally behave –  Chris Gerken Oct 3 '12 at 18:22

2 Answers 2

I ask for this feature on behalf of an OP who asked me to delete my answer because (1) he thought it didn't answer his question and (2) it was keeping people from looking at his question.

The OP should just have downvoted the answer, along with a constructive comment, if possible. This way the question remains "unanswered" (it's only considered "answered" when there's at least an answer with at least a score of 1). As long as a question doesn't have an accepted answer or even when it's considered "unanswered", this surely doesn't keep people from looking at the question.

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Right now on my view of the front page of Stack Overflow, there are 29 questions with 1 answer, and 11 with multiple answers, including 3 that have 3 answers. There are 50 with no answers at all.

This is anecdotal evidence that suggests, to me, that there is no problem here - except that some novice users seem to think that having an answer precludes getting more answers.

First, keep in mind that the answers are there for more than just the original asker; they are there for anyone who finds the question in the future. We already give weight to the original asker in that they can 'accept' one answer out of the rest.

If anything, the lack of an accept should be what you are looking for. But personally, that does not always even stop people from posting answers.

Basically; I don't see any evidence that there is any problem here aside from user education.

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