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Blatantly wrong accepted answer

If an answer is wrong (factually, logically or any way that is obvious), then how should it be dealt with ? Although such answers are usually down-voted, but is there any way to have them removed as they in no way add to the discussion/question.

Is flagging the answer for deletion the correct way to go about it ?

I ask this as I have flagged such answers twice previously [on MSO, quite a few on SO], one of which was accepted and the answer deleted (this one had 12 up-votes) while the other was rejected with a message :

declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer


Ok, so the appropriate way seems to be to downvote and comment rather than flag and delete. What then happens to quality control then ? If something is absolutely wrong, I dont feel that it in anyway adds to the quality of content on the site, and as it is, there is quite a bit of poor content on SO.

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    In the case where the answer was deleted, it was probably because there was something wrong with it other than it being factually incorrect. Perhaps it was converted to a comment. – David Z Dec 27 '12 at 6:05
  • @DavidZaslavsky I dont think so. That answer was 'answering' the question but it was factually incorrect. There were no other issues as far as i remember. – asheeshr Dec 27 '12 at 6:43
  • Well, I'm just guessing about the nature of the answer, as I didn't see it. But either there was something more wrong with that answer that made it actually not an answer, or the moderator who handled the flag was wrong to delete the answer. Mods get a lot of experience deciding what is and isn't an answer, so my guess would be that it's the first case, but again, I can't say for sure. – David Z Dec 27 '12 at 6:59
  • Don't just add the word "EDIT" to get attention for your question. Especially not merely (as your edit message suggests) to get this question reopened. – Bart Dec 27 '12 at 16:41
  • @Bart I have added more than just the word EDIT. I thought the addition was not obvious, so later i added the word EDIT as well. – asheeshr Dec 27 '12 at 17:42
  • Going by this, meta.stackexchange.com/questions/146183/… ; it seems time would be better spent starting a new post though.. – asheeshr Dec 27 '12 at 17:47
  • @AshRj Ah, sorry about that one. I saw gnat's edit and then your last edit. Btw, don't make it a new post if it's largely going to be the same. That would create a dupe and your question would most likely be closed. – Bart Dec 27 '12 at 17:57

Remember that blatantly wrong answers can be extremely valuable as well. I've found some enormously helpful nuggets in the form of down voted answers showing me that my brilliant idea of a solution wasn't all that brilliant.

If it looks as if the author of the answer actually read the question and offered something at least negligibly better than a comment, we leave the answer.

Trusted users within our community have the ability to delete negatively voted answers that might not only be technically incorrect, but also technically dangerous. While the combined moderator team has extensive domain knowledge covering most if not all of our popular tags, individual moderators only possess the knowledge that they bring to that team. We leave it up to the experts in the various tags to make deletion calls on answers, provided that they meet our quality guidelines. Our basic role is to enforce our rather high standards of quality and conduct, that keeps us pretty busy.

As Stack Overflow continues to age, our content will inevitably require more pruning and curating. Giving trusted users access to more powerful moderation tools is one step that was taken to meet that need. We're even running into situations where entire groups of highly up-voted answers are now questionable. We're still trying to figure out what to do when that happens. Still, votes and editing abilities are sufficient to deal with most problematic content.

Please don't feel like you can't flag questionable content. If there is something else wrong beyond the answer being blatantly wrong, use the 'other' reason and let us know about it in as much detail as you can, especially if it illustrates a problem we haven't seen before. There are always going to be exceptions.

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    wrong answers can be valuable. In particular, the comments explaining why they're wrong are where the value is. Wrong answers are often based on common misconceptions, and the comments can clear these up. – Barmar Dec 27 '12 at 8:16

If an answer is wrong, but still answers the question, the correct action is to downvote it. As the privileges pages notes:

When should I vote down?

Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect.

Flags for deletion are for posts which are not answers at all, and flags are typically declined when the post under consideration is in some semblance of an answer.

  • I don't think so. In my opinion it helps nothing to the community a user that goes around downvoting by the hundreds all answers that he thinks are wrong. The first question is ¿If he knows so much, why doesn't he answer those question himself instead of down voting others? That would be a real help to the person who posted the question, and to the community. There might be FEW exceptions where the answer is clearly wrong, but I don't think is as easy as: Just downvote all answers you think are wrong, specially on technical or scientific subjects. – Felipe Alameda A Dec 27 '12 at 8:21
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    @FelipeAlamedaA The quote is from an SE page, and was not penned by myself. Also, they do remark that it is for answers which are clearly incorrect--not just "I feel like this is wrong, so I'll downvote here" – simchona Dec 27 '12 at 8:27
  • That's exactly what I said and the reason for my comment is the downvote must be supported with facts in a comment or an answer, as I said. You missed that detail in your answer. My point is the downvote itself doesn't help at all. It has to be explained and supported by facts to be helpful and that's something we all know it is not happening most of the time, precisely because of the idea that the correct action is to down vote as you say. I disagree, the correct action is not to down vote, is to give the correct answer or at least to explain it in a comment. I might be wrong, of course. – Felipe Alameda A Dec 27 '12 at 9:02

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