Sometimes it happens that, on answering a question, I see that someone else has given a plainly wrong answer (in my opinion, of course) to the same question.

I have always refrained from down-voting that answer because it seemed to me to be rather bad practice to down-vote competing answers. Where there are competing answers I assumed it to be better to leave the voting to my peers, who in principle, would be more neutral.

But I am quite happy to up-vote competing answers I deem to be good.

So my question: Is it good practice to refrain from down-voting a competing answer to the same question?


I think if the other answer is harmfully wrong, you should down vote. If you just think your answer is better, or disagree on a less-than-fundamental level, leave it alone.

It would be easy for Stack Exchange to prevent downvoting on competing answers. But they don't. So I think the best thing is to use your judgment. It's only one vote, and if your in-principle-neutral peers disagree, we'll outvote you.


Sure, you should vote on anything you feel inclined to -- up or down.

Personally I try to be generous with my upvotes but reserve downvotes for things I feel strongly about.


Personally, if I think the competing answer is wrong because of, what, a mere misspell, or a wrong reference somewhere (these are so easy to get, especially on the programming StackExchange sites where I frequent), I'll edit it myself (if I had editing privileges). Nobody's perfect after all.

For the really wrong answers in concept (as in they're teaching something downright wrong), I don't hold back on the down votes. That's part of why the function's there anyway. I don't leave it at that though; generally I leave behind a comment on why I think it's wrong and what they can improve on.

But that's just me. If I answered incorrectly, I'd rather my answer get voted down so that the other (more correct) answers get precedence and limelight anyway, and just chuck that answer up to my you-learn-something-new-everyday groove or something.


It's definitely good practice to up vote competing answers, there's actually a badge for that. As far as down voting competing answers, very few people downvote questions or answers unless they are in dire need of attention. In those cases, a downvote is still appropriate.


If the other answer is clearly wrong, downvote and reference why towards your answer. Don't downvote just to try to get your own answer to the top of course :)

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