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It sometimes happens that I come upon a post where a completely ridiculous answer is accepted by a clueless poster.

The immediate gut-response is to do something, since leaving the situation as-is is an affront to SU. But there is nothing to do. I cannot flag the answer, since there is no flag for "Answer cannot be accepted". Down-voting the answer will only let off steam, but will not correct the situation.

As an example take the post How exactly does ROM work when the power is turned off?

The accepted answer cites an ancient technology from the 1960s or 70s, before ROM ever existed. It pretends that there are little physical wires running inside the ROM, representing bits, which are connected or disconnected to denote 0 or 1.

My attempt to explain that ROM uses such newfangled concepts as solid-state technology and electrical charges, has met with total incomprehension.

Is there anything else to do than shake my head and forget about it?

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    You already did it: Write a better answer and let the community vote accordingly. – I say Reinstate Monica Apr 30 '17 at 18:20
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    ...then hire a botnet to downvote the accepted answer. \o/ – I say Reinstate Monica Apr 30 '17 at 18:21
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    Being completely honest here, the other answer isn't at all bad. Yes most modern non-volatile storage is NAND Flash, but there are many reasons to use older forms of nonvolatile storage such as EEPROM, FRAM, and simpler tech. NAND flash doesn't lend itself well to certain access methods that other types do. The simplest types of PROM can be used to make a one-time-programmable memory such as a bootloader can consist of wires burn open at the factory to create a memory array that is read by a device at startup, with remaining code loaded from Flash. – Mokubai Apr 30 '17 at 18:46
  • @Mokubai: In answering, my problem was which technology to describe. I chose Flash because it seems simple, modern, and so the answer will have a longer period of relevancy. But none of the variants you cited contain mechanical wires except for example this curiosity. – harrymc Apr 30 '17 at 18:55
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    @harrymc in his answer he is talking about wires used for addressing rows and columns, a common method of accessing memory arrays. The actual storage for a 1 or 0 is done by a diode which is either connected or not. To me the answer is perfectly cromulent. Instead of "wire" you could substitute the word "interconnect" if you like. – Mokubai Apr 30 '17 at 18:58
  • @Mokubai: More comments here will get this conversation moved to chat by some moderator such as yourself. – harrymc Apr 30 '17 at 19:01
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    Needs to be retitled, "Why can't users all recognise my answers as superior?" – random May 1 '17 at 21:27
  • @random: That was unworthy of you, and untrue besides. Normally I would flag such a comment for deletion by a moderator, but you are one. I think you owe me an apology. – harrymc May 2 '17 at 4:45
  • This is the inherent problem with a democracy; sometimes wrong people vote the wrong way and there's nothing you can do about it. Same as with real life. The only thing you can do is just allow people to be wrong, advocate the position of right, and hope that it wins out in the end. The only other option would be gerrymandering the vote, which makes it not a democracy anymore. Sorry to get political there :-) – Wes Sayeed May 5 '17 at 22:23
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Sorry, the only person who can affect the accepted state of the answer is the question author. If you believe an answer to be incorrect, you should downvote; that signals to other users (including the question author) that something is amiss. You have already commented, which is also a great thing to do because it explains to everyone involved why the answer shouldn't be accepted as correct.

Note that flagging is not the appropriate action, since moderators do not judge technical accuracy when handling flags.

Relevant MSE: Let's move some negatively scored answers from the top spot, which sadly has not yet been implemented.

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  • Thanks for the interesting link. I suppose that for SU to set up a general solution would be too complex, or may involve measures amounting to censure. – harrymc Apr 30 '17 at 18:27
  • I accept your answer, because comments by Mokubai make it clear that no other solution exists or is planned. So shake one's head and forget about it is the way to go. – harrymc Apr 30 '17 at 19:06
  • Technically, a moderator can affect the accepted state too, by deleting the post. (This is rare but may happen: e.g., if the author of that answer has a very good reason to get it deleted.) – user380375 Apr 30 '17 at 19:08
  • @Gerry: I don't think that deleting and undeleting the post will change the accepted status of the answer. However, I imagine that by deleting/undeleting the accepted answer the moderator should in effect be able to unaccept it. – harrymc May 2 '17 at 9:09
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Which answer the questioner believes helps them understand the solution to their problem is completely up to them.

What you can do it post a better, more understandable and more complete answer and let OP and the community vote as they will.

Answers are for the community and OP, not for the answerer.


Just because another answer references older technology doesn't mean it it wrong. Especially if it helps the question poster understand that this kind of technology exists and clears up a fundamental misunderstanding that they had.

Throwing information about all the sweet new tech we have is not always the best thing, and the newer tech still mimics the older stuff. Teach them what they are missing first, then show them all the new things we have.

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    Agreed, but future readers may be rather bewildered by such a blow from the past - as the accepted answer is displayed first. Answers are for posters first but also for readers second. @BenN has an interesting link in the same vein. I suppose the problem is insoluble. – harrymc Apr 30 '17 at 18:33

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