7

What happens when you roll "Off the top" of a result table?

@Todd recently discovered that FFG has updated their FAQ directly answering the question.

It is invevitable that some of our answers will become "wrong" over time with companies releasing FAQ's and errata.

I don't want these "wrong" answers (that may have been correct when issued) to remain at the top of the stack (whether by being accepted or through voting).

What is the best way for us to address this in the general sense?

5

Is there any reason you can't edit the answers and the question to reflect the new reality?

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/02/suggested-edits-and-edit-review/

  • 1
    I waffled between changing my existing, accepted answer and creating a new one. I questioned whether or not it is appropriate to significantly alter an answer that has already been accepted. As the answerer I felt like I'd be choosing the accepted answer, rather than the asker. Since I wasn't sure, I went with creating a new answer. I'm not saying that was the right thing to do, it's just what I went with. – Todd Feb 24 '11 at 15:05
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I've run into this situation a lot on Gaming Stack Exchange (due to games being patched and the rules changing). It is common and encouraged practice there to edit the answer to update it (even if it isn't your answer). I've never seen someone complain about this in the situation where the edit is clearly accurate. Creating a separate answer and requiring it to be upvoted and accepted again is not only confusing and time consuming, but it could be seen as unfairly gaining rep, since you're essentially asking everyone who voted for your earlier answer to upvote you again for the new one.

2

In the spirit of a discussion on SE podcast #7, I've completely re-written this answer to point to an excerpt from the show notes.

The intent of editing questions and answers is to offer more permanent resources that can evolve over time. It is important to displace the old, out of date information that is often entombed in Google; for example with Keyboard shortcut to access the first link in a Google search page? Jeff was surprised to find that almost all the searches he did produced old, obsolete, and sort of incorrect results — so he rolled up his sleeves and created a definitive answer, then edited the question and other answers. Hopefully future internet travellers will find this correct and up to date answer… and they can click edit to improve it, too!

I think this shows the canonical right answer to the original question is edit to make it right, which incidentally is what Jeff suggested in his answer and the position Joel took in updating the Google keyboard shortcut answer in the quote above. I mean if that's the position taken by the guys who came up with StackOverflow and SE, I'm inclined to agree.

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I think the best option is to leave a comment on the currently accepted, now outdated answer - in addition to adding a new answer with a link to the new information. The comment is the only thing that would alert a casual visitor to the news until the new answer has been upvoted and/or accepted. (I think it's too optimistic to assume that authors of old questions will update their accepted answer - they may very well not be interested in the question any more.)

0

In this particular case, I don't think there's a need to worry about it. I don't see much (if any) contradiction in Todd's two answers.

In general, any time an old question gets a new answer it will reappear on the front page for a bit. The asker will always get notified that he has a new answer as well. If the new answer is sufficiently more correct than the currently accepted one, I think the system will take care of itself. I, for one, would change my accepted answer immediately in such a situation (i.e., the game's authors clarified the rules).

I suppose the only time we'd have to worry is if the asker is no longer an active member.

  • The problem with changing your accepted answer is that it's technically not the right of the answerer to decide what the accepted answer should be, IMO. In the example used, my two answers were very similar, but not exactly the same. – Todd Feb 21 '11 at 16:42
  • @Todd, you're correct, an answerer has no way (short of writing a good answer) to influence which one gets the checkmark. I'm just saying that the system will compel an active user to want to change his accepted answer to a newer one that is better. – Kristo Feb 21 '11 at 17:35
  • Oh, I misinterpreted what you wrote, sorry. When you said "I, for one, would change my accepted answer immediately", I thought you were talking about editing your answer. Now I realize you meant choosing the newer answer to be the accepted one. – Todd Feb 21 '11 at 19:53
  • @Todd How likely is it that the asker is going to see your new answer in this case and say "Now I wish I hadn't accepted it"? If you're worried, you can add a comment to the asker to review your edited answer and let them decide whether to leave it accepted. I'd much rather have an edited accepted answer than have to sort through two of them to find the "right" one. – bwarner Mar 7 '11 at 19:07

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