So, I recently answered a question. But later it turned out that it wasn't actually the good/right way of solving that particular problem. Two things happened: 1. I got downvoted. 2. I learned something new.

So now how should I actually go with that answer? Should I just leave it there. Or should I edit it to include the fix but that is already in the accepted answer. Or may be I delete that answer.

The reason I ask because if I will delete then other people having same issue might not be able to know that using the method I suggested is wrong. But if I keep it there then the wrong or in-correct suggestion listed among the answers does not add any value to WPSE.

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Ultimately, it's up to you. I typically go through and delete my own down-voted answers because the solution I provided was wrong, less than useful, or just otherwise contributed to noise on the site. Deleting a "wrong" answer will also prevent people from randomly downvoting you again in the future.

There's also a Peer Pressure badge for deleting your own post with a score of -3 or lower ...



Being downvoted does not make you wrong as being upvoted does not make you right. It's all a matter of audience perception. Advanced/Complex solution may and probably will be downvoted by noobs. There are also different approaches to different problems. Some just don't understand that.

Let's put it like this: Noobs/Haters/Trolls/Competitors/... will downvote you.

BUT do you give a rat's S?
I don't so... bring the PAIN!


PS: Social indicators will never indicate quality... only social-ness. This -ness thing has nothing to do with quality only with... friendliness (if you know what I mean).
So chillax and keep shining!

My only disagreement here is that downvotes are intended to be a normal, positive part of the SE MO. I admit that I don't totally "get" how downvotes are used (and I'm still not really comfortable using them) - but using downvotes is not inherently troll-like behavior. – Chip Bennett Oct 30 '11 at 18:11
Usually is when no comment accompanies it. If they disagree and don't give a reason... troll. Unless they downvote you and you already have negative comments, and it's like they just agree which is OK. – EarnestoDev Oct 30 '11 at 18:13
True. I always try to leave a comment when I downvote - and with answers, I usually just comment, or ask for clarification, rather than down-vote. – Chip Bennett Oct 30 '11 at 18:44

Why not just edit your answer, with an update that the answer is incorrect, and referencing the correct answer?

The best way in my opinion. Enable other readers to compare different approaches might be better than just telling the best solution. I learned a lot from second best answers. – toscho Jun 15 '11 at 20:38
This works for partially correct or simply not-so-efficient answers, but not for completely wrong answers - even if those are downvoted and explained people will still think it's an viable answer (remember - plenty of traffic is just passing from Google and couldn't care less how voting and such works). – Rarst Jun 16 '11 at 8:33

There is no clear guideline (that I am aware of).

My personal opinion is:

  • if answer is completely wrong and/or harmful it should be deleted.

  • if answer covers something [partially] working and what seems like a fitting idea, but is wrong on deeper level - it should be kept (with explanation in answer and/or comments).

Relevant threads on SO meta:


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