Recently I came across a question with a couple of answers that I completely disagree with. I think only about the content of answers -- their form is perfectly OK. I just believe that answers are utterly wrong.

To make the thing worse, these aren't factual answer, but the kind that base on opinions / experience so I do assume that there isn't one universal answer for a problem. At the same time I can say that, basing on my experience and knowledge, I would go even that far to say that these answers are harmful. Yet still it is only an opinion, not a fact.

Now, should I downvote in such case?

UPDATE: Examples: https://pm.stackexchange.com/a/6113/89 or https://pm.stackexchange.com/a/6114/89

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    Pawel, do you think it's worth posting a link to the answers so we can analyze, or are you just looking for general guidance? Voting is, after all, a private matter... so it's up to you ;) If i thought the material was harmful, I'd personally downvote, but you could at the very least add a comment if you felt action is warranted. If it helps, I downvote (and upvote) a lot. My voting record is (1418 up/54 down). See the bottom-right portion of my user profile. Remember though, you're downvoting the content, not the people. Hope this helps ;) – jmort253 Jul 6 '12 at 17:49
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    What I'm looking for is sort of guideline. I know voting is sort of private matter. Most of the time it's easy: content and form of answer are good - upvote; content is good but form is not - fix or leave it alone; neither is good - downvote; content isn't good but for is - I'm confused :) I don't want to start an orthodox fight, especially that there are people who seem to like the answer(s). – Pawel Brodzinski Jul 9 '12 at 8:21
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    Using your construct and description above "their form is perfectly OK": form is ok, you disagree with the content, therefore downvote. The subjective nature of the answers comes from the nature of the question itself (which I am now of the opinion that it is off-topic, but waiting for further community feedback on that). The answers are germane to the question itself so they are not inappropriate given the context. You won't be starting a fight, you will be helping the community and the site. Input and voting (up and down) are great contributions. – Mark Phillips Jul 9 '12 at 18:03
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    Yes, this is what votes are for. – Robert Harvey Jul 12 '12 at 2:17

If it were my answer and it generated such a disagreement from an esteemed contributor--I mean that sincerely--I'd want to know and would be keenly interested in the counter argument or point of view. This site is about learning, not being right...at least it is for me!

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    +1 David on your continued awesome participation! – Mark Phillips Jul 9 '12 at 20:45
  • David, thanks for being such an awesome contributor! I can relate heavily to what you said. I've definitely learned more from the times I was wrong on Stack Exchange than from when I was right. +1 – jmort253 Jul 10 '12 at 0:23

Pawel, Downvote and comment. If you think it could be helpful to our discussion on the character of the site, please do share the answer.


Subjective Answers Allowed?

The answer to your question is really a different question, which is "Are subjective answers allowed on this stack?" For example, Stack Overflow has an explicit policy that subjective answers or questions that will lead to opinions or polling are off-topic.

What Downvoting Means

Generally, downvoting means that a post is not clear, or not useful to you. In meta discussions, downvotes mean "I don't agree." However, on the stack, it should really be a bit more targeted.

It's your vote, so do what you want with it, but I generally reserve downvotes for answers that are factually wrong or for questions that are unclear or poorly researched. If I find myself disagreeing with a post because it's content is subjective, then I typically just flag it for closure unless a stack's policy allows for opinion pieces.

  • We're currently experimenting with a form of the "Back it up rule", which encourages posters to either state why he/she believes his/her answer to be correct, or citing references that support the answer. Your answer here is a good example that utilizes the back it up rule by citing a reference. – jmort253 Jul 14 '12 at 1:12

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