I am quite new to SO. That's why I wanted to ask if something was OK or general practice.

Today I answered a question. Someone else with a huge rep answered it too, but incorrectly. His answer got accepted, even though by that time the OP already figured out the problem themselves. Thus, the answer was known by the OP to be wrong. So, I commented on the wrong-answer-guy's answer, telling him his answer is wrong. Some time later, he changed his answer to the correct one.

Is this acceptable behavior?

  • 6
    Sure. Correcting information is always good. – Bart Nov 19 '12 at 15:56
  • If he changed the answer to be exactly like yours this is wrong, as you should get the credit. You can at least ask the user to change the accepted answer to be yours. – Shadow Keeps Social Distance Nov 19 '12 at 16:12
  • Would you have a link to the question in question? – Hannele Nov 19 '12 at 16:40
  • Unfortunately you have to live with it. It was a error. Errors occur. Offensively. – sergzach Nov 19 '12 at 19:38
  • possible duplicate of Dealing with quickly edited, copied answers? – Shadow Keeps Social Distance Dec 29 '13 at 8:15

My experience has been that when a high-rep user posts a demonstratively wrong answer they will delete it if they see a competing complete and correct answer.

Unless it's an accepted answer. Only moderators can delete an accepted answer. While they could ask the OP to unaccept or flag it, its way easier just to edit it to be correct and move on.

Also an edit might be better when the competing answers are correct but are incomplete in some way. For example the completing answer failed to give a code example.

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Most people that come to Stack-Overflow come from google looking for answers to their own questions.

If an incorrect answer is marked as accepted, then that is a problem, and editing it to be correct is a good thing. It means that people who come here, have a correct answer marked, instead of a wrong one.

Despite the fact that SO has some game-like policies, it's not actually a game. Solving people's programming problems is more important than reputation numbers.

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Correcting wrong answers is encouraged

If that did not happen, the whole site might be filled with tons of dribble.

If you feel there was some wrongdoing on your end, you can flag the post for a moderator, or come here to meta (which you did! congratulations on doing the right thing!)

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  • 2
    Even correcting wrong answers when the changes are fundamental, and change the nature of the answer? That was my impression of what had happened here. – John Dibling Nov 19 '12 at 16:15
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    If you realize that you were totally wrong and there are now other correct answers, it might be better to just delete yours. – Bo Persson Nov 19 '12 at 16:25
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    @BoPersson you can't delete an answer that's been accepted – Some Helpful Commenter Nov 19 '12 at 16:33
  • @SomeHelpfulCommenter a mod can. That is what the flag is for. – Naftali aka Neal Nov 19 '12 at 16:34
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    @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA indeed. And I've done this but there is a barrier – Some Helpful Commenter Nov 19 '12 at 16:39

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