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I've just come across an edit to an accepted answer (link here), which adds the following to the top of the accepted answer:

This answer is incorrect. Please downvote it.

As Sardaukar's comment says, Visual Studio always blindly uses the last HintPath. Alex's answer is correct (please upvote it).

This seems very wrong to me, but before I rollback the edit, I just wanted to check with the wider community the full best course of action.

I've seen the other questions (and duplicate questions) and answers on meta that cover what to do with the answer, which range from correcting the answer, to commenting and downvoting it.

I'm thinking of adding another comment to the user who answered it asking if he would delete it? He'd get a nice badge, but lose quite a bit of rep :).

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Short answer is "of course not." But there are cases where the alleged community of experts that SO is flocks in the wrong direction - such as answers that have become obsoleted and wrong - and a lone expert gets it right. At present our community doesn't seem particularly good at handling these cases. –  djechlin Apr 4 '13 at 22:33

2 Answers 2

up vote 39 down vote accepted

No.

It might seem like a reasonable step, but what's to stop people doing this everywhere? The person who made the edit could have left a comment instead and used his own down vote capability (I'd assume he did down vote). In certain cases a responsible and knowledgeable editor could also correct and improve an answer, but this edit is effectively vandalism.

Rather than roll the edit back I would flag it for mod ♦ attention, as a mod will be able to message the user responsible.

Update:
just to distill some of the detail from Anna's comments below... for this particular case the editor can be @ notified so the edit can be rolled back or eliminated and a comment left for the "infringing" editor (which Anna has done). This should be sufficient to remediate the problem and a mod flag won't be necessary.

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I just corrected the edit and will leave a comment for the user in a minute. No mod involvement necessary, since editors can be notified via @-replies. :) –  Anna Lear Apr 4 '13 at 22:14
    
@AnnaLear It was appropriate to edit the post to say anything like that at all?? –  ɥʇǝS Apr 4 '13 at 22:16
    
@AnnaLear Thanks, that's a useful tip - I didn't realise editors could also be @ notified. –  slugster Apr 4 '13 at 22:17
    
@Seth What? No. Editing the answer to correct it is fine, which is what I think the disclaimer does now. Short of completely rewriting it to be the exact opposite - which would drastically change the author's intent and meaning - this is the best we can do. Telling folks how to vote, however, is right out. All in all, this isn't different from some edits folks make to their own posts once they realize their mistake: they leave the original for posterity and put up a correction alongside it. –  Anna Lear Apr 4 '13 at 22:18
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@AnnaLear What I meant was, should you (as someone other than the original answerer) edit it to say it's incorrect? –  ɥʇǝS Apr 4 '13 at 22:21
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@Seth In this case, I don't have a big problem with it. In this situation an answer is either true or it's not and the question is old. The accepted answer is old enough and upvoted enough that a competing (and correct) answer can't pass it reliably or become accepted in its place, so if we want to help future visitors out, editing is reasonable. This doesn't mean, of course, that it's okay to make edits like this on everything or to be disrespectful about it (by attacking the answerer or something along those lines, for example). –  Anna Lear Apr 4 '13 at 22:26
    
And with all THAT said, I may be wrong. If y'all disagree, you can edit further or roll my edit back. :) –  Anna Lear Apr 4 '13 at 22:30
    
@AnnaLear - With the caveat that I always like your answers and I respect your position in the SE community, let me play devil's advocate... 1) Do you know that's the wrong answer? A handful of comments proves very little. 2) Since there are indeed several comments on the page indicating that it is wrong, as well as alternate solutions, there is plenty of guidance for the discerning reader. 3) The question/answer pertains to something benign; the question wasn't about health, safety, or security. –  Tim Medora Apr 4 '13 at 22:51
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(continued) 4) As a moderator, if you really feel strongly about it, you have the ability to contact the poster and ask for review/removal, or to delete outright. 5) I think it sets a precedent that might be undesirable. 6) Having, said all of that, it does sometime seem that we need the ability for more technical review of both questions and answers. Sorry for the novel in comments :) –  Tim Medora Apr 4 '13 at 22:52
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@Tim 1) In this specific case, yes. Or at least I'm reasonably sure, if my recollection of DLL hell from a past job holds up. 2) Since other guidance already exists, there's little harm in making it more prominent. 3) Sure, but that attitude is easy to devil-advocate further into "with minor exceptions nothing is life or death here, so why even vote?" 4) The user will be notified of the edits and can adjust from there. Mod messages are for infractions, not day-to-day stuff. Deleting a wrong answer isn't great - moderators aren't asked to moderate correctness and shouldn't be expected to. ... –  Anna Lear Apr 4 '13 at 23:02
    
@TimMedora ... Me being a moderator/employee in this case is incidental. I'd have made the same edit if I weren't either. 5&6) This I agree with. This is a grey area that requires a judgement call. Mine is based on professional expertise (being able to tell the correct answer is correct) and some reasoning about the voting/community mechanics that may or may not hold up, though I like to think it does. :) I wouldn't even attempt to establish a formal policy, and I bet there will be a situation similar to this one some day where I'll make a completely different decision. :) –  Anna Lear Apr 4 '13 at 23:03
    
@AnnaLear - fair enough; appreciate your response. I definitely agree with good judgement and case-by-case evaluation makes sense. –  Tim Medora Apr 4 '13 at 23:26

No.

The main mechanic of Stack Exchange is to allow people to downvote an answer which is bad which will make it this sink to the bottom and to upvote a good answer to make it float to the top. If an answer is incorrect, leave a comment explaining to the poster that their answer is wrong (say it nicely, no one wants to be lectured on Stack Exchange). Let the community downvote posts for themselves if they want to, without a big sign at the top of a post telling them to.

It's not fair to have an answer you post plastered with a line of text saying that it's wrong and that people should downvote it, instead you should comment, downvote for yourself and hope that others will follow suit.

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