# What to do with wrong accepted answers on old posts?

Despite the comments people have made on this answer, I must say it has already confused me a few years ago, and I recently saw it again. It has been accepted at the time, and still has >0 votes (even with all the downvotes). The user doesn't seem to be around anymore (although he has been very highly active at a time, it seems, and was having a very high rep - which adds to the confusion), so he certainly won't edit it.

Would it be good practice to edit it myself and use the strikeout style for the part that is wrong (still leaving it here so the comments and context still make sense) ? It would of course change the intent. But I'm afraid if it stays like that, it would confuse other people, as it did for me at a time.

• The accepted answer is the one that helped the OP the most, a pretty orthogonal concept to being objectively right or wrong. Jun 3 '16 at 13:39
• @PlasmaHH Mmmh... But it is often understood as a sign that says "this is good", even if it is not its definition. And it shows up as the first answer because of this, so this is not insignificant.
– dim
Jun 3 '16 at 13:48
• yeah, that showing up as the first one is at times a bit weird, but one can clearly see how much more votes the others have, and it is a distinctive feature of SE that there is one vote of a single person and a number of votes from the community. If you want to judge a q/a you have to always take that into account. Jun 3 '16 at 13:56
• Anyway, I'm afraid the meta effect is going to fix the problem. There has been an additional downvote. Once its score is <0, I don't think it can confuse anyone anymore.
– dim
Jun 3 '16 at 14:07
– Voltage Spike Mod
Jun 9 '16 at 20:57
• Jun 11 '16 at 10:18

This question comes up quite a bit on Stack Overflow and I don't think there's a 100% "right" way but I thought I'd repeat this answer by assylias that seems to cover the options pretty well:

2. downvote the wrong answer - it will hopefully work in the end
4. add a short and neutral sentence at the top of the answer to direct readers to the comment section, like in this other broken answer - if your comment is too assertive it may start an edit war
5. award a bounty to the best answer to help it stand out

It seems point 1-3 have been covered pretty well but rather than striking out the wrong parts maybe you could could add a short and neutral banner to the top of the answer. Maybe something along the lines of:

Important note:

While this historical answer has been accepted the community has raised concerns as to the accuracy of the last two points. Please consider carefully reading comments on this answer and give consideration to other answers.

I don't think there's any strict policy on it so thought I'd throw this out there as a suggestion for voting / comment.

• Good suggestion. I'll see if there are other ideas, but I'll certainly end up doing this.
– dim
Jun 3 '16 at 18:44
• I hope the irony in my short notice is not lost in translation. Jun 12 '16 at 0:02
• @Passe: While your point may be that adding a note to the top of the answer is vandalism, it doesn't give you the right to do it here. I have rolled back your edit since it significantly changed the author's intent. Jun 13 '16 at 12:39
• @olin it can't be both ways. Either it's okay to do as Peter says, or its not. Jun 13 '16 at 14:50
• @Passe: There is a big difference between Peter's active answer with 8 upvotes and 1 downvote, and the answer this thread is about. The answer in question is a very very rare case, the only one I've heard of so far on EE.SE. Peter's answer doesn't remotely fall into this category, making your edit vandalism, even to those that are willing to go along with Peter on the answer in question. Jun 13 '16 at 17:52
• See how ironic it is? Jun 13 '16 at 18:01
• @Passerby Well, I'm amazed by this mischievous chess move. I'm not sure it will change anybody's point of view, but I actually found it funny.
– dim
Jun 13 '16 at 18:59

Would it be good practice to edit it myself and use the strikeout style for the part that is wrong (still leaving it here so the comments and context still make sense)?

### Absolutely not. That's vandalism.

The notice you added is also doesn't pass the sniff test. It vandalizes the question with disagreements of the content, and tells people to avoid it. That's what down votes and comments are for!

Important Note
While this historical answer has been accepted, the community has raised concerns as to the
and give consideration to the other answers.

I... had rolled it back, but undid it, and flagged it for moderation attention instead. Let a mod sort that out.

The answer in question itself doesn't seem to that negative anyway. It's currently 17 for, 19 against. AND 4 of the down votes were essentially prompted by you in the last 3 days (See timeline for the answer). So it was positive at the time.

Only real way to deal with this aside from comments or down votes, is for high rep users to vote to delete. But that doesn't work for accepted answers, even negative score ones. Only option is to flag for moderator attention or a meta question. Mods can delete an answer even if accepted.

### Do not vandalize posts just because you or a group of people disagree with the factual information in it.

• Well, ok, don't shout so loud. That's why I asked. Had you post your answer sooner, I wouldn't have done it. I'm sorry I did the wrong thing, but, come on...
– dim
Jun 8 '16 at 7:52
• Reference for vandalism? I was under the impression that once written, answers were free for editing like everything else on the site. Jun 8 '16 at 16:26
• @sean changing the intent of a post is against the rules. When was the last time you went though the suggested edit review queue? There are limits to what a valid edit can be. Jun 8 '16 at 17:42
• @Passerby, since I don't have access to the edit queue, its a moot point. I was comparing your answer with other posts I have read on meta recently, and thinking a reference would support your post since you're making a fairly strong claim about interpreting this particular edit. Jun 8 '16 at 18:18
• @sean see meta.se meta.stackexchange.com/questions/78438/… Jun 8 '16 at 19:30
• I agree that one should not take it upon oneself to alter the meaning of someone else's answer. But nor do I think that moderators can be seen to involve themselves in this except in their role as members of the community. Suppose that moderator intervention became expected in this scenario: would it then imply the tacit agreement of the moderators with the content of an answer in allowing it to remain? The StackExchange model consciously refuses to cast moderators as curators, so I think it will create more problems than it solves to force them into this role. Jun 11 '16 at 13:47
• Exactly. Same reason Mods arn't allowed to accept or un-accept an answer on the askers behalf! Jun 11 '16 at 20:25

I'm strongly tempted to delete the answer as "not an answer", regardless of the fact that it is the accepted answer.

Kevin Vermeer hasn't been seen around here in several years, and clearly has no interest in it any more. (For that matter, the OP hasn't logged in in 6 months, either.)

Here is my reasoning:

• First of all, any part of any answer that warns about the dangers of non-isolated supplies is just noise — the OP acknowledged the danger in the question itself.

• The numbered answers that Kevin supplied are simply wrong.

Taken together, these mean that the entire post is not a valid response to the question in the first place.

I'd welcome any discussion, especially by the other moderators, before I act. There just doesn't seem to be any clear SE policy that applies directly to this situation.

• Well, there is. Look at flagging wrong, answers, the can response is that flagging should not be used for technically wrong answers. Only non-answers, like spam, vandalism, gibberish. There isn't a safety issue, and the scoring of the question was net positive, half and half, not overwhelmingly negative at the time. Deletion is not the right course. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/78438/… Jun 9 '16 at 3:48
• Especially look at diamond mod Pops answer, and comments by CM @Shog9 . Community disagreement with an accepted answer is not a valid reason for deletion. Especially when the community is split evenly and it's not an extreme case (they give an example of a troll fake response of formatting a hard drive, for us that would be like telling someone they should lick a live mains wire.) Jun 9 '16 at 3:53
• Well, damn. @W5VO jumped the gun and deleted it. Jun 9 '16 at 3:55
• The problem is that policy (of moderators deleting "wrong answers") simply leaves it up to the discretion of a single individual to decide what constitutes a wrong answer. Without debating the merits of that particular answer, that's just contrary to the idea of stackexchange sites in general. Otherwise, this might as well just be a Q&A site curated by moderators. Jun 9 '16 at 23:40
• @BeeOnRope: With technical subjects such as electrical engineering, there are statements that can be objectively judged as true or false. It isn't a matter of opinion, and no consensus is required. This is one aspect that makes SE.EE very different from many (most?) other SE sites. Letting false statements linger on the site onlly detracts from it, and the primary role of the moderator is to maintain the high quality of the site overall. Jun 10 '16 at 5:04
• Well on the contrary, most of the interesting SE sites I follow certainly fall into the category of technical subjects with objective facts - no less objective than EE, anyway. It generally seem to be an open question on SE what to do with bad answers, but there is certainly no consensus for "have a moderator delete it". Jun 10 '16 at 6:14
• I agree with @BeeOnRope. This situation should not devolve into a question of one person's claim to objectivity versus another's. (E.g., an assessment that part of an answer is "just noise" cannot be wholly objective, in my opinion.) To whatever extent StackExchange answers are authoritative, they obtain that authority by gaining the support of the community. The correct way to usurp accepted answers is hence for the community to cast doubt on their veracity, not quiet censorship. Moderator intervention risks the all-important claim to impartiality, and thus imperils future dispute resolution. Jun 11 '16 at 13:26
• @DaveTweed by that logic, shouldn't moderators accept or un-accept answers that are the factual truth, even if OP decided to accept a different one? Or if OP accepts a poor quality answer instead of a higher quality answer? Jun 11 '16 at 20:27
• @Passerby: No, of course not. A moderator can't change the "accepted" status of an answer anyway; that's totally up to the OP. I was just using that as part of my justification for considering this a non-answer, which is the sort of thing that we moderators clean up all the time. Jun 11 '16 at 23:12
• Doesn't the help text for deletion or flagging say that a non-answer is not a wrong answer, it's an answer that isn't even wrong, like spam, gibberish hayebnei36#, or attacks. It's not supper to be used for wrong answers. Considering a wrong answer as a non-answer goes against the normal standards. Jun 11 '16 at 23:45
• meta.stackexchange.com/questions/185073/… Jun 11 '16 at 23:54
• The obvious fallacy with the idea that moderators are uniquely fit to render technical judgement is the fact that the person who posted the controversial answer was himself a moderator. Jun 12 '16 at 19:21
• @ChrisStratton: No one has come close to suggesting that moderators are "uniquely fit". Moderators gain reputation in the same way as everyone else, and they can make mistakes just like everyone else. In this particular case, I'm putting my own judgement alongside that of all the other down-voters and commenters in making a decision. Jun 12 '16 at 20:39
• "A moderator can't change the "accepted" status of an answer anyway; that's totally up to the OP." @DaveTweed Of course, if you delete an accepted answer, you automatically change its accepted status. Before acting unilaterally in such a way, there should be probably a more general discussion. Jun 14 '16 at 17:00
• @MassimoOrtolano: Just to be very clear, I asked for exactly such a discussion before acting. It was another moderator (W5VO) who went ahead and deleted the answer without participating in the discussion here. Jun 14 '16 at 17:25