This question exists because of this answer, and a discussion in chat that followed it. I'll get to that later.
This question is about a unique category of answers on Stack Exchange: specious answers.
Specious answers are incorrect and bad, yet look legitimate and good.
By an incorrect/bad answer, I don't mean an answer that has some inaccuracies. I mean an answer which is fundamentally and irrecoverably bad. An answer that, for instance, proposes a Fighter build that builds completely on the assumption you can use some particular abilities together - but you cannot use those abilities together, and the entire build falls apart as a result. An inaccurate answer can be corrected, but an answer like this has its problems at its foundation, and the only way to make it correct via editing is to hit Ctrl+A and then Delete.
My basic question is this:
How do we respond to answers like this on RPG.SE?
Earlier in chat, KRyan raised concerns about the monk answer. It was frequently incorrect, yet he has no means to express why. He cannot use the comment system, because the comment system is not for feedback. With the problems with the answer being subtle and frequent, an onlooker could think the answer's pretty good and upvote it.
Other Stack Exchange sites like GameDev experience these sorts of answers regularly. For instance, someone may ask "How do I program this enemy to do so-and-so?" Someone responds with some code which does the job wonderfully, and everyone upvotes it, but one person notices that in a (fairly common) situation, the algorithm will go into an infinite loop and freeze the game. The algorithm itself is not repairable, it simply needs to be thrown out and replaced with a completely different approach.
On GameDev, the typical response is for someone to just say so in a comment: "-1 This algorithm goes into an infinite loop and crashes the game when (common situation)." Readers will see the comment, go "Oh yeah", upvote the comment and downvote the answer. The day is saved.
Here, we can't leave a comment like that. The comment system is not for that. So what do we do?
- Leave an opposing answer is a common mod suggestion. What do we do, leave an answer saying "@ThatOtherGuy's algorithm is completely wrong"? You could leave a better algorithm, and that's fine, but that won't address the fact a bad algorithm is getting upvotes. The problem here is not the lack of a contrary answer, it's conveying the incorrectness of the answer.
- Downvote the answer? The question will get one downvote, and a comment will be made asking "Why the downvote? This answer is great!" (which will be deleted, because it's an unacceptable use of comments here)
So, how do we respond to such situations?
For the record, I don't know why the monk answer is incorrect. I am only concerned by the fact that @KRyan has no avenue to express why it is.