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I recently had quite a funny case with this answer that I had written. I wrote an answer that was technically wrong. Overnight, the question hit the HNQ, and subsequently got lots of attention and upvotes.

When I had returned, there were several comments, indicating that I was indeed wrong. I double-checked, since the question had received more attention, and corrected the answer.

Schroeder raised a valid point after the revision was done, in that the answer is now a completely different one, and it could be seen as a bait-and-switch. He suggested to delete my old answer, which I could not do, as it had been accepted already.

So what is the procedure for "major revisions" to answers, especially those who got accepted already?

  • 1
    The hit to your rep points is going to suck. Sorry about that. – schroeder Oct 14 at 11:33
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    @schroeder I don't mind the rep. I feel sorry for spreading misinformation. – MechMK1 Oct 14 at 11:36
  • While I agree that drastically editing a post should be avoided (for both Q and A), I don't think it's a problem when you do it on a rare occasion when deleting the wrong answer isn't possible. – Dmitry Grigoryev Oct 21 at 10:56
  • Stuff like bait and switch usually don't get punished because it happened once, it is only if it is happening on a reguarly basis, a pattern. Hopefully you don't post an wrong answer that need a major revision too often. – Walfrat Oct 22 at 13:48
  • @Walfrat "Bait-and-switch" implies that it was done on purpose to deceive, which was not my intention. – MechMK1 Oct 22 at 13:57
  • I know, i was just saying that even if one time something is seens as "bait and switch" once it shouldn't get the mod to act. – Walfrat Oct 24 at 7:15
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I suggest the other side in that it's a good faith answer and editing it is close enough to staying in the bounds of the intent for the tools you've got. On the moderator side, I'm now getting a lot more flags for "not an answer" on the old one.

I suppose you can make a new one and flag the old one to be removed as we can certainly override the accepted answer flag, but I discourage that even more when thinking of an answer where the world has changed several years later and it's worth going back to edit to reflect the new reality... so whether hours later when you learned something more correct, or years later when more correct has moved, I'd edit it. We have other tools for dealing with somebody who intentionally makes a bad faith bait and switch.

The current net result is the best course of action I could see of the current state of things is to remove your old answer. I'm open to further discussion, but as moderators action taken is part of the game.

  • I don't mind the deletion of the answer. It certainly left the question in a much cleaner state. – MechMK1 Oct 15 at 7:45
  • related: was I correct in flagging that old answer as "not an answer" at the time where it only cotained the text "Old revision of this answer was wrong."? (More or less, can't see the deleted answer anymore). It was declined with "flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer". – ComFreek Oct 16 at 12:57
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Create a second answer. There is nothing wrong with submitting more than one answer to the same question, if they take fundamentally different approaches with no broad overlap or commonality. Then, the OP could choose one or the other approach. I have rarely done this, but I have done at least once (edit: on StackOverflow)

If your old answer is technically incorrect, then generally I'd try to salvage it if possible by fixing it up, but if it's so fundamentally wrong that you couldn't make it correct without changing its direction fundamentally, I'd just delete it and work on the new answer instead.

At time of writing this, you replaced your old answer with some placeholder text saying the answer that had been there was not correct. I can see the intention behind this, but it's left an "answer" that isn't actually an answer, which will need to be deleted.

Consider someone stumbling upon the question in 12 months' time from now, they will just need the best answer, they won't need to know the story behind what happened to an older answer that's not there anymore.

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