I've been fairly active in the new review queue this week and have found a particular breed of low quality posts that I'm not sure of how to handle.

For example, this answer in Most useful features of VIM that aren't standard in a IDE

Now, to me, this is "wrong", most IDEs I've used allow splitting the screen, but just because I disagree with projecktzero's opinion on the matter, I don't think this is grounds for it to be flagged for deletion, similarly, I don't think it "Looks good".

What is the best action to take on posts of this type?

  • I disagree with what users say in low quality posts, but I will defend to the death their right to say it.
    – StuperUser
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:04
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    I'm hesitant to migrate this to MSO right now. I think this might be something that each community has to decide for themselves. As it stands now (like I mentioned in my answer), there doesn't appear to be any guidance for deleting wrong answers at a Stack Exchange level, much less for a brand new tool. Let's figure out what the Programmers community wants to do, and if it comes up at an SE level, we can go forward with "this is what we are doing and it is[n't] working for us, YMMV".
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:27
  • Based on @Thomas Owens observations about community independence, question on meta.SO: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/151689/…
    – StuperUser
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:46

2 Answers 2


"I love that feature" is not an answer. Despite the problematic nature of the question itself, answers should explain themselves. Right or wrong "I like this" is never and should never be an answer without (significantly) more detail.

Now, wrongness doesn't really imply that an answer should be deleted if it is an answer. Were that the case, downvote and explain the problem in a comment (or upvote another comment doing that). But if it's wrong and one line...probably no harm done.

However, more generally when deciding to click "delete/recommend deletion" you should think "is there any value in keeping this post"? Sometimes a wrong answer is useful because downvotes + comments show why you shouldn't do something you might have otherwise done. Wrong answers can be a learning experience too.

But sometimes there's nothing to learn, sometimes answers are just bad. If the community decides an extremely wrong answer should be deleted, that's probably not a problem. But it's not something mods do; only the community can police the correctness of answers (vs policing the fact that answers are actually answers).


I tried to find a reference or advice on Meta Stack Overflow, but couldn't. If one turns up, let me know and I'll edit it in. Also, if any other Meta sites are having this discussion, edit those in so we can cross link to how other communities are dealing with it.

There's a Meta Stack Overflow question about how to write a good answer. The concepts of right and wrong have no bearing on what makes a good answer. This means, to me, that answers have a measure of "goodness" as well as measure of "rightness", which are two distinct things. When you are using the low quality review tool, you should be judging an answer based on it's goodness, not on it's rightness.

However, if you have enough expertise in the subject matter to judge rightness, you should use that. Open the question and down vote wrong answers. Leave comments or ask clarifying questions. If the question is bad, consider voting on the question or even flagging it if it needs more immediate attention or might be too old to have the eyes of the community on it.

Also, keep in mind that wrong answers are not suitable for moderator attention. It's a reason to decline flags on answers, in fact. If moderators shouldn't intervene with wrong answers that have been flagged, I would suspect they aren't good candidates for deletion.

  • Since MetaSO (if I've understood it correctly) kind of acts as Meta for the entirety of SE, should this question be migrated there or should I x-post it?
    – StuperUser
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:22
  • @StuperUser Don't cross post. We could migrate it, and we could keep it here, the only difference being the target audience (not that many ProgSE regulars on MSO). It's completely up to you.
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:24
  • @YannisRizos atThomas, there might be benefits to a central discussion on MSO, but if each meta community will find its own equilibrium should there be a question on each meta? What options are there other than: a central question with no clear answer or cross posts.
    – StuperUser
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:32
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    @StuperUser I think that this is a question that each community needs to address on their own. These are new tools provided by SE for us to use in making our community good. There's absolutely no guidance that I can find on if it's acceptable to delete wrong answers, but my reasoning indicates there are better tools. If the community thinks otherwise, then we should roll with that and perhaps deleting factually wrong answers is appropriate. But I do want that to happen here on Programmers for the Programmers community.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:35
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    @ThomasOwens From the mod's perspective, fact that we have a flag decline reason specifically for this is guidance enough. We (the mods) don't delete wrong answers (one person doesn't get to say it's wrong). Community voting however is, well, a community process and it's up to the community to decide.
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:38
  • @YannisRizos That's very true. I'd still prefer to leave wrong answers (that aren't dangerous in some way) with their comments. They would get down voted (and pushed to the bottom of questions and grayed out) so they wouldn't be prominent, but the most curious people can still learn from them and their attached comments.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:41
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    @ThomasOwens Unfortunately not all hideously wrong answers get pushed to the bottom <sigh>
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:48
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    @YannisRizos Wow. At least in those situations people will learn what not to do. Especially gotchas that can seem like good ideas without much knowledge.
    – StuperUser
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:50
  • a few MSO post about wrong answers meta.stackexchange.com/q/120298 meta.stackexchange.com/q/24322 meta.stackexchange.com/q/78438 wrong answers follow the same path as everything else, comment/downvote/edit minor things and delete blatantly terrible things.
    – Ryathal
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 21:15
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    @StuperUser Yeah, hopefully people will realize following the advice in that answer would be just plain wrong. In any case, I'm glad I'm moderating Programmers and not Chemistry.SE (they got a question couple of days ago about homebrewing nitroglycerin)
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 21:17

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