So, I recently answered a question. But later it turned out that it wasn't actually the good/right way of solving that particular problem. Two things happened: 1. I got downvoted. 2. I learned something new.

So now how should I actually go with that answer? Should I just leave it there. Or should I edit it to include the fix but that is already in the accepted answer. Or may be I delete that answer.

The reason I ask because if I will delete then other people having same issue might not be able to know that using the method I suggested is wrong. But if I keep it there then the wrong or in-correct suggestion listed among the answers does not add any value to WPSE.

4 Answers 4


Ultimately, it's up to you. I typically go through and delete my own down-voted answers because the solution I provided was wrong, less than useful, or just otherwise contributed to noise on the site. Deleting a "wrong" answer will also prevent people from randomly downvoting you again in the future.

There's also a Peer Pressure badge for deleting your own post with a score of -3 or lower ...


Why not just edit your answer, with an update that the answer is incorrect, and referencing the correct answer?

  • 2
    The best way in my opinion. Enable other readers to compare different approaches might be better than just telling the best solution. I learned a lot from second best answers.
    – fuxia Mod
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 20:38
  • 3
    This works for partially correct or simply not-so-efficient answers, but not for completely wrong answers - even if those are downvoted and explained people will still think it's an viable answer (remember - plenty of traffic is just passing from Google and couldn't care less how voting and such works).
    – Rarst
    Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 8:33

There is no clear guideline (that I am aware of).

My personal opinion is:

  • if answer is completely wrong and/or harmful it should be deleted.

  • if answer covers something [partially] working and what seems like a fitting idea, but is wrong on deeper level - it should be kept (with explanation in answer and/or comments).

Relevant threads on SO meta:



Being downvoted does not make you wrong as being upvoted does not make you right. It's all a matter of audience perception. Advanced/Complex solution may and probably will be downvoted by noobs. There are also different approaches to different problems. Some just don't understand that.

Let's put it like this: Noobs/Haters/Trolls/Competitors/... will downvote you.

BUT do you give a rat's S?
I don't so... bring the PAIN!


PS: Social indicators will never indicate quality... only social-ness. This -ness thing has nothing to do with quality only with... friendliness (if you know what I mean).
So chillax and keep shining!

  • My only disagreement here is that downvotes are intended to be a normal, positive part of the SE MO. I admit that I don't totally "get" how downvotes are used (and I'm still not really comfortable using them) - but using downvotes is not inherently troll-like behavior. Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 18:11
  • Usually is when no comment accompanies it. If they disagree and don't give a reason... troll. Unless they downvote you and you already have negative comments, and it's like they just agree which is OK. Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 18:13
  • 1
    True. I always try to leave a comment when I downvote - and with answers, I usually just comment, or ask for clarification, rather than down-vote. Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 18:44

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