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I am bothered by answers chosen by OP questions which are evidently wrong within standard peer reviewed physics , this is an example

Since one of the aims of the site is to be searchable and be a basis for physics questions on the net, the set up of a chosen by OP answer with negative votes seems a mockery. A random searcher will not know the rules of the site and assume the check is for "correct" and not even go to any other answers even if they have high scores.

Maybe moderation is reasonable? Could one make such situations unsearchable to the engines?

Another solution would be to make a list of such discrepancies and people interested could check up and at least upvote a/the correct answer.

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    $\begingroup$ Related request on mother meta: meta.stackexchange.com/q/178439/263383 $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Dec 10 '16 at 19:06
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    $\begingroup$ Nothing for it but to downvote. Even if you would usually let it go, this is a case where it is important to make it clear that the acceptance is in error. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Dec 10 '16 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ Just FYI, and apologies if you know this. Could one make such situations unsearchable to the engines? You can do this very easily for a single page, that is tell Google to "noindex", but on this site the page is fixed in it's basic format and questions and answers are pulled in from a database. So no. $\endgroup$ – user108787 Dec 11 '16 at 2:51
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what you mean by "chosen by OP questions which are evidently wrong." Are you talking about accepted answers? $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Dec 15 '16 at 20:42
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby yes, chosen by the poster. In this particular case that I link above, the poster changed opinion and unticked the many negative vote answer $\endgroup$ – anna v Dec 16 '16 at 4:52
  • $\begingroup$ There is no easy solution. It's been clear to me the accepted answer is just a personal vote by one person. But.... That person posted the question, so why not? Also true that the most up voted is not necessarily the best. You want more definitive, read refereed journals or great textbooks. $\endgroup$ – Bob Bee Dec 20 '16 at 1:25
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Part of the problem is that we are not always sympathetic to questions from the less experienced physics fans. In this case the question had attracted two downvotes and no answers by the time I added my rather brief answer. So it's no surprise that when someone took time to write a detailed and apparently considered answer that answer would impress the OP enough to be accepted even though it's wrong.

If we don't want to see this happen the solution is that we collectively have to take the trouble to write a detailed, correct, and most importantly a sympathetic answer. I appreciate there can be various reasons why people don't feel motivated to do this, but if we don't put in the required effort we can't complain about the outcome.

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    $\begingroup$ well, John, I spend much of my time answering simple questions, but do not catch all of them, due to time differences I guess. I chase after the "particle" tag but do not look for other problems . It is interesting that the OP unpicked the answer after this discussion. My point is more general, on the objectives of the site as a repository of good physics answers. $\endgroup$ – anna v Dec 11 '16 at 7:24
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    $\begingroup$ @annav: I guess my answer sounded as if I was criticising you personally and I didn't mean to. My comments are aimed at the community in general. There are not enough hours in the day for any of us to answer all the questions we'd like to :-) $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Dec 11 '16 at 7:36
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see any response yet to the @annav suggestion of a list of accepted wrong answers which interested people could check up on and respond to. There are other examples which don't receive enough attention to get the down votes which would give a clue to visitors that the checked answer isn't great. physics.stackexchange.com/questions/299792/… $\endgroup$ – D. Ennis Dec 21 '16 at 12:00
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The answer which is "accepted" by the OP is merely that - the answer which the OP most approves of at the time. It is not intended to be the "best answer" and there is no guarantee that it is even "correct".

It is true that a random searcher might wrongly assume the "accepted" answer is "correct." But that is a fault in the presentation of the feature rather than its operation - how it appears rather than what it is intended to do. (Perhaps the green tick needs to be replaced by something less evocative of official approval - a smiley face?) And no sane visitor would think an answer "correct" if it has overwhelming down-votes.

The Help Centre explains :

What does it mean when an answer is "accepted"?

Accepting an answer ... simply means that the author received an answer that worked for him or her personally. Not every user comes back to accept an answer, and of those who do, they might not change the accepted answer even if a newer, better answer comes along later.

The rules of the site allow the OP complete freedom in choosing which answer to "accept" - even an answer which is "obviously" incorrect. Probably the choice in this case was intended to be a deliberate "poke in the eye" to those who criticised the question. However, any interference with this choice by a Moderator could only be done if there was an abuse of the system, and even then could only remove the green tick and not award it to another answer. I agree with John Duffield that such a practice would stray into censorship.

Changing an "accepted answer" to ensure that it is the "best answer" would be altering the central purpose of the feature, and it would be fraught with difficulties. If the "best answer" is the one with the most upvotes the feature would be redundant. If it is the choice of some other user or group of users, then who exactly will have this privilege?

A large number of upvotes is no guarantee that the answer is "best" or even correct. As with questions, it is only an indication of popularity. Votes for answers only indicate whether or not they are "useful". This is explained in the Help Centre :

Why is voting important?

Voting is central to our model of providing quality questions and answers; it is how ...good content rises to the top...incorrect content falls to the bottom...

Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful, while voting down a post signals the opposite: that the post contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information. The more that people vote on a post, the more certain future visitors can be of the quality of information contained within that post...

I agree with the two Johns that poor or incorrect content should be highlighted by :

  1. down-voting
  2. commenting
  3. posting a correct answer which others can up-vote.

Related Meta questions :

Why isn't bad content downvoted and commented on enough
Is it appropriate to use the low quality review system to get rid of 'bad' answers?

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  • $\begingroup$ That's the problem with the non-code SO sites. An answer in SO can be checked by simply typing it into the computer, if it solves the problem it is correct. The procedure in science is a little trickier $\endgroup$ – Martin Beckett Dec 22 '16 at 4:06
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I am bothered by chosen by OP questions which are evidently wrong within standard peer reviewed physics , this is an example

If you're bothered by an answer that's "evidently" wrong, you should make some comment to say why it's wrong. Better still you should provide an answer of your own which is correct, and clearly contrary to the answer you think is wrong.

Since one of the aims of the site is to be searchable and be a basis for physics questions on the net, the set up of a chosen by OP answer with negative votes seems a mockery.

Those are the rules. And how do you know that the chosen answer is incorrect? Because it has a lot of negative votes? Judging answers by votes rather than by evidence and references is the mockery.

A random searcher will not know the rules of the site and assume the check is for "correct" and not even go to any other answers even if they have high scores.

A random searcher can soon find out the rules of the site.

Maybe moderation is reasonable? Could one make such situations unsearchable to the engines?

That's calling for censorship. I am opposed to that, especially when it's performed by people who get the physics wrong, and they're censoring Einstein.

Another solution would be to make a list of such discrepancies and people interested could check up and at least upvote a/the correct answer.

My answer is the correct answer, and yet it has six downvotes. I note your comment "it is interesting that the OP unpicked the answer after this discussion". Yes it is. If you'd like to try to explain why it's incorrect, I'd be only too glad to hear it. Ditto for anybody else. An objective of the site is to be a repository of good physics answers. But I'm afraid all too often what you think is a good physics answers is wrong.

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    $\begingroup$ " [...] people who get the physics wrong, and they're censoring Einstein." Why are you taking it personally? This might not be all about you, you know! $\endgroup$ – Danu Dec 14 '16 at 11:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Danu : it isn't about me. It's about physics. About ten years back our then-teenage children gave up all their science subjects, which was an unpleasant surprise, and I found out that physics A-levels were down 56% in 25 years. I felt there was a rising tide of ignorance, and decided I'd do my bit to combat it. But it's not easy. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 14 '16 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ Five downvotes now. I frankly can't tell what so wrong about your answer, so I up voted. $\endgroup$ – Bob Bee Dec 20 '16 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Bob Bee : thanks. There's seems to be something of an issue here with downvoting. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 20 '16 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ @BobBee I cannot speak for the others, but I downvoted because of the last two paragraphs - the stuff before that is perfectly inoffensive, but "censorship" is a loaded word to describe the intent of hiding bad content from searchers here (and we do, already, e.g. drop questions voted below -3 from the frontpage for the exact same reason, and I don't think that's in any way objectionable). Furthermore, the last paragraph is an empty assertion that correct answers get downvoted. Let's just say I've rarely seen more than one or two downvotes on answers I thought were both relevant and correct. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Dec 21 '16 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ @CuriousMind. I don't disagree with what you are saying, just that sometimes we are too sensitive. On downvotes on correct or at least not totally wrong answers, I think it's not that black or white, and thought mostly it's ok I think downvotes are sometimes for one statement in the answer that could even be wrong, but I think in some cases are better dealt with in a comment and downvotes if it persists. Still, voting is just voting, nothing sacred. And I don't mean to make a big deal of it, it's just an indicator, not the rule in what's right or wrong. For the record, moderators do good $\endgroup$ – Bob Bee Dec 21 '16 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Bob Bee : make no mistake, some of those downvotes were because the answer was by me. Because I've challenged the thought-police who promote popscience lies-to-children and who do not like to be challenged. Don't presume voting is always honest. Search the chatroom on downvote to oblivion. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 22 '16 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Duffield.That may be true in some cases, but there's a wider topic here.The so called thought police are moderators who try to do their best to softly enforce the site policy of dealing with mainstream physics and not every other person who has their own theory or thinks Einstein was crazy or some other undesirable or quantum theory is a conspiracy (I forget by whom). There's been some of those also,not saying who but in many cases it's hard to argue correctly with the moderators decision.Posting w/o looking for a controversy on everything and being a little open on both sides could help some $\endgroup$ – Bob Bee Dec 22 '16 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Bob Bee : the difference here is that I refer to Einstein a great deal. And the hard scientific evidence, which is more important than what anybody said. I find myself at odds with people who say we know better now or that's not mainstream, and then talk authoritatively about the holographic principle or Hawking radiation or some other hypothesis for which there's no actual scientific evidence. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 23 '16 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ Understood. Still think there can be reasons both ways $\endgroup$ – Bob Bee Dec 23 '16 at 19:10

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