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I'm new here and I don't know what are the guidelines for correcting answers given by the others.

The situations that happened to me: I opened the question and saw three answers. In all of those answers it was the same mistake. I didn't want to add comment to all three of them, so I gave my own, 4th answer with correct piece of code. 2 minutes later all of that answers were corrected and I got downvoted twice. I don't understand why, because I just wanted to help the guy who asked the question and my suggestion was used to correct that answers.

How should I correct the answers next time and not to be downvoted?

Question is here. As you can see it is rather basic question and I didn't want to downvote the others because the mistake was in "USE DatabaseName". I deleted my answer, because I didn't want to get more downvotes :-) Besides all the answers were corrected so I have achieved my goal ;-)

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Added in last paragraph. – Lukasz Lysik Sep 11 '09 at 22:08
up vote 5 down vote accepted

How should I correct the answers next time and not to be downvoted?

Post a comment to the first one, and down-vote all of them. If they aren't corrected in a reasonable amount of time, then post your own answer. They can't down-vote you if you don't have an answer, and they can't down-vote you if they aren't around... and one way or another, a correct answer will be posted.

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I've done the same thing before, but I simply downvoted everyone who was wrong and posted the correct answer. I think it's quite legitimate to post the correct answer as your own, rather than an addendum to another, if they got the overall post wrong.

And I don't see the big deal anyway, the goal is for helping the poster, there is a bit too much emphasis on voting. So I agree with you, it is good that your got the point, and fairly annoying that you got downvoted for doing so, because people late to the game probably assumed you'd copied the other posters.

Did you start your sentence with 'Everyone is wrong, here is the answer?' Just as long as you make it clear why everyone is wrong, I think it's quite fine. I don't see how people can take offense; there is no shame in being wrong.

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One method that some people take to avoid downvotes when posting a collaborative answer is to mark your answer as Community Wiki. This will allow others that might not have the requisite editing-level rep to add to your answer as well. I would specify what you are doing, ie making your answer CW to aggregate the good intentions of others into a corrected version. Note that you will not get rep for this answer, either positive or negative.

Adding comments to the other answerers' posts is still an option, albeit tedious if there are a few with similar mistakes.

Note that once you have enough rep, you will be able to go in and edit the answers of others outright. This is the preferred method of correcting these sorts of mistakes.

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You could flag it for the moderators or use the "contact us" link at the bottom of the page. Though I have no idea if they will intervene in a case like that.

There is no way to say "Sorry. You are all wrong." that someone can't take offense at.

Do your best and don't be abusive, but if they are wrong correct them. Then if they appear to have engaged in strategic downvoting, consider flagging it. Because that is not acceptable behavior.

Your good natured willingness to be a team player is to be commended, but there is no need to be a doormat.

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It is not about if they will intervene or not. I just want to know what is a good manner of correcting answers. – Lukasz Lysik Sep 12 '09 at 0:31

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