21

Sometimes I get some very useful comments on my own answers and feel the urge to correct them accordingly. However, I see the problem, that if I just correct my answer straight, this would leave the comments incomprehensible to other users, as the comments refer to the original version and not to the one the user now sees. So, what would be the best practice here?

  1. Just edit the question and expect the user to look into the version history, if he/she doesn't understand the comment.
  2. Same as above but state it boldly that the answer was changed (put something like EDITED on top of your answer)
  3. Put some EDIT mark below the original answer and append the revised answer below
  4. Post it as a new answer, referring to the old answer and comments (?)
  5. Some alternative I haven't thought about?

Note: of course, this refers only to edits that change the answer substantially, not minor edits like grammar or spelling corrections. One example I have in mind is my answer here, where I changed the code almost completely in response to the comments.

22

The quality of the answer is important. So it's better to make it clearly understandable, improve your original answer, without edited or 2nd edt remarks. The history can still be read.

To let the reader understand comments, you could add the necessary information in the comment area, following that comment. It belongs there. Perhaps directly address the comment writer telling that it's corrected.

Even better, remove obsolete comments later or flag the comments as obsolete.

6

I think the principle is that the audience of your answer is, in order of importance:

  • Casual visitors/site users other than the question author
  • The question author
  • The commenters (commentators?)
  • Yourself

Don't make it so that a first-time reader who has not posted comments is forced to think about how your answer was phrased before, or what the comments say about it etc. Answers should be finished articles (questions too, although that's a bit more tricky I suppose).

I also subscribe to the view that changes in answers merit comments being removed. You can remove yours and suggest that others remove theirs if they're no longer relevant.

Specifically, no sense in saying 'Edited' if there's an auto 'edited' footer anyway...

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