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I have run into the awkward situation, where I've posted a programming question, and received an answer, that I cannot apply due to project guidelines.

The account under which I posted the question identifies me, or at least for people knowing me, the user name would make it clear. Hence I don't feel comfortable saying "can't accept your answer, because of internal reasons" for fear of it reflecting badly on the company, or annoying my superior.

Now I am a bit stumped how to proceed. I cannot meaningfully reply to the answer, so I'd prefer to rephrase or delete and repost it. Rephrasing would however invalidate the given answer, and deleting answered questions is discouraged.

What is the best practice to proceed in such cases?

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    Change your username so as not to be easily identifiable? I know it sounds extreme - but I've done this before – Can O' Spam Jan 24 at 9:40
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    Well neither deleting, nor editing it is a viable option. It is a waste of the answerers time. The blame here is really on you for not adequately defining your question. So it is on you to deal with it, one way or another. You could simply appologise for not writing a good enough question, and that the answer in principle works, but you can't use it. There is no blame in that. – Luuklag Jan 24 at 12:13
  • Why is this not on Meta Stack Exchange? – Peter Mortensen Jan 25 at 18:59
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Accepting an answer is optional. Some folks will say it's frowned upon, and I'm pretty sure I did so before, but the checkmark belongs to you alone, don't be bullied into accepting an answer if you don't feel like it.

As such, if your concern here is solely the "accepting an answer" part, just do not accept it and leave it at that, nothing bad will happen if you have one unaccepted question.


More generally, if an answer is not applicable to your question and it makes you realize the question you asked is not perfectly clear, you need to edit your question so that it is clear why the answer is not applicable, or comment on the answer stating how so if the answerer did not understand correctly.

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