Earlier tonight, this answer was added to a year-old question which already had an answer that had been accepted.

In this format of question (unlike most types on the network), the accepting of an answer means "This post is the movie I was thinking of", and as the person that asked the question is the only one who can actually make this claim, surely any further guesses are useless and should be deleted?

I've had a look through the Late answer history to find other examples, and the first one I stumbled on was actually upvoted, edited and ignored.

I ask here because I there's someone out there who would argue "it is an answer, just a bad one", but surely there's got to be a line somewhere?

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  • Though, in your particular example, that answer isn't just bad because it's apparently incorrect, but also because it's simply a bad answer without any reasoning, that would also have been the case if the question did not have an accepted answer, and in this case noone would argue to delete it, since the downvote button is obviously not the delete vote button. Had it on the other hand explained why "V" is such a good fit as an answer, even though there's already an accepted one, I wonder if we'd discuss about this problem at all. – Napoleon Wilson Jul 23 '14 at 10:53

In a perhaps controversial statement, I'll add that I actually like it when people do that, for a few reasons:

Firstly, getting the cheeky reason out of the way, it helps boost the site's number-of-answers-per-question statistic. Too many identify-this questions get one answer, it's accepted and that's that. But still, this is a fairly bad reason, so onto my main one...

Secondly and more importantly, many users come to the site and ask for help identifying a movie. They can't remember what is it, but they know what it's not (e.g. this question), or what it reminds them of (e.g. this question). Now, if there are two or three movies which could fit their description, I don't mind all of them being included. In my mind, that means that in future if a different user is searching for one of the other films, but is using search criteria that matches the answer given to the OP, they'll stumble upon this site and see the accepted answer (which for them will be wrong) and two other answers (which for them could be right).

In effect I'm arguing that allowing this practice, whilst not particularly helpful to the OP who has already accepted an answer, could be very helpful to future users looking for a similar movie.

Of course, not all questions should be treated like this. Some are too vague and could have too many possible answers. But if a detailed and useful answer is added (e.g. the sort @Walt usually provides) which could reasonably be considered the accepted answer if an answer hadn't already been given, I'd be happy leaving it.

On a similar note, that's why I think that people shouldn't delete their answers from these questions when the OP comments that it's not the right movie. If it fit their question in the first place, leave it - it could be helpful to others in the future.

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No, you should never remove a valid answer on the premise that another one has already been "accepted." This system is based on the premise of improving on the work you have here, and there is no way the 'accepted answer' should be used to indicate "we don't need your help anymore."

Your suggestion sounds more like an argument for deleting these questions (or not allowing them in the first place). I'm not suggesting that either, but you should certainly not be discarding people's work simply because the question has already been answered. That is not how this system works, and that is not the way to welcome someone trying to help the community.

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    Ha, so I wasn't the only one feeling this request seemed like treating the symptoms instead of the desease. ;-) – Napoleon Wilson Jul 24 '14 at 17:37

I'm not sure there is a line to be drawn here, the site works by up and down-voting questions and answers. I also don't think we need to worry too much about this, we're not curating a museum or a library - and I don't think the high-rep users or moderators should be involved in picking and choosing the best answers and deleting the others, even in the case of identification questions.

Theoretically the accepted answer might be incorrect - the person asking the question might have thought that the accepted answer was correct by the description, but on reading another answer would accept they were incorrect and choose the new answer.

I realize this is unlikely and we should as the person to justify or expand upon their rather poor answer, but I don't think we should be deleting an answer just because it appears to be incorrect. I wish I could find it now, but I am sure there is some stack-exchange advise on the reasons for deleting an answer and it being incorrect is specifically mentioned as not being adequate.

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  • Why are we double guessing the asker's use of a feature instead of the answerer's ability to read the page? – Crow T Robot Jul 23 '14 at 2:28
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    @CrowTRobot - I have little doubt you are correct (that it is the answerer's inability or laziness to read the page), but IMHO its the role of voting to address this either by voting up the right one, and/or down the incorrect one. – iandotkelly Jul 23 '14 at 4:10
  • I can only truely second this. It is a given guideline on StackExchange that bad or apparently incorrect answers are to be downvoted but not deleted. The accept button certainly is not the undelete button. I see that ID questions may have a special definitely answerable attribute, but this doesn't change the fact that they're SE questions like any other and we already have some special rules for those kinds of questions and I don't think we need many more. – Napoleon Wilson Jul 23 '14 at 8:31
  • "I don't think the high-rep users or moderators should be involved in picking and choosing the best answers and deleting the others" - I think this line is especially important in emphasizing the actual problems for the site's structural integrity that come once users/mods are justified to delete answers they deem worse than others or because they haven't been accepted. – Napoleon Wilson Jul 23 '14 at 11:04

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