I was just reading this question, and it made me wonder about something.

Let's say you see a question. There's an accepted answer, which OP clearly has indicated is correct.

Now, suppose you can think of another story which also fits very well. Are you encouraged to answer? It answers the text in the question well, but you know that it will be wrong, from the point of view of the asker.

On the positive side, other people may find the question through Google, SE search, etc. And your answer may very well be the story they had in mind.

I personally am not sure if this is a good idea or not (although I did see some users doing it in the example linked to above), so I am asking the community.

How does the community view such answers?

  • 1
    I would answer but point out you know it is not what the OP wants. Sep 4, 2016 at 9:39
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    What does the downvote mean? That such answers are not encouraged? (If so, a comment or answer would be a better way to indicate it.) I'm not (necessarily) planning on making such an answer. I'm asking how the community views it.
    – Fiksdal
    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:29
  • 1
    @user14111 OK. That's not how I'm used to it working on other sites. I'm used to people upvoting the question if they find the question useful. Then if they want to say "this is a bad idea", then they can answer that. Or vote up or down on the answers to indicate how they feel about them. Of course, if the question itself goes like "I believe it should be like blah blah blah," then it's normal to downvote it if you disagree. But if it works differently on SF&F, then thanks for clarifying that. Generally, I upvote open-ended questions if I feel they are useful (regardless of my answer.)
    – Fiksdal
    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:36
  • @user14111 No problem :) You could also answer that you feel it's a bad idea, by the way :)
    – Fiksdal
    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:52
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    On discussion questions I feel like they (votes) should reflect the question not be as an answer.
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    Sep 4, 2016 at 11:01

1 Answer 1


If you think there's an answer that fits the description, then you should feel free to post it as an answer. There's always a slim chance that even with an acceptance, the OP is actually mistaken and may realise that your answer is the correct one.

If your answer is simply "this story is similar and I think you might be interested in it" then it would be better posted as a comment.

  • Relevant(ish) example here
    – Valorum
    Sep 4, 2016 at 14:38
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    And although they're quite rare, there are examples where the OP approved an ID answer and said it's correct, and it actually wasn't.
    – Walt
    Sep 5, 2016 at 20:56
  • I will say that one drawback of comments is that, as far as I know, they are not searchable. That said, hopefully the original question will provide searchable terms.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Mar 3, 2021 at 2:19

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