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Some old closed questions have many answers that probably were considered OK back then but are not quite up to current quality standards.

Are readers supposed to vote, edit, comment, flag answers in these questions?

If it's better to leave these alone, then I would like to also understand how readers are supposed to know that they stumbled upon "untouchable" posts (questions I am asking about don't have historical lock).


Some examples of the questions having many problematic answers:

In all the examples listed above I found at least 3 (usually more) answers that look like severely lacking explanation and context, total about 90 such answers.


PS. For the sake of completeness I'll explain in more details what kind posts are considered problematic here. In the context of my question, these are answers that fail an "imaginary opposite" challenge.

Let's see how challenge works, using some example answers from questions listed here:

    1. "Clean Code - Robert Martin"
    2. "Ezyang is pretty good"
    3. "Redmine"
    4. "Ward Cunningham"

If someone posts an opposite claim like

    1'. "Clean Code - Robert Martin is a book to avoid"
    2'. "Ezyang is pretty bad"
    3'. "Redmine is a bad tool"
    4'. "Ward Cunningham tweets are useless"

, how would this answer help reader to pick of these differing opinions? You see, without an explanation the answer becomes useless in case if someone else posts a differing / opposing opinion.

  • -1: You should have asked this question before you touched approximately 100 honeypots. – Jim G. Apr 4 '13 at 10:29
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    @JimG. think what you want, but these make about full list of "questionable honeypots" I could pick after reviewing about 100 older posts. Many more of the old questions beyond the list are just of better quality, do not make a sharp contrast to current ones - and as such, do not require any special meta discussion to maintain – gnat Apr 4 '13 at 11:50
  • But you're just exacerbating the problem when you edit the honeypots and bump them to the front page. – Jim G. Apr 4 '13 at 12:05
  • @JimG. if memory serves, none of the posts listed were bumped by me. I wanted to ask at meta prior to making moves – gnat Apr 4 '13 at 12:14
  • Here's one to start: programmers.stackexchange.com/posts/106356/revisions – Jim G. Apr 4 '13 at 13:01
  • @JimG. it's not in the list, and to me it definitely doesn't qualify as one-liner honeypot – gnat Apr 4 '13 at 14:17
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If you can't find any evidence that the poster is still active on the site (recent posts/votes etc.) then there would seem to be little point in commenting as they are unlikely to see the comment and act on it. Similarly with down-votes.

However, in both cases you aren't just telling the poster that this is bad answer but future visitors as well, so a comment and/or down-vote might well be the most appropriate action.

Given that the question is closed you should be concentrating your efforts on that rather than the answers. Ask yourself "is the question salvageable?". If you think it is and you have the time, edit it to make it a real, on topic question that deserves to be reopened. However, if there are no good answers on the question it might be better to flag it for deletion and ask the better question afresh yourself.

I'm sorry if this comes over as prevaricating, but it really does depend on the individual questions. My personal view would be to vote/flag the questions for deletion in most cases and only edit and reopen in exceptional circumstances.

  • thanks! your point about future visitors makes perfect sense to me. As well as that it depends on the individual question – gnat Apr 2 '13 at 10:49

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