I was going to write a question here asking what the appropriate response is to incorrect upvoted answers, but I realized that I'm far from the first person to ask this, e.g.
How should we deal with upvoted incorrect answers?
Are technically wrong answers and comments allowed on physics.SE?
Flags and technical innacuracies
physics.SE's inability to deal with users who are highly persistent...
Does it matter if answers are correct?
old questions with incorrect answers
Many questions on the scientific stack exchanges are highly advanced, and only a small number of people in the world are likely to actually know the answer. However, especially if the answer has the right "popular" flavor to it, it might garner a lot of up votes from people who can't judge it's merit, but know that it sounds good. When I encounter an incorrect answer like such, I've found my options to be very unsatisfactory:
- Down-voting: The expert to non-expert ratio of voters makes this ineffective.
- Commenting: Often-times the ways in which an answer is wrong cannot be succinctly summarized in a comment, and often-times comments on older questions get buried below a stack of previous comments, getting no visibility.
- Answering: Sometimes it's necessary not just to answer the question, but to rebuke the incorrect answer. Having a long rebuke section in an "answer" doesn't seem appropriate. More-over, such a rebuke is unlikely to get the same upvotes as a nice-sounding answer since it likely brings attention to the nuance and complexity of a subject. This seems like an ineffective mechanism against incorrect answers that already have a lot of vote-mass.
In my view this is a problem, and has led me to think that stack exchange is an unreliable and potentially misleading source for these types of advanced subjects (although that hasn't kept me from coming back ;)
So I thought of a potential remedy:
A "Requires Expertise" Notice
For highly specialized questions, the notice would remind users that they should only answer or vote on questions if they have the expertise to judge whether an answer is accurate or not. I'm thinking of something similar in style to the "controversial post" notice. I'd think that this could be added by mods, or perhaps the questioner themselves, who recognized a question was likely to garner such votes. To be clear I'm not suggesting certain users be labeled "experts" or anything like that or that anything here would be reputation based, just a notice in an attempt to dissuade irresponsible voting & answering.
Edit Whether it's a good idea or not, I fear the suggestion is being misunderstood, so I've tried to remove some of the fluff in an attempt to clarify.