11
$\begingroup$

I run into in couple of answers which, albeit being the most upvoted and even the chosen ones, are unfortunately wrong.

According to the rule of this website, those wrong answers have the right to stay where they are since they have been democratically chosen. Anyway I suppose that people coming here deserve to get a scientifically correct answer and not a democratic one: "science is not democratic" said someone famous.

So my question: How should we handle those cases?

$\endgroup$
9
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Could you include some examples of where we have highly upvoted/accepted answers which are demonstrably wrong (not just in your opinion). $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec Mod
    Oct 31, 2022 at 9:32
  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to keep this topic as general as possible and not tie it to a specific case... Anyway here an example. Please compare the chosen answer with mine... which is obviously the correct one 😅 Note that I not only have wrote an answer but also commented under the wrong one $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Oct 31, 2022 at 9:52
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ So out of thousands upon thousands of questions youve pointed out a single potential question with a subject that pretty much needs a university degree (if not higher) to understand. There's plenty of information on those answers (yours included) which means anyone coming to that subject probably understands what is wrong with the accepted answer. Your comment beneath it also helps with that issue. Forgive me, I don't see a problem here - AFAICT the system perfectly solves what you see as a problem. The only "problem" is a little green tick and a magic number next to the answer. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec Mod
    Oct 31, 2022 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ Also note we don't have the facility to remove the accepted status. We could delete it, but this is NOT a moderator job. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec Mod
    Oct 31, 2022 at 10:50
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That's another example which don't need an academical degree to be understood. And according to the answer of @deltalima there are other examples. And please do not diminish my concern and the power of this Stackexchange: that exact same wrong answer has been used by someone in drones.se to design an helicopter! That might be potentially very dangerous. Even if I find this situation unfair, I understand anyway that nothing can be done and I accept it. Thanks for your replies 🖖 $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Oct 31, 2022 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ And it is not "out of thousands upon thousands": I'm a newbie here and in the last couple of months I've been in touch with let's say 100 q/a, so the percentage is definitely not insignificant. $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Oct 31, 2022 at 14:30
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I have added "Needs citation" banners to both the questions you've identified. I cannot be sure that the questions are wrong, as I'm not an expert on either subject but at least it may indicate to visitors that its worth reading other answers to form an opinion. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec Mod
    Nov 1, 2022 at 4:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Jamiec: so, there actually is a way to handle this cases :-) I'm going to edit my question with this solution. Is there a catalogue of those "warnings"? Or can you write whatever is better? P.s.: for my "another example" I've added as source the A320 flight manual where those things are called with their real name. $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Nov 1, 2022 at 8:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No, I dont think its a general way to handle this case - reasoning is that this is a mod-only thing and we should not be the gatekeepers of right/wrong answers. And no, there is a set list of post notices that cannot (easily) be changed. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec Mod
    Nov 1, 2022 at 9:10

4 Answers 4

10
$\begingroup$

The best approach to dealing with a faulty answer is to downvote it and to upvote a correct answer. Consider leaving a comment under the faulty answer to explain your downvote and give the post owner the means of connecting back to you (@ddressing your username in a comment) after they addressed the shortcomings in their post.
If no good answers exists, write one to compete with the faulty one.

I share your frustration when I see factually wrong answers.

But it is when we fail to write convincing correct answers, we allow wrong answers get up-voted and accepted. The best solution is for us as a community to become better in writing good answers.

I fear that any other policy would smell like censorship and alienate part of the community.

People that write the wrong answers do typically believe their answer is right. They spent time and effort into crafting that answer. On what basis should this site give an advantage to another answer? Who is going to be judge? We have already mechanism for that in place, and that is the community voting.

$\endgroup$
9
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I partially disagree: the cases I'm referring to got their winning answer just because it was the first one to be written. It was the first and only answer to be there, it sounded technically pleasing, it got upvoted and bang! the wrong became the truth... The correct (i.e. losing) answer come after some time and that gave the chosen answer an unbridgeable vantage... sorry but that's unfair and in my opinion should be somehow managed because it might push away smart people easily getting frustrated. Maybe we could give the scientifically correct answer the same vote of the chosen one? $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Oct 30, 2022 at 16:26
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @sophit note we can't change the way SE works. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec Mod
    Oct 30, 2022 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ The comment should come before the downvote, to give time to the poster to fix the issue. How many of you go around to check answers and remove downvotes after the problem got fixed? Downvoting at the same time as leaving a comment, or worse, without leaving the comment, definitely does not promote participation or engagement. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Nov 1, 2022 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico when downvoting, leaving a comment is gives the owner of the downvoted post a handle to connect back to you after they addressed the shortcomings of the post. I'll add that to the post $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima Mod
    Nov 1, 2022 at 12:19
  • $\begingroup$ many new users don't know how the @ functionality works. they get a ping when you comment on their post without an @ so they expect it to work like that for every commenter. I prefer commenting and waiting for at least a day before downvoting. if I can't be bothered to go back and check, I would not have done it to remove the dw. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Nov 1, 2022 at 12:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Federico I go through and remove downvotes when an answer is fixed, especially when the person who wrote the answer replies to my comment and it shows up in my inbox. That process has worked several times for me in the past both as the downvote and as the person whose answer was downvoted. I agree with sophit that timing matters - once an answer has a critical mass of upvotes it can be almost impossible to stop it from being the highest voted and accepted answer, regardless of its content. Therefore I downvote incorrect answers immediately. $\endgroup$ Nov 6, 2022 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ @ToddWilcox: good point about the "critical mass". $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Nov 10, 2022 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico -- re "How many of you go around to check answers and remove downvotes after the problem got fixed? ", "I prefer commenting and waiting for at least a day before downvoting. if I can't be bothered to go back and check, I would not have done it to remove the dv" -- if you view the questions in "active" mode, and check the "active" questions every few days, then there's no "going back and checking" involved, right? Any edit will bump the question or answer back up to the top of the "active" page. I always figure everyone does it this way and thus figure everyone assumes I'll know as $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2023 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ (ctd) soon as they've fixed an issue causing a dv. Thus I would not feel a need to wait some time after commenting, before dv'ing. But-- your approach is arguably kinder / more enlightened. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2023 at 20:20
5
$\begingroup$

The Stack Exchange model is designed to provide the best answers to both the people asking questions and the community in general.

People asking questions can indicate which answer best answers their question by accepting it. The community can indicate which answer they think is best by voting on the answers. There is also the somewhat related option of offering a bounty to encourage or reward better answers.

I share your frustration in seeing answers get votes just because they were among the first to be posted despite being at the very least critically lacking in some aspects. The system is not perfect by any means. But in all of history we have yet to find a perfect system to determine truth. Here, we allow the community to form a consensus while still providing everyone the option to see alternatives, discuss, and make up their own mind. This seems like a reasonable compromise. Without consensus it would be much harder for most people to determine the best answer, and without discussion and alternative answers there is the danger of who has the power to decide which answers are acceptable. There are sites with much stricter requirements for providing sources and substantiation for answers, but in my opinion they are still vulnerable to the same issues of bad answers rising to the top.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Anyone with much knowledge of aviation who has spent much time on Aviation Stack Exchange knows that there are many cases where wrong answers quickly gain (and keep) the highest score.

We can't fix this without imposing some sort of "truth committee". And how would that ever work?

You'll soon get a sense for which users consistently provide correct answers. For everyone else-- you'll have to use your own judgement with each answer, not go by the vote score.

Another answer to the present meta question has proposed that it would be appropriate to delete any answer that is "wrong in such a way, that acting according to it would be in violation of rules and/or possibly dangerous." This would absolutely be the wrong course of action for ASE to take. Some regulations are ambiguous. A few may arguably even be unsafe to follow in some circumstances. And there will never be clear-cut agreement as to what actions are "possibly dangerous".

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Maybe this should be a comment, but let's deal with that later if necessary...

For arguments sake, let's assume an incorrect answer has the most votes and/or is "chosen", and this answer is wrong in such a way, that acting according to it would be in violation of rules and/or possibly dangerous.

I definitely would vote for deletion of such an answer, or use any other means availlable to get it removed.

Aviation has a few cases in which the common sense is contrary to the way things actually work or must be done. We should not foster alternate truths here. Like Sophit wrote, science is not democratic. Neither are the laws and rules.(*

*There is, of course the case of a Mediterranean operator, that experienced a fault during flight. The captain saw it fit to ask the passengers whether to continue the flight or turn back...

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .