20

There are some answers on this site that are just plain out 100% wrong (explained why wrong in the comments, and usually downvoted).

We can't flag them for moderators to delete (that usually gets declined), since the answer is simply wrong and not spam/etc... leaving aside other consideration, a mod isn't expected to be an expert enough on the subject matter of every question be be able to judge correctness in a binding way.

However, these answers are still deletable by high-rep users if the accrue negative votes.

My question is:

1. Is it within site rules for high rep users to delete such answers? (answer 100% wrong from subject-matter-expert perspective, but not deletion-worthy from moderator view).

2. If so, is it within site rules to organize a campaign to delete such answers?

Please note that I'm merely asking if it's against the rules. NOT whether it's a good idea or bad idea (if the answer to this question is "no against the rules" I will post another question with a specific suggestion of how to do it, where people can vote on whether the approach I had in mind is a good idea).

Examples:

  • FYI: Part #1 of the question is needed for part #2, AND also useful when voting to delete when reviewing the queues. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 11 '14 at 15:21
16

Per the privilege page for Trusted User (the tier where you gain the privilege to delete things:

Deleting answers

When should I vote to delete an answer?

You may vote to delete answers in the following cases:

  • The answer is extremely low quality: There is little to no scope for improvement
  • The answer doesn't answer the question; it may be a comment or a separate question altogether.
  • The answer is not much more than a link to another page. Link only answers are not allowed on Stack Exchange

'Really wrong answers' might fall under the first point, since improving them requires a radical change, but I'm not so sure of that. I'd recommend a downvote and a comment indicating why it's wrong.

  • That's the confusion I'm having... whenever I flagged comoletely wrong answers (on different SEs) I was always flag-rejected, which led me to believe that wrong answers don't seem to fall under the first bullet despite the wording seeming to fit. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 12 '14 at 18:19
  • 2
    Consensus seems to be that wrong answers should be handled by downvotes; yet the fact that wrong answers can and do get upvotes (and even accepted) is there (and a quick search on Google shows that this problem is moderately widespread on many SE sites: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/78438/…). Is there something broken in the voting system and/or how it's being used? – user8719 Jan 13 '14 at 8:43
  • @JimmyShelter The "problem" with upvotes and accepted answers is that they're (theoretically, at least) not for right answers, but for useful answers. The "accepted" answer is (again, theoretically) the answer the OP found "the most useful". – phantom42 Jan 13 '14 at 14:22
4

I haven't gone through all the meta.SE questions about wrong answers, but there's a clear pattern to the answers:

  • wrong answers are allowed to stay
  • downvote and/or comment them
  • they shouldn't be flagged for moderator attention
  • possibly edit it, but not just to say "this is wrong"
    • editing to point out something dangerous in an answer is usually ok (don't think that applies here)
  • 1
    But what about really wrong answers? – Möoz Nov 2 '17 at 4:47
-4

If a question/answer is demonstrably wrong (proven so by reputable references) then I see no issue with it being outright deleted.

That said, surely it would be better to edit the question or answer to indicate why the original wording was wrong e.g.

"Nagini appears in the first book, the snake he sets free at the zoo was Nagini. J.K Rowling said so herself. I imagine that the snake retreated to You-Know-Who until he was at full power, and then He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named made her a Horcrux. Just my theory though."

becomes

"Nagini appears in the first book, however the quote listed is a hoax - see above link for details"

If the author disputes the changes, they're welcome to come onto chat/meta and argue why it should be changed back.

As far as the specific questions are concerned, I bow to the superior knowledge of others but I believe that outright deletion is a no-no whereas arranging a downvote storm is perfectly acceptable.

  • 1
    This is only about deleting the answers – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 11 '14 at 23:38
  • 1
    But is that the only option? – Valorum Jan 12 '14 at 1:47
  • probably not, but having them kept undeleted risks having them be upvoted and thus propagating wrong information. As I learned on StackOverflow, there is typically a lot more people who don't know the subject too well willing to upvote a crappy answer than people who know better. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 12 '14 at 2:33
  • 3
    I feel it's better to dowvote, comment and explain why the answer is wrong. This way, if another person comes in having a similar idea/answer, they may be educated. By deleting it, it helps no one. – phantom42 Jan 13 '14 at 14:15
  • 3
    Of course, this assumes the new-answerer reads the other answers, but many new users seem to ignore this step in any case regardless of other right/wrong answers. – phantom42 Jan 13 '14 at 14:16

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