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Consider this recent answer about dealing with smoke detectors making annoying noise on Shabbat. In it, the answerer, coming from a point-of-view outside traditional Judaism but knowledgeable and concerned about smoke detector safety, makes two on-point recommendations, presented as alternatives to each other:

  1. Leave the noisy smoke detector undisturbed and un-muffled so that it can continue to do its safety-critical job.

  2. Replace the battery on Shabbat, since the smoke detector's safety-critical job trumps observance of Shabbat.

It seems likely (and let's assume, at least for the sake of this meta post) that the first recommendation is consistent with Halacha and valuable as an answer to the question, while the second recommendation is not consistent with Halacha and therefore, from the point of view of traditional Judaism, misleading.


In this type of case, where an answer contains both valuable, on-point information and incorrect, on-point information, should an individual editor:

  • Comment an objection and leave the post alone, while voting it up, down, or neither based on the balance of the value of its current information?

  • Edit out the incorrect information, leaving a comment to explain why?

  • Comment asking the author to edit and follow up with an edit if the author doesn't?

If the correct course of action depends on how much of the answer is valuable and how much is incorrect, what's a good way to determine where those lines are?

If the correct course of action depend on how unanimous or controversial the wrongness of the wrong part is, what's a good way to draw that line?

  • That post seems at best a comment. It's not based in Judaism. The only recommendation it gives that does happen to coincide with Halacha is already mentioned in another answer and likely deals with a situation that is implicitly excluded by the OP (where removing it would be dangerous). I move to make it a comment and trim it down somewhat while doing so. – Double AA Mar 23 '15 at 14:14
  • @DoubleAA That part of the answer is consistent with Judaism and provides relevant data. The idea that the detector should be left in place as a matter of safety is mentioned in passing by another answer, but an answer that emphasizes and backs up that point is valuable in its own right. I don't see the implicit exclusion in the question; if anything, the question assumes that doing something to conceal or disable the alarm is consistent with pikuach nefesh considerations, and this answer challenges that assumption on metziut grounds. – Isaac Moses Mar 23 '15 at 14:20
  • Only if it's the only smoke detector around, as the OP says. Of course it's implicit in the question that he is only asking about a case and solution that doesn't create pikuach nefesh. – Double AA Mar 23 '15 at 14:21
  • @DoubleAA CYLQHSE (qualified home safety expert) regarding what exact configuration of alarms needs to be maintained for safety's sake. In many cases, this answer explains, the solution that doesn't create p"n is to leave the alarm alone. – Isaac Moses Mar 23 '15 at 14:24
  • I just don't see how a warning to not put anyone's life in danger is an answer. You can post that to just about any how-to question. – Double AA Mar 23 '15 at 14:27
  • @DoubleAA This is a question about safety equipment, so p"n is inherently at issue. – Isaac Moses Mar 23 '15 at 14:29
  • So a comment "Don't forget about p"n" seems very relevant. I did that here: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/56392/… It's not really an answer. It's more of a friendly reminder/emphasis. – Double AA Mar 23 '15 at 14:33
  • @DoubleAA P"n was explicitly at issue there, too (even more so). An answer laying out the particular p"n considerations involved with making a beracha while driving would be perfectly appropriate. – Isaac Moses Mar 23 '15 at 14:36
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    Another factor (to be elaborated in answers) should be how much consensus there is that the wrong thing is wrong. In this case it seems clear, but we've had a lot of back-and-forths on the site over things that turn out to be a machlokhet, or different for different communities, and I would worry about inviting edits to "fix" those cases unless the edit expands (covers all the cases) rather than subtracts (deletes what the editor feels is wrong). – Monica Cellio Mar 23 '15 at 17:55
  • @MonicaCellio, I added a qualification question addressing youir concern. Please feel free to improve it if it doesn't capture the full concept. – Isaac Moses Mar 23 '15 at 18:20
  • @IsaacMoses thanks, looks good. – Monica Cellio Mar 23 '15 at 18:24

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