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I don't like leaving bad things lying around in public. When answering questions on Stack Overflow, like everyone else, I sometimes jump the gun, or the question was just too vague or incomplete at first to give the correct answer, or I remembered something wrong, and the answer gets downvoted. No harm done, I have a reason to look into it again, and either I see why it got downvoted and agree, or just disagree but still accept that the community didn't appreciate my answer, and in both cases I delete it so I don't have a negative answer in my history. Topic clean, no pollution in the database, everybody happy. More people do the same.

Until a little while back someone jumped the gun on me, and downvoted a perfectly factually correct answer, which also later got accepted by the OP as the solution to his problem. Doesn't matter which question, I was glad to be of help, but now I have an accepted answer with -1 score in my history. And that bothers me. I keep wanting to delete it, but that'd mean I'd be 'breaking' the question for all of eternity, taking away its accepted and correct solution. That's a problem, and one that has been mentioned back in 2009 already too.

So - discussion question: should we consider doing something with situations like this? I don't really have a 'solution' - I've considered whether it would be a good idea to have accepted answers always have a minimum score of 0, but sometimes really dramatically bad answers are getting accepted, yet did solve the OP's problem. Still makes them dramatically bad, and deserving of a negative score.

Should we instead as a community frequently review negatively scored accepted answers to see whether they really need to be negative? Through the "Low quality posts" review queue? Manual topic like the previously linked old one?

I've whipped up a query listing all questions of the past 30 days that have an accepted answer from another user with negative score - 137 results on the current dump.

Other opinions are welcome :)

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  • Perhaps you should not be so upset at a -1 score? :-) Is this really a problem at all? Jun 4 '13 at 23:34
  • I'm not upset, just a perfectionist - I clean my crap up after myself ;) An accepted answer with -1 score still nets +13 rep net, so it's not about that either. Whether it's a problem, not sure, hence the discussion. I'm not suggesting a solution, I'm just observing that there are 137 cases each month at least since the data dump doesn't include cases where people did delete their own answer because it was voted negative. I doubt those are all deserving to be negative for all of history to show them like that. Jun 4 '13 at 23:37
  • The goal here is to help people solve their problems, answering the questions. If you got an 'accepted' mark, the OP feels they were helped. Bonus points if you help future visitors too; they'll vote on the answer. Leave the answer be, if it is correct and helpful to others, it'll gain upvotes eventually. Jun 4 '13 at 23:38
  • I just clicked some random results from the query in fields I'm proficient in, and upvoted about half of the accepted answers since they are technically correct and acceptable as solutions. That's actually more than I expected, and does qualify it as a 'problem' I think. Jun 4 '13 at 23:46
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    You know that you can't delete your answer while it is accepted? It would have to be unaccepted for you to be able to. Or find a mod or three 20K users to delete it. The system already discourages deleting negatively scored accepted answers. Jun 5 '13 at 0:03
  • Funny, I didn't know that indeed - it shows the 'delete' button and when clicked it asked for permission, so I assumed it to be. Makes it worse imho because you can no longer correct your own mistake but keep receiving negative rep for it. Jun 5 '13 at 1:20
  • That some negatively voted answers are accepted by the OP just means that people disagree occasionally, that's all.
    – user102937
    Jun 5 '13 at 1:31

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