Suppose an answer is blatantly incorrect. (E.g. it quotes a Talmudic passage to answer the question, but the passage in question actually says the exact opposite.)

I would assume that normally the best thing to do would be to downvote and leave a comment explaining that the answer is incorrect. Others can also downvote the answer and/or upvote the comment pointing out the error. However, this only really works for active questions.

What if you find an old answer that is blatantly incorrect? If you downvote and leave a comment, all that will happen is that there will be one downvote and one non-upvoted comment. That does not sufficiently alert future readers to be wary of the answer (as only one person criticized it). If, however, the question would get bumped to the homepage, it is likely that others will see it and downvote and/or upvote the comment, thus alerting future readers that there is a consensus that the answer is bad.

So in such a case, should you edit the answer to remove the incorrect part (even though it completely distorts the author's intent)? Or perhaps you should make a minor edit so that you don't fundamentally change someone else's work but it still gets bumped to the homepage? Flag the answer for deletion? Some other option?

(I imagine this question is related to this question which has no answers. I am especially interested in the difference between how to treat active questions vs old questions.)

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    Even if you bump it people need to still notice your comment, understand your criticism, and trust you. This seems like a general downside of crowdsourcing. See too meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/fastest-gun – Double AA May 15 '18 at 16:17
  • Why not just flag it for review? – DonielF May 16 '18 at 17:37
  • @DonielF I don't think it fits any of the review categories. – Alex May 16 '18 at 18:02
  • @Alex “Not an answer”? – DonielF May 16 '18 at 18:24
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    @DonielF "Not an answer" means that the post does not address the question. Especially on topics where it is hard to quantify an objective truth, I don't think that you can accuse something of not being an answer because you disagree with it. – Alex May 16 '18 at 18:40
  • @Alex Perhaps. But if it’s objectively wrong, that’s usually what ends up happening, at least in my experience with the queue. – DonielF May 16 '18 at 18:41

Edits that go against the author's intent are bad whether the post is an hour old or a year old, so please don't do that. Here are some things you can do instead:

  • Provide a better answer (if you can). This also bumps the question.

  • Bring it up in chat. While most people don't use chat, many active users do and they might have ideas about how to address the problem. (Also, if you can't provide a better answer but you suspect somebody else can, we might get a better answer that way.)

  • Make legitimate edits somewhere on the page. Please don't make trivial edits just to bump, but it's an old question. Are the tags right? Can you fix any broken links? Are any images missing descriptions? Are there untranslated Hebrew passages?

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    Perhaps this is a separate question, but is there a possibility that if you edit an answer to fix the tags, a reader will simply see your name associated with the answer and automatically give more credence to the answer without checking if your contribution was actually significant? – Alex May 15 '18 at 16:44
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    @Alex You would have to edit the question to edit the tags, so you wouldn't be putting your name near any answer. – magicker72 May 15 '18 at 17:17
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    @magicker72 Touche. But that was just an example. What about fixing a broken link in the answer? – Alex May 15 '18 at 17:23

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