Consider the case of an answer that you have provided that receives half a dozen upvotes and is accepted by the original poster. However later you discover that your answer is incorrect. Nobody else has submitted a correct answer but you are now in a position to do so.

What is the approved procedure in this case? Should you edit the answer, retaining reputational points for your previous incorrect answer, or delete the answer and provide a completely new one for list members to reassess?


1 Answer 1


Up front, I'm unsure if there are formal guidelines for this.

Given that the answer is accepted I think it's important that the answer doesn't contain faulty information. Yet deleting an accepted answer is not a good thing to do in general. I would suggest to edit the answer instead, rather than adding another answer or deleting and replacing the original.

When editing the original answer, I would try to retain the previous answer as much as possible, and add an edit to it at the end. Start the edit with 'Edit :' in bold letter font and perhaps all-capped to emphasize an edit. You can also introduce the reason for the edit shortly.

If the answer is really incorrect and deserves killing, it may be best to replace the text by a correct answer, but I wouldn't prefer that. Perhaps you could use XML strike-through text to retain the original answer for others to read instead of deleting the accepted answer altogether.

But perhaps other users have better ideas. Good question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Agreed, although SE is generally against "meta" text in questions or answers (including references to previous versions), I think in a case like this it can be useful to preserve the previous reasoning outside of the edit history. Probably the ideal would be for the updated answer to not only explain the correct answer but also explain why the previous version was wrong (especially when that version appeared "correct enough" to attract upvotes from other users). There's a great learning opportunity in this situation! $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks. I'll do that. The question was on interpretation of PDB nomenclature on a web page and I have been in correspondence with them over it and now have an answer out of the horse's mouth, which in the circumstances must be the right answer. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 15:35

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