Today I came across a very popular question with 153,899 views. One of the answers suggested something which I knew was not possible (I was in doubt, but a quick test proved I was right): https://stackoverflow.com/a/9784234

The answer is plain wrong:

  • It adds a second parameter to a function that only takes one (this is legal in JavaScript, but the parameter is ignored)
  • It suggests the second parameter can be used to specify the format. (again, it does nothing)
  • It only works because the sample string in the answer is already in the supported format - which ignores the OP's real problem. Any other string and any custom format will fail.

Normally, I'd add my comment and walk away, but here we have a very popular question, a very bad answer, and the poster is gone (has not been seen since May - which to me suggests he is dead). If that is not bad enough, the answer has 27 upvotes, for a made-up feature.
I can't even edit the answer to correct it - it really has nothing...

What should be done here? Can the answer be deleted?

  • One of the comments says it worked perfectly. EDIT: It's a relatively new answer. Perhaps there's some versioning difference.
    – Mysticial
    Aug 29, 2012 at 16:35
  • 6
    As per Kobi's response comment, it looks like it works by coincidence based on a particular input. Aug 29, 2012 at 16:36
  • 6
    Sadly, even if the downvotes manage to balance out the upvotes, the user would still be left with a residual +216 rep, plus the Good Answer badge, from the completely incorrect answer...the entirety of his activity on the site.
    – saluce
    Aug 29, 2012 at 17:16
  • 1
    ... and that's why it should be deleted too. The owner definitely won't delete it on his/her own, and it's blatantly wrong, so...
    – Ry-
    Aug 30, 2012 at 1:26
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    Wow, it reached 26 downvotes - score of 1! Thanks everyone!
    – Kobi
    Aug 30, 2012 at 5:37
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    @saluce: Well, he hasn't been seen in a few months, and being unregistered his browser cookies should have expired by now so, oh well. Just a bunch of numbers and bitmaps is all it is. Aug 30, 2012 at 15:37
  • 2
    Okay, it is gone.
    – Ry-
    Aug 30, 2012 at 17:32
  • @sal - Can't take the badge away - they are non refundable ;) But the rep is gone along with the answer.
    – Lix
    Aug 30, 2012 at 18:02
  • 1
    Thanks everyone again! That answer really bothered me. (Also - Yay! I got my -1 point back! Sure, I have 44,938, but I like each one)
    – Kobi
    Aug 30, 2012 at 19:55

2 Answers 2


What can you do? You can downvote it. You can also make a post on meta (example) to draw attention to this (honestly, quite funny) situation in an attempt to get more people to notice the post and possibly downvote it. You can also draw attention to it by posting links on Facebook, Twitter, other external sites, in chat, etc.

You shouldn't flag it, or attempt to have it deleted. Being wrong isn't grounds for removing a post, it should simply be downvoted. You do have the problem that 27 people upvoted it (apparently in error) but that doesn't actually change anything.

You other option is to upvote better, competing answers, or to provide your own better competing answer and have it upvoted more such that it reduces the visibility of the poor answer (because honestly, who reads past the first and maybe second answer anyway, unless they don't work).

Edit: There have been 9 12 27 downvotes (including mine) since this question was posted here on meta, putting it at a net total of 0.

  • I edited one of the answers to improve it. I usually prefer to comment and try to convince the OP to delete/edit the answer, but here it is hopeless. But, people here are really quick, and it looks like we might get enough downvotes! Yay Meta! (for the recorder, I also flagged some non-answers and protected the question - it needed some TLC)
    – Kobi
    Aug 29, 2012 at 16:53
  • Note that if the answer has a saldo of at least 1 downvote, then 20K users can vote for delete. With 3 delete votes, the answer will be deleted (and once that happens, then all downvoters will get their -1 back).
    – user138231
    Aug 29, 2012 at 16:57
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    @Chichiray The answer shouldn't be deleted. That's a part of my post. It doesn't matter how wrong it is, that's not justification for deletion. The answer itself doesn't meet any qualifications for deletion.
    – Servy
    Aug 29, 2012 at 16:59
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    I wasn't implying that it must be deleted, but that there is a possibility to get the answer ultimately deleted by the community.
    – user138231
    Aug 29, 2012 at 16:59
  • @Chichiray And I'm saying that it shouldn't be deleted. If it was deleted, it would be an error and I would expect all of the 20k users who are able to vote to delete to know better.
    – Servy
    Aug 29, 2012 at 17:00
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    @chi - There is no real need to delete the post. All that needs to happen is to balance out the votes. If that post had a score of -2, this question would not have been asked in the first place.
    – Lix
    Aug 29, 2012 at 17:01

What can be done - exactly what you are doing : Drawing attention to it

One more thing that is definitely a possibility is such an active tag would be to bring it up in the JavaScript chat room.

I know doing that is borderline voting rings but in this case we have an answer truly in need of some balance. It's nothing against the clearly less active original poster, its all about the content and the validity of the answer.

In most cases things like these don't happen but here we have a wrong answer that somehow got quite a bit of positive feedback. The only reason for this to happen in this case IMO, is that the date format is simply widely used, MM/dd/yyyy is pretty standard wherever you go...........in the US.
Personally I'm used to the day being first but that's a flame war for another site at another time.

Should this post be deleted? I don't think so...There is no real need to delete the post. All that needs to happen is to balance out the votes. If that post had a score of -2, this question would not have been asked in the first place


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