So, looking at the following question:

Login failed for user 'IIS APPPOOL\ASP.NET v4.0'

The accepted answer is harmful advice and is leading people into misconfiguring their website. Other than leaving appropriate comments and downvotes, is there more that can be done to discourage the use of such answers?

  • 6
    Nope. Comment. Downvote. Perhaps post better answer. Move one. Feb 13, 2014 at 12:47
  • Those seem like the appropriate thing to do, what would you rather happen? Feb 13, 2014 at 12:47
  • 1
    I'm not sure this is a dupe since it's asking about harmful answers rather than just plain wrong. Certainly very closely related though
    – Flyk
    Feb 13, 2014 at 13:37

2 Answers 2


In general you should not flag it for a ♦ moderator's attention. You might get lucky and the moderator might do something with the answer, but this is purely at their discretion - their job is not to determine the correctness of answers. This problematic answer is still an answer, it's just one with ramifications if things go wrong.

Unless you are a low rep user (which you are not) you are already equipped to deal with this (as detailed in the linked duplicate and by Martijn in the comments). Remember that StackOverflow is a community driven site - you are totally allowed to jump in and correct inaccuracies - even if they have a large amount of up votes.

I have since added a warning directly in to the answer, and others have left warnings in the comments. If people are stupid enough to ignore those then there is nothing you can do to save them.


If the answer is truly harmful and will cause "damage" rather than just being wrong, you could flag the answer for a moderator's attention using a custom flag to detail exactly why it's harmful and they can then decide what to do with it. If your definition of "harmful" is "well that's not how I would do it", see below.

If the answer is merely wrong, downvote it, put a comment on it clearly explaining why it's wrong, maybe even contribute your own, correct, answer so that there is an example of (question context) being done right, and move on.

At the end of the day, it's the asker's prerogative to accept whichever answer helped them the most and short of truly harmful content, it's nobody else's place to tell them to do otherwise.

  • Yep, this one's harmful. Will flag.
    – spender
    Feb 13, 2014 at 12:52
  • 1
    A moderator isn't going to be able to do anything with such a flag. Posting a harmful answer doesn't warrant mod deletion, merely downvotes and comments.
    – Servy
    Feb 13, 2014 at 15:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .