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I golf in TI-BASIC (the language that TI-83 and 84 series graphing calculators use), which is an uncommon language, and small even in proportion to the frequency of its use is the number of people in this community who know the details of the language. Therefore, good answers often go unrecognized, and wrong answers are often mistaken for good ones. I feel the need to sort out answers by quality, and use more votes than I otherwise would.

Recently, I have been searching for other answers by language in TI-BASIC. There are several very poor answers by the same user, some of which don't work at all: for example, this answer, which badly misunderstands the spec; this answer, which doesn't come close to working; this answer, which doesn't work and is partially plagiarized; and this answer, which was at +5 despite not working.

I have downvoted about twelve of these, and I honestly believe that they are all of poor quality. I left a comment on almost every one explaining the error in the code. I was flagged for serial downvoting for this behavior; however, I do not see the fault in my actions. I was not acting in revenge, I have never downvoted a TI-BASIC answer that works properly, and I would downvote an answer of similarly poor quality by any user.

When should I vote? suggests downvoting answers that "[make] no sense" or "[a]re wrong (in your opinion".

  1. Is it correct practice to downvote these answers?
  2. If so, how should I proceed?

Edit: Geobits brought up downvoting sparingly every few days to circumvent the system; I was caught again with four downvotes and will try again with one.

I don't think serial vote detection needs a complete overhaul, but as a community (since this problem seems to be specific to code golf)

  1. Should we waive serial downvote detection when both of the following are true?

    • The vote is on an answer.
    • The voter either leaves a comment that has achieved +1, or upvotes a comment by another user who downvoted.

Or could we recommend flagging (for answers that have been pointed out as wrong and not corrected) or some other action instead?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You are not the first one to point out Timtech's incorrect answer. But the thing is that no one here had the same device to verify the working of the answers (except Runner112) . Surely more people with the same device would help increase the quality of such answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Optimizer Jun 8 '15 at 17:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Optimizer I think the problem is that there will always be some language/whatever that's hard to test, even if more people started using TI-BASIC. Most people just won't go out that far of their way to test something. \$\endgroup\$ – Geobits Jun 8 '15 at 17:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ You folks have inspired me to post this: meta.codegolf.stackexchange.com/questions/5401/… \$\endgroup\$ – Sparr Jun 8 '15 at 17:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I remember getting his invalid answer in one of my ancient challenges as well. I didn't downvote at that time though since I didn't have enough rep. \$\endgroup\$ – user12205 Jun 14 '15 at 22:20
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All of the reasons you give for downvoting are acceptable and appropriate reasons.

The fact that you're not paying attention to other languages, so you don't downvote other answers that fit those same reasons, makes you no different from anyone else on SE who only pays attention to certain types of questions and answers. If TI-BASIC was the only language you knew, then you'd feel OK doing what you're doing, right?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems good for #1. For #2, the shady-feeling-but-only-visible course of action is to only downvote a couple each few days to get around the serial detection script. I don't know how well that would work in practice, though, and I feel dirty recommending it. \$\endgroup\$ – Geobits Jun 8 '15 at 16:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you upvoting some TI-BASIC answers, too? \$\endgroup\$ – Sparr Jun 8 '15 at 17:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Now that the general quality of TI-BASIC answers has improved, I've upvoted quite a few. \$\endgroup\$ – lirtosiast Jul 7 at 21:33
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I think focusing on one language to check for validity is fine.

However, mass-downvoting incorrect answers isn't all that helpful. If the author fixes the answer, there's no point in the downvote. If the author doesn't fix it, it should be deleted rather than downvoted (although downvoting an answer is sometimes necessary to allow it to be deleted). My recommendation would be to point out the mistake in the comments, and if the answer is not fixed within a reasonable length of time, aim to delete it (via modhammer, mod flag, VLQ flag, or delete votes, whichever method seems the most likely to produce useful results).

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