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The title is not very clear, so I'll just get to the point.

I recently asked this question: What package supports this kind of timeline? and a user suggested that I could share my finished work, so my version of the answer.

Assuming my work is different from the accepted answer but it still comes from it (so with some changes, some tweaks, etc), is it good practice for me to share it as an additional answer or it's not the case?

I am not sure other sites, or even this one, does it, but it'd be good to know. Please consider this question not just talking about my case, but also on a more general level, so that it can be applied to the whole audience of TeX SE. I'd especially appreciate answers from moderators or even SE team members, but obviously everyone is free to join the discussion.

Edit: Please note that I don't want to post an answer using the currently accepted one and then accept my own. This wasn't my intention. I'd only accept my answer (or someone else's) if the solution turned out to be better (and above all, different) than the current one.

What I wanted to do is simply provide an additional answer, where I showed my finished work (attributing the answer that helped me, of course). I'd be inclined to do this especially if I changed some options (i.e. customization of the accepted answer) so I could show them to the TeX audience.

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    "I'd especially appreciate answers from moderators or even SE team members". One thing to note is that moderators and SE (the company) take a relatively hands-off approach to guiding the sites, stepping in only when absolutely necessary. How things are run (inside the bounds of the software) is generally decided by the community as a whole. – Caramdir Apr 1 '12 at 0:55
  • @Caramdir I'm aware of that. But when I said that I appreciated some answers from Mods or SE team members, I meant that I wanted an answer that could be valid for all of the SE network and not just for this site. – Alenanno Apr 1 '12 at 10:14
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    If you want an answer valid for every SE site then you should as on meta.SE. Answers here will only be about this site. – Loop Space Apr 2 '12 at 21:34
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    @AndrewStacey Uhm, I think I explained myself the wrong way... My question arose in this site and that's why I asked it here. And when I said I would have appreciated a moderator/SE team answer, I was also looking for some authority. – Alenanno Apr 2 '12 at 21:40
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    These sites are largely community-run, so the community is the authority. The fact that no-one has said that you shouldn't do this is sufficient authority. As with any community, there will be a spread of what people think is acceptable, but also there will be tolerance providing you show that you are part of the community not riding roughshod over it. You've shown that by asking here, so there's nothing more to say. – Loop Space Apr 3 '12 at 5:34
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    @AndrewStacey Yes the community is the authority. But usually mods are more helpful at this kind of stuff, because they handle it continuously, although high-rep users are as helpful. – Alenanno Apr 3 '12 at 10:11
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    @Alenanno Our mods try really hard to be no more than members of the community with extra responsibilities and they often bring borderline or judgement calls to the community in chat. Non TeX-SX mods are ... not so au fait with the local scene and for community issues like this, I would take the opinion of the community as more definitive than the non TeX-SX folks. – Loop Space Apr 5 '12 at 19:27
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If it's just small additions to the answer, I'd consider just editing the answer that lead to your own solution and accept it.

If your solution is really different from the answer that inspired it, posting your own version in addition is certainly good practice. You're adding another valid answer to the question, possibly helping anyone who sees this question later.

I've done this for example on Gaming.SE, but it's really valid and even encouraged behaviour on all Stack Exchange sites.

What I personally always do is to accept the answer that was the most helpful in arriving at my own solution. I don't self-accept my own answers if they are inspired by existing answers.

  • I wouldn't accept my own answer just because it's mine. I'd keep the current answer (unless a better one comes up — mine or not), but still post mine to say "hey look, basing my work on the accepted answer, I made the following changes and had this result, etc". – Alenanno Mar 31 '12 at 13:01
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    For small tweaks/additions, you might also comment on the answer instead of editing it. For larger ones, adding one's own answer (but not accepting it) is good practice -- here's an example of mine: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/21204/… – lockstep Mar 31 '12 at 13:14
  • @lockstep I don't want to steal others' work. That would be really unfair, and it's not my intention at all. :) I just wanted to provide an additional answer where I basically post my work thanks to the help of the referenced answer in my own one. – Alenanno Mar 31 '12 at 14:23
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This is absolutely fine. The key things are what you've already mentioned:

  1. Make it extremely clear that this is an adaptation of another answer. Attribution is crucial.

  2. Make it clear what your adaptations are so that it is clear to someone quickly reading what and why you've made changes.

  3. Don't accept your own answer.

Given those, I would encourage you to share whatever changes you had to make to get the solution to work for you as that could be helpful to someone else also trying to solve the same problem.

(Disclaimer: I'm pretty sure I've done this myself, but can't find it right now.)

  • I don't know if this was asked before, but is point 3 an absolute statement or are there situations when accepting your own answer would actually be acceptable? For example if someone wrote a very brief answer like "You can use this package: [link]" and you proceeded to implement your complex 20 line macro that actually solves your problem, using that package. In that case, should you accept the short answer to give credit, should you accept your own answer that contains the full solution for the benefit of the future reader, or should you edit the original answer and add your solution? – Fritz Apr 5 '12 at 15:56
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    @Fritz Nothing is absolute! It's always a judgement call. This case scenario seemed to be about a situation where the given solution was fairly detailed, but there were some extra bits missing, or not quite working for the specific use-case. So the original answer may be useful by itself. In the situation you outline, it's more that the original answer would be hard to do without any additional work. The bottom line is that you should always attribute your work, then if folk feel that there's an imbalance in how things look, they can vote to redress the balance. – Loop Space Apr 5 '12 at 19:25

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