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After participating in Workplace for a while, I've found myself able to answer quite a few questions about US workplaces based on my experience both as an employee and as an employer.

Occasionally, some other Workplace participant will chime in with some point that happens to be misleading.

For example, this question's comment streams contain some opinions about US employment verification that aren't consistent with the way business is actually done.

First day of internship

Now look, I don't lose sleep when someone's wrong on the internet. (http://xkcd.com/386/) But questioners and readers might be misled by strongly-held opinion masquerading as fact.

What's the community standard for this sort of thing in comments? Is it worth worrying about? Flagging? In answers, a downvote is the obvious recourse.

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Thank you for your efforts to help maintain site quality. We rely heavily on the community.

As you noted, there are tools available for wrong information in posts (including downvotes, votes to delete in severe cases, and sometimes careful edits), but comments are more limited. Further, only moderators can address flags on comments; unlike (certain) flags on posts, there are no review queues where the community can act on its own.

Moderators are exception handlers, not arbiters of correctness. The diamond does not bestow the power to know when a post/comment is correct or incorrect. Therefore there is little we can do in response to a "this is wrong" flag (how do we know you're not the one who's wrong?), on either a post or a comment. So my recommendations are:

  • Leave one comment (if no one else has already), explaining your objections in a polite and professional way. If you can link to relevant sources, so much the better. Comments are not for extended conversations, but such a response will at least clue in readers that there's more to learn here. Note: if any of this comment discussion belongs in the post, suggest that the author incorporate it. Try to direct followup to chat ("[chat]" in a comment is a magic link to the site's main room, by the way).

  • If the comment has already been addressed, e.g. by an edit to the post, then the comment is obsolete and you can flag it that way. (If its obsolescence won't be obvious to someone who hasn't followed the whole history of the post, it's better to use a custom flag to explain what you mean.)

  • If the comment is really, really, dangerously wrong -- by which I mean something along the lines of "will kill you" or "will send you to federal prison", not "will cost you the interview -- then after leaving your comment explaining the problem, flag with a custom flag and we'll take a closer look.

  • If you see a back-and-forth exchange (argument or otherwise) in a comment thread, or comments that are obsolete, not about improving the post, or otherwise not what comments are for, please flag. At that point we probably don't care much who's right; if it's not serving the purpose of comments and it's posing a problem, we'll generally delete those. If this applies to most of the comments on a post, it's easier for us if you flag the post instead of the individual comments.

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