19

For example, here: Do (weaponized) lasers exist in the Star Wars universe?

  • @Zato posted a what-seemed-at-the-moment-correct answer, which generated tons of upvotes (10) stating "no such examples exist" - he did the research, but the only actual reference he had was Wikia (lack of references is of course not surprising given that the answer is "no").

    Just to be clear - Aside from the fact that the answer is wrong - it's a good answer, with effort put into it, and I'm not intending to criticize the answer or the user.

  • After that happened, @DrewS actually posted an answer which found a canon example that showed the existence of lasers, thereby 100% proving the previous answer to be wrong. I even added exact book quote proving the assertion.

  • PROBLEMS:

    • Voting is now only 2 votes on correct answer vs 9 (+11/-2) on incorrect answer

    • Even worse, someone upvoted the wrong answer AFTER I the correct answer was posted; AND after I commented on the wrong answer that it's incorrect.

---

What can be done to effectively combat such a situation?

None of the "normal" methods seem to work well:

  • Posting a comment on the wrong answer noting its incorrectness didn't stop people from continuing to upvote it.

  • Posting a new correct answer didn't bring enough upvotes to it to even remotely offset the upvotes on incorrect answer.

  • Flagging for moderator is useless because moderators 100% always decline flags about incorrect answers (I personally think should be within moderators' scope to deal with, but the fact of life is, it isn't)

  • Publicizing in chat doesn't help (didn't try for this one yet, but tried it before... zero or negligible effect on subsequent votes)

  • 1
    Please note that I strongly suspect SE Hot List was involved in the initial upvotes based on view count, but I have no proof. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 16 '14 at 13:59
  • 3
    Time usually sets these sorts of things right. – Valorum Aug 16 '14 at 16:58
  • 8
    Not always, Richard. There are plenty of wrong answers out there still getting points, no matter how many people have commented on them. – Thaddeus Howze Aug 19 '14 at 9:31
  • 1
    Posting on Meta seems to work. Whether that's a good thing is up for debate. – jpmc26 Aug 21 '14 at 2:51
  • Thank you very much for getting the passage! – Drew Aug 21 '14 at 21:13
22

Patience?

All this happened yesterday, and posts tend to have a big surge of activity initially, followed by a long tail of occasional visits. So most posts will garner a ton of votes early on, then they'll steadily get more votes as weeks and months pass.

In this case, initially the wrong answer got a bunch of upvotes. As time goes on, the comments and the new correct answer will wear down those upvotes, and more upvotes will go to the correct answer.

By commenting on the wrong answer, you can point out how it is wrong, so others will see there's an issue with the answer in its current state. This discourages upvotes. The question asker hasn't accepted any answer. An answer they accept will get a bit more attention, and hopefully more upvotes.


There's a 5th option by the way, it's a bounty. In a couple of days, the question will become eligible for bounties. You can create a bounty with a reason of 'Reward existing answer' so the correct answerer gets some reputation, and the correct answer gets the little tag indicating it earned a bounty.

  • 2
    Would you mind moving the last part first? IMHO that's the most important part of the answer (and the most effective) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 18 '14 at 14:39

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