What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 130 Stack Exchange communities.

I recently searched for a problem on SO, and found an old question (with an accepted answer) that resolved my issue. However, the answer is slightly outdated so that I had to do a small workaround. The workaround may have been as little as finding an updated link.

I feel I should mention this workaround, even though the question is old and already accepted.

However, I already posted two answers along those lines and they were deleted instead of being converted to comments. (I don't have enough rep to comment.)

What is the problem?

Are answers on Stack Overflow meant only for the OP, and not for anyone has the same issue as the OP later?

Or should I avoid mentioning the updates to an answer because I don't have enough reputation to comment?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Answers on SO are very much meant to be for everyone who might face the same problem and not only the original asker.

If an answer should be updated you should definitely comment (when possible) or suggest an edit with the new information. If the update is substantial, it's appropriate to add a new answer explaining the situation, workaround, and under what circumstances the original accepted answer still applies.

The exact line between when to suggest an edit versus creating a new answer is not always clear, but that's one reason why suggested edits are reviewed. Updating a link is definitely a good reason to edit an answer, while if the workaround is longer than can be explained in a comment, it might be appropriate to create a new, standalone answer.

share|improve this answer
    
Thank you for the clarification. Actually I didn't know about the edit option on other people's answer. While it seems to me a little "intrusive" I will try it the next time! –  laika Oct 3 '12 at 7:40
1  
@laika editing answers for technical inaccuracy or typos is usually well received by most members of the community, it may not always be welcomed as much (varies from person to person). If you can, comment first and give the OP a chance to respond. And if your recommended edit changes the meaning of the answer, I would suggest posting your own answer. –  psubsee2003 Oct 3 '12 at 8:05

You should be very carreful when editing upvoted answer, and even more, when the answer is accepted.

The tricky part is that everyone thinks his answer is correct (with exception of trolls and graphomans), but this is the community, that confirms this suspicion by upvoting and accepting. But if you change the answer, it may become something that those people would not upvote/accept.

When the link have changed, I wouldn't have doubt - you should edit. But when the answer is slightly outdated, you should, in my personal opinion, note it in the least invasive way.

  1. You can add comment that now (date) the situation looks a bit different

  2. You can ask similar question, link it to the original, and state, that the original question is now slightly outdated so you ask about changes to this situation - this is very little invasive

  3. You can create new answer, stating, that existing numbers are now (date) outdated. It's a bit invasive method.

  4. The most invasive is the edit to question. In my opinion, if it can't be avoided, the reader should be able to identify what was added to the question. At best it would be, IMHO, to add the update text at the end and there write how the answer looks for now. But, because it would be impossible to distinct between upvotes to original and updated answer, this should be IMHO avoided.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .