This is the answer: Setting CSS pseudo-class rules from JavaScript

The problem with this answer is that it's completely useless. I'd go so far as to say wrong. To me, the answer says "no, what you want to do isn't possible, here's some irrelevant documentation". When in fact, it is possible - just read the next three answers.

It was wrong the minute it was written, and it's been sitting around as the accepted answer for close to four years now, on a question with a not too shabby 12.5k views.

The user who asked the question hasn't been seen since he accepted the answer, so it's not like he's going to come back and change his mind.

I tried flagging the answer approximately six months ago:

Please consider deleting (or unaccepting) this answer. It simply does not answer the question, and everyone reading this question in the future would be better off if Bobince's answer was first.

The flag was declined, but there was a reason given:

declined - [..] it doesn't look off-topic enough to be outright removed, and I can't unaccept it either, sorry about that

This Meta question is highly relevant: Blatantly wrong accepted answer

Reading that question makes me wary to post this question, but I'm doing it anyway.

Can something be done?

  • 12
    Yes. Downvote. Accepted answers indicate what the OP found most useful. Votes reflect the actual quality of the answer.
    – Shawn Chin
    Jun 8, 2012 at 11:00
  • Nope. It is up to the OP to select whichever answer he deemed helpful. No matter how wrong it might be. You can downvote it, but that's about it.
    – Bart
    Jun 8, 2012 at 11:00
  • It's annoying but, meh. I've answered a question before where the only other answer is completely incorrect; it got accepted. I haven't voted on that answer (I try to let the community decide) but it has a score of -2 and mine has a score of +4. The community has made it fairly obvious which is correct no matter what the OP decided. Jun 8, 2012 at 11:01
  • We could close and delete the entire question, in the spirit of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
    – Rosinante
    Jun 8, 2012 at 11:02
  • @Ben: Lucky you, I've seen enough examples where a blatantly wrong answer was not only accepted but also upvoted (presumably by people who are just as clueless as the OP and simply upvote any accepted answer). Jun 8, 2012 at 11:06
  • @ShawnChin: I already did downvote, six months ago. The answer is still there, so I'm posting this Meta question.
    – thirtydot
    Jun 8, 2012 at 11:06
  • 1
    @Bart: In this case the user (who asked the question) hasn't even visited the site after Bobince's answer was posted. He just accepted the first answer, which turned out to be wrong.
    – thirtydot
    Jun 8, 2012 at 11:07
  • For the specific example I've now left a comment to the answerer. Might work?
    – Arjan
    Jun 8, 2012 at 11:08
  • @Arjan: I already tried that, but I deleted it before posting this question. This is what I wrote: "Is there any chance you could flag your own answer and ask a moderator to delete it? This is not a useful answer, and it's been sitting here as the accepted answer for years, on a question with over 12k views. (I already tried flagging it myself.)".
    – thirtydot
    Jun 8, 2012 at 11:09
  • @thirtydot then you've done your part. By posting this Q you'll drive more eyes (and potential dv) to the answer. Now we can only wait and if the community agrees with your verdict.
    – Shawn Chin
    Jun 8, 2012 at 11:13
  • I've never cast a delete vote faster than the one I just did.
    – thirtydot
    Jun 8, 2012 at 11:17
  • 3
    It is dead now. Jun 8, 2012 at 11:58
  • Hurray, the system works!
    – Shawn Chin
    Jun 8, 2012 at 12:01

3 Answers 3


In fact, something can be done. You can't change the accepted answer, but you can delete it so that the highest-voted answer will be at the top instead.

Moderators aren't supposed to interfere with actual answers, even if they're bad, as one told you with that declined flag.

However, the community is free to delete answers for basically any reason, including "it sucks". As we found out here, 20k users can delete an accepted answer like any other answer, if it has a negative score. So vote to delete it, and hope that others follow suit.

  • ... and it looks like that's what actually happened since the answer is gone now.
    – a cat
    Jun 8, 2012 at 12:06

Doesn't look like the user's coming back, so we can't change the acceptance tick.

Remember, the accepted answer is the one that helped the OP most. I can't see how this helped the OP most, though maybe s/he was too quick on the trigger.

You could flag, though IMO coming to meta was the best thing to do. The only thing the mod can do is delete the post, and I'm not sure if we delete wrong posts(don't think so). You can ask the user to flag to delete his own post (accepted posts cannot be self-deleted), a mod will probably act on a self-flag. Or, fix the post.

Posting to meta guarantees(well, in a case where you're correct) that the post will get downvotes and will fade. It has faded.

Anybody from the future will see the downvoted, faded post, and will scroll down, seeing the nicely upvoted post by the crazy regex guy.

Remember, if someone has the same problem, that person will most probably read more than one answer. And nobody will really look at a half-invisible answer with a nice negative number next to it, even if it's up top and has a green thingy.

So there's nothing to worry about now. Next time, post to meta again :)


I made it correct, visible when someone approves the edit.

  • It doesn't make sense to attempt to fix the answer now. It's already been downvoted to oblivion thanks to my question. Besides, your fix isn't entirely accurate. You also need the .addRule() syntax for old IE, and if you add that you're basically just copying Bobince's answer in an inferior way. The jQuery part of your suggestion misses the point of the question.
    – thirtydot
    Jun 8, 2012 at 11:38
  • @thirtydot: That's not oblivion! I have seen answers with more then 50 downvotes and questions with more then 110 here on meta. Jun 8, 2012 at 11:40
  • @thirtydot: I know.. I'm just making an outright wrong post into a partially correct one. Leave the downvotes there. Yes, I did basically copy bobince's answer, but, like I said, I'm not trying to make a great post. :\ Jun 8, 2012 at 11:41

Honestly, the best thing you can do is... well, what you just did. Bring it up on Meta.

Remember: Moderators exist to do things that the community can't. Therefore, a moderator won't just delete it. The power of a moderator to delete answers is reserved for cases where the answer is not an answer at all. When the user just posts a link, or if the OP says "thanks!" like this is a forum. The answer does answer the question, however wrongly.

Similarly, it is not the moderators' place to decide if a user's right to accept any answer they choose should be revoked.

It's up to the community to deal with wrong answers. We have that power. Downvotes, and for 20K+ users, we can even vote to delete. And the best way to let the community know about something being amiss is to bring it up here.

This slipped through the cracks. Just let us know, and we'll take care of it from there.

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