I flagged this answer for moderator attention: it suggests aliasing rm to rm -f which, in every possible use case that I can imagine, is a spectacularly inadvisable course of action.

The flag was declined with this note:

declined - flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

What about this answer does not require moderator intervention?

Do we wish to keep here as a textbook example of an astonishingly thoughtless answer? Why would we not want to remove an answer that is a) patently wrong (garnering 10 downvotes) and b) that advocates an approach that is , if not dangerous, certainly foolhardy to the point of absurdity?

Keeping it around serves no purpose, educational or otherwise that I can see. What am I so obviously missing here?

  • In that particular case, slm and I had both I had voted to delete it, but that is a >=20k rep thing.
    – terdon Mod
    Mar 10, 2014 at 17:11
  • Relevant
    – Braiam
    Mar 20, 2014 at 1:44
  • It seems to have been deleted by now. Mar 23, 2014 at 20:27
  • @PeterMortensen Yes, see Michael's comment below...
    – jasonwryan
    Mar 23, 2014 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


Flagging wrong answers is, in itself, wrong; at one point somebody even suggested explicitly pointing it out in the flag dialog. We delete answers that are spam or that don't attempt to answer the question, not answers that attempt to answer the question and completely miss the mark. Wrong answers should be downvoted, and this one has 12, plus a few comments pointing out what a bad idea it is

  • 4
    The issue with this answer is not just that it is just wrong, but wrong and dangerously so. There is no justificable reason to keep it on the wiki, so you are saying that it was not deleted on principle? The answer below it seems to have escaped that fate.
    – jasonwryan
    Mar 10, 2014 at 16:13
  • @jasonwryan I don't really think it's that dangerous, but I deleted it. Quite a few of the "not an answer" flags we get are wrong, and I'd like people to get out of the habit of flagging posts for being wrong. The answer below it actually was not an answer, because it said to use chattr +i, which the question specifically mentioned wasn't an option Mar 10, 2014 at 16:59
  • 1
    But @jasonwryan flagged it as "needing mod attention" not "not an answer" right? I think that potentially harmful answers that are both wrong and can seriously screw up your system do need mod attention. They are answers and should not be flagged as not being one but shouldn't we make sure our site is free of things that are both dangerous and crap?
    – terdon Mod
    Mar 10, 2014 at 17:13
  • @MichaelMrozek Thank you. I'm mindful of not creating unnecessary work for the mods, but felt that this was so egregious it did warrant mod attention. I also agree with terdon that we want to maintain a standard of quality on the wiki, and that answer clearly failed every reasonable test.
    – jasonwryan
    Mar 10, 2014 at 17:25
  • @MichaelMrozek That's a really strange argument considering that the flag definition is "does not attempt to answer the question". Of course, "chattr +i" tries to answer the question. It is neither an edit nor a comment. It does not make sense as an answer. Neither does the rm example. According to your argument the rm answer would become "not an answer" if the question said "stupid solutions are not an option"... Mar 12, 2014 at 23:12
  • @HaukeLaging That argument is a little absurd; you might as well have every question say "only right answers are acceptable". Answers that attempt to answer the question are answers. I make an exception for answers that clearly missed some part of the question, because the question they're answering isn't the question that was asked. If somebody says "how do I do this thing in Firefox" and the answer says "Here's how you do it in Chrome", they were answering a question about Chrome, not a question about Firefox. If they give a sucky answer about Firefox, it was still an answer about Firefox Mar 13, 2014 at 0:34

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