The background for this question:

I answered this question recently.

The OP was asking about using a method that has been deprecated. He got two answers prior to mine (from users with much higher rep than me!), basically telling him not to use that method and use the new replacement method.

The answerers didn't ask what API level (it could make a difference) or if there were any other constraints, they posted no examples of how to use the new method they said should be used, or reasons to not use the method the OP was asking about... just, basically "don't use that method, use this one" (oh, and one is pretty much a link-ony answer).

So I went ahead and answered the OPs question, and went on to explain why (not in any great detail, but still a basic explanation) it was deprecated and why he might want to consider using the new method if he was able to.

Yesterday the OP accepted my answer.

On to my question. What (if anything) should I do/have done about those other answers? Downvote? Flag as not an answer (they don't answer the question at all, IMO)?

And finally, whichever is the more correct course, should I have done it earlier (if at all) since I had an answer in the mix myself?

I felt more conflicted about it before my answer was the accepted answer. Kinda like taking a hit out on the competition...

3 Answers 3


First things first: If you honestly believe the answers are not useful, downvote them. Competing or not, it doesn't really matter, what matters is if they are useful or not.

Flagging them is a little bit more tricky though, and if you decide to flag, I can't promise you the moderator handling your flag will agree with me. Initially I thought both answers were not flag worthy, but reading them a second time:

  1. The first one is just saying "don't", and the only attempt at answering the question is the vague reference in the docs.
  2. The second one does offer an alternative, but it's just a link and it doesn't really explain anything.

Tricky. I'd probably flag them both, but I must warn you that apparently the community accepts "don't do that" as a valid answer.

  • 1
    In the first answer, the alternative to the deprecated method is mentioned in the documentation quote. Neither are particularly good answers, but they do both have at least a fragment of a concrete solution.
    – jscs
    Oct 12, 2012 at 15:15
  • @JoshCaswell Friday afternoons are the worst :( You are of course absolutely correct. Now whether that tiny fragment of a concrete solution is enough to make either answer stand as an actual answer, well... I don't think so, I really dislike such answers, especially from higher rep users but fortunately it's not up to me to decide.
    – yannis
    Oct 12, 2012 at 15:23
  • And the flags were declined. "flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer". Not an answer is not a technical inaccuracy. Judging by the speed of the response, I'm wondering if the mod even looked at the answers... oh well, lesson learned.
    – Barak
    Oct 12, 2012 at 16:47
  • "Don't do that" is a valid answer, but if it's not backed up substantially with the why, then it's not an answer.
    – casperOne
    Oct 12, 2012 at 16:52
  • @Barak Well, when you flag there's always a risk your flag will be declined. As I've mentioned, "don't do that" is considered a valid answer, forget all about this and move on...
    – yannis
    Oct 12, 2012 at 16:53
  • @Barak FYI, I changed the link one to a comment. It wasn't an answer IMO, not because it says "don't", but it doesn't go into why you don't do it. There's no quality content in it that makes it an actual answer.
    – casperOne
    Oct 12, 2012 at 16:54
  • @YannisRizos Dude, I don't process flags Fri-Sun. I didn't decline them. Durr. You should know this from TL. =)
    – casperOne
    Oct 12, 2012 at 16:55
  • @casperOne Thanks... that was my point (stated badly many times apparently). Not that "don't do it" was unacceptable, but that there was no explanation to back it up.
    – Barak
    Oct 12, 2012 at 16:57

The other answers are not wrong. If the method is deprecated, one should have a very good reason to use it in new software. (Deprecated methods can be removed from future versions).

Your answer is accepted, so it is the most suitable for the OP. But other users might need to know that the method is deprecated and that there are other possibilities.

So no you shouldn't flag or downvote them.

  • 2
    One is link only and one just says "dont do that" and you don't think they're worthy of at least a downvote? (Not trying to be disagreeable, just trying to understand).
    – Barak
    Oct 12, 2012 at 14:59
  • 1
    @Barak it didn't say don't do that. It said don't do that use something else instead (which you included in your answer). So I wouldn't say its as the DV tool tip says not useful, and its certainly not actively bad which basically requires that it be downvoted. Oct 12, 2012 at 15:53

I declined both those flags. As others have pointed out "don't do that answers" are acceptable, and I felt in this case they were justified given that the OP wanted to use some deprecated API feature.

Nikolay's answer was borderline for me, and I err'd on the side of keeping it as an answer. If it had been a fairly late answer then I might have deleted.

Hope this explains my thought processes.

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