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For example in this question I think it's notable that now that git has sparse checkouts the given solution might no longer work. I would add it to the answer like this:

Be aware that if you have sparse checkouts enabled, this setting will be overwritten and you should use the sparse-checkout file to ignore the files in question.

Should I just edit the answer or rather stick with a comment because editing a well-established answer would be considered rude (by the original author)?

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    Comment. The post is not yours. You cannot know that this is what the user has in mind. The OP will see your comment and he will decide wether or not to add it to the question. Commented Jun 12, 2013 at 19:57

3 Answers 3

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If you proposed that as an edit, it would get rejected with the reasoning of

This edit was a comment or reply to the post

Editing an answer that isn't your own shouldn't update the answer, it should only improve things like formatting and grammar. The answer shouldn't change, only how it is worded

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    Well, it should get rejected. But it will probably be approved by badge hunters. Commented Jun 12, 2013 at 20:41
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    That's so far from truth, I can't even describe. Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 6:06
  • I think in this case, the proposed edit isn't actually a comment or reply to the post. It's an attempt to add a (more or less important) warning. (I still tend to think, though, that using the comment function is the better option here.)
    – jogojapan
    Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 6:34
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    @Octavian How so? Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 11:58
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Stick with a comment; it will alert the answer author. According to their profiles, the authors of both answers were around recently, and both have high reputations, so whichever one it is will likely adjust his answer with your comment.

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  • This is not a bad idea, however if an author doesn't appear to be active, just edit the answer, that's what the feature is there for. Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 6:07
  • If the author isn't around, somebody else can answer the comment. That actually works better with comments than with proposed or accepted edits, because comments are more visible to passers-by.
    – jogojapan
    Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 6:29
  • @jogojapan He has over 10k on Stack Overflow, it wouldn't be a proposed edit. Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 6:30
  • @OctavianDamiean Yes, sorry, I mean comments are more visible even then. Of course, an immediately accepted edit is visible in the sense that it becomes part of the modified answer, but it may not be so clear to the viewer what part is the edit and what part isn't. (Not everyone puts "EDIT:" etc. in front of edits.)
    – jogojapan
    Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 6:31
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Extending JoshDM's answer.

In general, I would just edit the answer without prior notice to the author, because the author will be notified of the edit and can revert it at any time if he believes the edit is not correct.

Stack Overflow is all about helpful, up-to-date technical answers, if you spot outdated answers, just update them.

That's why the edit function is available to everyone, so that everyone can help keep the quality level as high as possible.

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  • I am not quite sure that the proposed edit, in this case, is an update of an outdated answer. It seems to be an additional warning applicable to very specific situations. A comment (which may lead to a brief discussion with the original author about how generally relevant the warning is) seems, to me, to be the better option.
    – jogojapan
    Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 6:27
  • If it's not an update of outdated information then a comment is right. Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 6:28

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