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I was over on stack overflow and a user asked a pretty simple question about a HTML layout. (The question can be found here: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3196859/3-column-web-parts-page/3196934#3196934)

He accepted an answer, which, in my opinion, was a bad answer (i.e. I would never offer this advice to people starting to learn HTML / CSS.)

The user is happy, because it was an easy way to do something, but I am unhappy as I feel it is wrong and if someone searches for this question and views the answer, they will apply this method too. It is quite a common answer and I am doing to assume that it will recieve no more down votes due to low views.

The other user that answered the question with the bad answer is stuck in his/her way and voted my question down, when it is clearly a better answer than his (not that I care about the down vote, it is just the principle)

What is the best way to deal with it?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The way I see it you can do one (or more) of the following:

  1. Ignore it (but I guess as you're asking here you don't want to do that).
  2. Leave a comment in the hope that either the OP comes back and re-evaluates or the answerer corrects the post.
  3. If you have enough rep edit the answer yourself (if you don't, just suggest an edit).
  4. Down-vote it.

Obviously which you do depends on the actual answer and whether it is salvageable or just plain wrong.

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I wish I could figure out why I can't bring myself to edit an answer I don't own, beyond trivial corrections (typo, etc). Much less an accepted one. That is, after all, what we're supposed to be doing (well, beyond exercising the discretion not to do so). –  Tim Post Jul 8 '10 at 10:23
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@Tim Well, I would say we're definitely not supposed to be editing an accepted wrong answer to say something entirely different from what the author said. Leaving a comment on the answer saying why it's not a good idea seems the best way to me –  Michael Mrozek Jul 8 '10 at 14:07
    
It's not wrong, but it's just sloppy and bad. –  Nightfirecat Nov 17 '11 at 3:12
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@TimPost, although the site was designed as a kind of wiki it hasn't worked out that way in practice. Part of what motivates people is ownership of their answers, and wiki style editing breaks that. I think most people "get it" without being told. Just a day or two ago I saw someone get very upset when someone else edited their answer. –  Mark Ransom Nov 17 '11 at 4:05
    
@MarkRansom The suggested edit feature seems to have helped that a bit, since the edits are peer reviewed. I've seen a significant rise in suggested edits that make a great answer better, or bring it up to date. But yes, some people do get rather upset if they feel that the intent of their answer changed. The whole point of an edit is to avoid doing that. Otherwise, it's better to just write your own answer. –  Tim Post Nov 17 '11 at 13:26

He didn't accept a bad answer, he accepted an answer that got the job done. The answer isn't bad - it is just different to how you would do it. The fact that several other answerers said it was a good "option B" shows there was some merit to it. If you don't like tables, wait till you start doing Silverlight or WPF where grids (equivalent of tables) can be (and are) used heavily to layout pages.

You've just got to live with it. I've written some kick-ass answers in the past, sometimes spending considerable time on them, and they might get a single upvote. I've also written simple throw-away answers and got a nice amount of upvotes. That's just the way things roll.

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I stated that it got the job done, but it is a BAD method. –  danixd Jul 8 '10 at 9:52

When I seek an answer on SO, I read all the answers and use what I think suits me, not necessarily the one that the OP accepted. In that sense, acceptance is subjective to only the OP.

Let the OP accept what suits him best, he may not even be looking for the ideal solution, to start with.

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Leave a comment underneath the answer starting with "this is not correct" or something. If such a comment already exists, upvote it or add another one so it becomes clear something is wrong here. Future generations will see it.

Leave a comment underneath the question asking the OP to reconsider their choice.

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