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I asked an identification question, gave as many details as I could muster, got the correct answer at the first try and even found a link to read the story online, and now I'm smiling as I reread it. Awesome stuff.

However, in my effort to put down the details, I obviously got a few wrong - for example, profession assignement happened at 18yo, not 13yo.

Do I want to go back and correct those details now, or should I leave the question alone?

(This question posted on MSO instead of meta.scifi as it is relevant to all sites that do identify-this-X questions, including e.g. Gaming... and actually for all sites, given that often the whole reason why you have to ask a question is you've got a detail wrong.)

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Why are identifications still around? –  random Nov 4 '11 at 2:20
    
Why did you delete this question from the scifi.meta site and re-ask it here? –  Keen Nov 4 '11 at 2:22

2 Answers 2

Generally speaking I think it makes sense to correct the details in the question, because the details that you originally posted were basically figments of your imagination. They're only relevant to you. When somebody else comes along looking for the same story you were looking for, there's no reason to expect that they would misremember the details in the same manner you did; either

  • they will remember the correct details, in which case having them in the question will help to verify to the person that they've found the right story; or
  • they will remember the details slightly wrong, in which case having your incorrect details in the question may amplify the difference between what the person sees on the site and what they think they remember, thereby casting doubt on whether they have it right.

The only case in which it would not make sense, as far as I can tell, is if there is some reason to think that other people would make the same mistake you did, i.e. if what you originally wrote in your question is a popular misconception about that particular story.

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+1 for "because the details that you originally posted were basically figments of your imagination" –  The Unhandled Exception Nov 4 '11 at 13:04

I've been thinking about this for a while now, and the conclusion I've come to is: You should correct it.

Why? Because as long as these questions are still around*, they ought to be made as useful as possible for other users. Incorrect details help no one, whether answerers or bystanders or people searching on Google.

I'd go so far as to say you should add details as well. Don't describe all of the minutiae, but cover everything important and/or memorable. Do your best to make sure that people who were confused as you were before getting the answer can find your post via Google.

I would like to see those with the inclination and editing privileges to begin correcting identify-this-game posts with accepted answers, as well. No reason to let the question rot if the OP doesn't do it themselves.

*Whether they should stay around is another question. I like them, personally, as long as they are sufficiently detailed.

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