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I was having problems reading data from a TCP port, when I stumbled across this very helpful stackoverflow post that answered my question:

how do you account for when TCP does not get all the bytes in one read

I read the accepted answer and was about to implement a solution when I realised it was akin to the one suggested in a later answer by user Janman (downvoted by 2 at the time of writing). The answer in question has a big fat "Definately Not" comment by the accepted answerer, but in my opinion it's still very valid information.

In the past, I've left my own incorrect answers in, simply because I felt they would be useful to those reading to understand how not to do something (e.g. How to pass an event object to a function in Javascript?)

So how should we treat these? The system promotes the deletion of downvoted answers (Peer pressure), but sometimes 'how not to do it' is valid information.

share|improve this question
3  
If you found the answer helpful, then you can always upvote it. There is nothing else to do. –  bluefeet Mar 26 '13 at 11:51
3  
Do nothing. There really is nothing that needs to be done here. –  Bart Mar 26 '13 at 11:51
1  
When it comes to programming and C# in general, if Jon Skeet says don't do something, definitely don't do it. –  staticx Mar 26 '13 at 11:55
    
I'm not yet seeing a broad consensus here, guys –  James Wiseman Mar 26 '13 at 12:01
    
The reason is there is not going to be a consensus... one of the pitfalls of community moderation is everyone applies the community guidelines in there own way, –  psubsee2003 Mar 26 '13 at 12:07

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Personally, since you are not the original poster of the answer, you are limited in what you can/should do. First, editing a disclaimer into the answer is wrong as it would violate the intent of the original poster. A comment (which Jon Skeet has already done) is appropriate to identify the problem. After that, you really only have 3 choices:

  1. Upvote: By doing so, you indicate that the answer is helpful (which you said yourself it was but for the wrong reasons), but it also suggests that the answer is technically accurate.
  2. Downvote: You are indicating that the answer is not helpful and/or not technically accurate.
  3. Do nothing

You have to make the decision for yourself, but my opinion is do not upvote as it because the upvote is actually for Jon's comment rather than the post itself. Downvoting would probably be best because it is a bad answer, but again, that is my opinion. Since you found the answer helpful in its own way, my suggestion would just do nothing.

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I am not exactly sure what you expect the answer to this question to be.

If you found the answer helpful, then you have the ability to upvote it and comment on why you thought it was helpful. However, upvoting suggests it was accurate and in this case it isn't.

You can place a comment even if that comment states this answer was helpful because it demonstrated what not to do.

Unfortunately, if the answer is incorrect and receives downvotes, it might be deleted even though there are comments that state This is a good reference of what NOT to do.

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2  
The OP found it helpful only because he was about to make the same mistake. You shouldn't upvote answers that are helpful because they're wrong. –  Juhana Mar 26 '13 at 11:53
    
@Juhana Then they can place a comment stating that this incorrect answer was helpful to not going down the wrong path. –  bluefeet Mar 26 '13 at 11:54
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@bluefeet: Jon Skeet already did. –  staticx Mar 26 '13 at 11:56
    
@0A0D You are right that Jon Skeet did that but there is nothing wrong with the OP adding an additional comment that this was a good reference on what not to do. –  bluefeet Mar 26 '13 at 12:14
    
@bluefeet: He didn't do that until today... really? Actually in the past hour and not until he posted a meta comment. –  staticx Mar 26 '13 at 12:17
    
If you're supposed to upvote answers that are incorrect (because they show what you shouldn't do), and you're supposed to upvote answers that are correct (because they show you what you should do), what kind of answers are downvotes for? –  Juhana Mar 26 '13 at 12:18
    
@Juhana I am not saying to upvote an incorrect post. I was explaining what options they have. I personally would not upvote an inaccurate answer but if it was helpful, I would post a comment like the OP did –  bluefeet Mar 26 '13 at 12:21
    
Ok, I see you edited the answer. (The previous version and your comment to the question did instruct to upvote.) –  Juhana Mar 26 '13 at 12:23
    
@Juhana Yes, I realized there were some strange statements in my OP so I fixed it. :) –  bluefeet Mar 26 '13 at 12:26

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