One of the most important jobs we do here is to vote on answers. Good answers are meant to be upvoted and bad ones downvoted. The primary reason for this is so that learners who come here looking for reliable information will know which answers contain reliable information, and which ones contain untrue or false information.

Now, there are many reasons to downvote answers. You may want to downvote an answer because it is too short, does not give a clear explanation or because you feel that that particular answer needs references.

However, it is our absolute DUTY to downvote answers which contain wrong information. Otherwise this site will be doing harm to learners instead of helping them.

There seem to be several answers recently that contain completely false information or give ungrammatical examples to readers, and which have not been edited even after the Original Posters have been advised of these problems. These questions badly need you to downvote them for the benefit of learners and of the site.

Please downvote wildly incorrect answers.

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    "There seem to be several answers recently that contain completely false information or give ungrammatical examples to readers" +1! Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 17:35
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    I think it a little unfair to point an accusatory finger at a single poster. The answer was posted in good faith, and it is not wildly incorrect, Surely, the best remedy is writing a better answer ourselves, or setting up a bounty.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 18:38
  • You also upvoted the answer yourself ell.stackexchange.com/questions/113812/…
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 18:38
  • @Mari-LouA Yep, but then they undid all their edits, for which purpose I originally gave them an upvote. They've now got my downvote ... :( Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 18:42
  • You only upvoted the question after this edit ell.stackexchange.com/revisions/113813/6. Correct?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 18:45
  • @Mari-LouA Ah, I see ... Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 18:49
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    It's all a bit of a mess, whose edit is whose, whose error is whose.. but the sentences you pointed out earlier are ungrammatical.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 18:51
  • I've just looked at the answer that prompted this meta question, and quite frankly there are still so many errors that I think the effort to correct it should just be abandoned. I've voted to delete it, rather than waste any more time. Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 18:35

2 Answers 2


I agree that it's a civic duty to downvote or comment on bad/incorrect answers.

Still, I think your title seems a bit reactionary and alarmist. Just because the downvote totals on a few answers aren't accruing fast enough for your liking doesn't mean the community is failing to do their jobs. (On the other hand, if your question title was designed to be more of an attention-grabber than an indictment, then it was well-played).

Moreover, in a community of learners, not every regular is able to spot a "wildly incorrect answer." I wouldn't want to see your exhortation for more downvoting lead to a situation where the blind are leading the blind. We need to be careful; before we start downvoting too rabidly, we must ensure we can differentiate between a wildly incorrect answer and a mere difference in opinion.

With that all said, I have seen a few answers lately that I thought were dishing out some bad guidance. When used properly, downvotes are indeed a good way to ensure our community of learners won't get steered in a wrong direction.

Lastly, if you're a learner taking a stab at writing an answer, that's fine. However, if you start to get pushback from the community, be ready to learn a little more and correct or maybe even delete your answer. That's a better reaction than being defensive and entrenching yourself on the wrong side of correctness.

  • Well, I'm taking about answers giving examples such as "I'm going to meet my friends at morning tomorrow" or "I played tennis last day" or "I didn't do that last hour" or "I do my homework at evening". It's not rocket science. The answereers and voters here are meant to be experts. So,, if a respondent gives some inaccurate info, that's fine. But if they are unwilling subsequently to change their answers to make them accurate for learners, it is our duty to downvote them Surely the expert helpers here can spot that kind of damaging info - and if they can they need to downvote ... (cont) Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 22:56
  • ... because otherwise learners will come here, see five upvotes from our experts, and then repeat this, well "junk" would be a generous word, either in their speech, their letters to clients and colleagues, thier exams or worse. We aren't meant to up or downvote for personal reasons, but for the accuracy o information. This seems to be one of the very last considerations at the moment ... . Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 22:58
  • There seems to be a lot of rectionary downvoting of questions where questioners haven't given references or research that they maybe couldn't give in the first place etc, in favour of giving discriminating evaluations of answers - just in terms of accuracy and good information. A bad trend, it seems to me. And I don't think we are doing our job in this respect ... And I'm the first to give encouragemenet to learners helping other learners! Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 23:32
  • All my titles are designed to be attention grabbers ;) Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:22

You know what annoys me more than this? Answers which are voted much higher than the associated questions. If it's a good answer, logically it should have been a good question, yes?

I get this isn't a community like Reddit where the votes are just fake Internet points. But almost everywhere on the SE site it seems people are extraordinarily chary with their upvotes, and liberal with their downvotes. What's the point of downvoting the bad answers when the good answers -- and often the great answers -- as well as the questions that inspire them, all lie fallow and unappreciated?

Here's an example: a verb to mean to start "not being on speaking terms"

I'm not saying that my answer should be chosen. Mick's is good. J.R.'s is good. The question itself is a great question, exactly the kind of thing you really can't look up in a dictionary, which rarely contains the kind of subtlety and nuance Yazdan is looking for, and which is best answered by a native speaker.

Shouldn't we encourage this kind of question by pouring votes on it?

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    I agree that there are two sides of this coin, and, if we are going to exhort the community to more sternly downvote bad answers, it doesn't hurt to remind them to upvote exemplary questions as well.
    – J.R. Mod
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 21:52
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    I get your feelings on this. But what makes a good answer is up for debate. Having false and misleading information is a straightforward reason to downvote that is doesn't qualify as a mtter of opinion. So there's a gulf between the two. And there should be. Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 22:46
  • @Araucaria Downvoting in meta? Oh, cruel irony!
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 22:48
  • @Andrew Downvoting in meta? I don't think we've been talking about that, have we? Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 22:49
  • No, I meant that in a meta answer (where the votes count for nothing) complaining about excessive downvoting, I've been downvoted. Fortunately, I love a good joke even at my own expense :)
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 22:54
  • I like your answer - because it is something that really annoys me too! But I downvoted it bcause I want poeple to worry about answers being accurate (even vaguely accurate will do). If you write another question about your point here, I will upvote and pomote, nurture and love it :- ) Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 23:01
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    @Araucaria It's all good. I appreciate you taking the time to point this out, I just wanted to toss in my two bits.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 23:02
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    Answers are more valuable than questions, so it's not surprising that questions don't always match exceptionally-high-quality answers. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 0:18
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    @NathanTuggy I don't agree that answers are more valuable than questions. We need good questions just as much as good answers, otherwise we will just end up playing whack-a-mole with "Is this correct?" questions and we won't have the answers to what folks really want to know. That said, there can be good answers to mediocre questions and terrible answers to good questions - I don't see any reason why we should judge the quality of a question differently based on how well it was answered. We should judge it on how well it was asked.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 12:46
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    @ColleenV: It's designed into SE that answers are the more valuable of the two. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 22:05
  • @NathanTuggy Thanks for the link - it was an interesting read. I had interpreted "valuable" in your comment differently than I would have it I had read that article earlier. I think we're in agreement though that the score of an answer shouldn't cause someone to vote a certain way on the question.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 0:50
  • @NathanTuggy but good questions will tend to invite good answers, and keep the punters happy.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 22:42
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    @Mari-LouA: Sure, as that blog post outlines, that's pretty much their entire value. That's all questions can do. But ridiculously good questions aren't absolutely required to get ridiculously good answers; you can get good answers out of mediocre questions fairly often, and once in a great while even a great answer from a lousy question. Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 22:57
  • @NathanTuggy I see precisely 0 badges awarded to "great" answers to thousands of lousy questions, which kinda proves my point. And only 5 great answers to very well received questions that earned 50+
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 23:02
  • @NathanTuggy I think that Stack Exchange changed its mind, since the times of Optimizing For Pearls, Not Sand, In fact, up-votes on questions give a +10 reputation to users who post them.
    – avpaderno
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 14:25

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