It appears my joke non-answer was accepted by the questioner for some reason. Obviously, this does a disservice to anyone who might run across the question later on. Obviously, I voted up the other, better answers, but my answer will still be nailed to the top of the answer stack.

My guess is that the responsible thing is to delete my dumb answer. Maybe turn it into a comment. But not everyone will be willing to do that, especially if they have received a lot of upvotes on the post. Actually, I suppose it helped my reputation to have it accepted, so the system provides an incentive to stay quiet.

What do you think I should do?

13 Answers 13


If your answer, even in jest, was the most helpful then it was the most helpful.

Don't sweat it. It's up to the questioner to decide the 'best' answer, but the next best is always just one down if people are voting well. Besides, we can use a little humor on the site and it's good to see it being defined safely.

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    If you are ignorant of something then by default you do know what what is best. This was marked incorrectly by someone who could possibly be wasting time because they are misguided. – Arthur Thomas Sep 19 '08 at 20:21
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    That's a circular argument, and essentially dismisses the idea of the "accepted answer." – Pollyanna Sep 20 '08 at 14:16
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    Agreed. It assumes the asker can't learn. – Mark C Sep 20 '10 at 4:47

If you don't have a serious answer, don't bother posting.

Jokes should be in comments, not in answers, as this site is built around question/answers. If we start letting the quality go down, the answers themselves will start to look like Digg comments (which I love, but for entertainment and not for learning and helping people learn). I love a joke as much as the next guy, but I also think this site has great potential.

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    Can't agree less. A bit of fun never hurt anyone. – Manrico Corazzi Sep 19 '08 at 20:45
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    Same. Funny answers are fine with me. If they're not useful, they will just get downvoted. – Outlaw Programmer Sep 19 '08 at 20:57
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    You sir, are boring. – mmcdole Sep 19 '08 at 20:59
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    yeah I know but somebody had to say it :) – Ryan Sep 19 '08 at 21:41
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    No ones forbidding jokes, just put them in comments and everything is fine. I totally agree with Ryan: If you don't have a serious answer, don't bother posting (as answer). – Michael Barth Jul 22 '09 at 6:31
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    What's the source of your quote? – Eric Sep 14 '09 at 19:44
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    There is no quote... ? – CloudMeta Sep 17 '09 at 17:54
  • But my jokes in comments on SO get deleted. Like the guy who asked about the NSMuttableArray, and I asked in a comment if that was an array you could put dogs into. It was deleted within a day. :( – Almo Jun 29 '12 at 16:51

Delete it. If the answer isn't really contributing useful information and wasn't taken as a joke as it should have been, there's no point in leaving it up. I've deleted a bunch of my own answers on the same grounds.

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    You can't delete accepted answers. – user154510 Nov 4 '11 at 20:15

You could edit the answer, reflecting at the end the nature of the answer (just to be clear) and recommending one of the others. That way no one loses.

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    As the accepted answer, you missed a perfect opportunity to make a good joke here.. – Arno Setagaya May 29 '09 at 20:14
  • Missed opportunity? He can always come back and edit the answer to insert his joke ;-) – tomlog May 29 '09 at 20:19

I agree, the responsible thing would be to delete it.

Of course, you could also just edit it into a compilation answer of all the correct answers.


Leave a comment on the question letting the person asking know that it was a joke (preferably before they set about doing what you've suggested). If they don't unaccept the answer, delete it yourself.


You may as well delete it now, as this question has earned you more than enough rep to account for the lost rep on the answer.

Thing is... if you delete the answer, then this question is then redundant too.... so you'll then be asking another question about what to do with THIS question...

My GOD... when will it end???

  • Don't worry. This question will probably be deleted soon and eventually, I'll lose any reputation I "earned". – Jon Ericson Sep 19 '08 at 20:53

What's wrong with your answer? Personally, reading through all the other responses, I think you probably gave the best answer. I don't think anybody does Basic in this day and age, but if you wanted to, QBasic would be a good place to start. It probably still runs on a modern Windows machine. I think Basic is a good place to start for programmers. It gives them a good starting point, at least for the first few weeks. So they don't have to worry about object oriented problems, or pointers, or all that other non-basic stuff.


Accept it as a lesson learned and move on?

  • theres no real lesson to be learnt here. Its okay in my opinion to give a joke non-answer as long as it is not disruptive and you otherwise do contribute positively. Humor goes a long way in keeping programmers sane. – Mostlyharmless Sep 19 '08 at 20:13
  • Good argument, except for the fact that this joke answer quite obviously was disruptive. – Ludvig A Norin Sep 19 '08 at 20:19

Can you edit it to include tags or otherwise make it more obvious to the casual reader that it shouldn't be taking seriously? I think there's a place for humour on here and I'd hate for people to feel obliged to delete such content.


Obviously your answer was picked for some reason. It's possible the question may have been a joke as well.


The question in question here only has 3 answers (counting yours). None of them are very long. It's not like deleting your question is going to give 50 other better answers a chance to appear - the two others will just appear slightly higher on the screen. Just leave it.

Personally there's a good chance I would have picked your answer as the best one too.


As you can't delete an accepted answer, I suggest flagging it to a moderator's attention for conversion to a comment.

However it would have been better not to post a joke answer in the first place. This just detracts from the quality of the Q&A for anyone who doesn't get the joke, especially when that joke answer is accepted.

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