If you answer a question what is your responibility to maintain that answer?


3 Answers 3


Maintenance is one's responsibility only insofar as

  1. one cares about avoiding downvotes for an out-of-date answer, and
  2. one wants edits to the answer to be in one's own voice

If one doesn't care about either of those (which is just fine if so!), then one doesn't have to maintain one's answers. Others will grade it with votes, update it with edits, or both in an author's absence.

In other words it's only a responsibility to oneself, not an obligation to the site.


Answers should not be static.

Edit, edit, edit should be your mantra - If you've got a good answer and someone adds more detail, integrate it, and remember to always respect an individual's work.

Don't link and run to random blog #56. If the information is good and under an open license just put it in the answer (don't forget to attribute the author). Try to make your answer THE definitive answer to the question and ALSO send them to the official documentation your team supports.

Comments are like "meta" for the answer. Don't ping pong back and forth in comments with new data, when someone leaves a comment with more info or something, just add the information to your question directly. If people post updates to a comment ask them to add it to their question; that's where the power of SE comes in, updates on people answering their question happens in the answers and the questions, so that when you are finished people don't have to track the conversation, just the final answer and solution.

Taken from here

I think people need to be a lot better about editing, pruning, adding to, and if necessary deleting their answers.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think these are good points. In response to the second, I think if this is what you want to do, it is fine, but you should make it a comment rather than an answer. I feel like just a simple link is a great use of a comment on a question. Especially when you are not knowledgeable enough to effectively summarize the link. I have found that around 80% of my activity on these sites is commenting, because it is much more common that I have partial answers than like you say "definitive answers". \$\endgroup\$
    – BBischof
    Sep 22, 2010 at 21:10

If a link is busted or some obvious technical problems exist with an answer then edit it. Otherwise leave it along and add your own thoughts as a separate answer. People don't like other people screwing with what they write.

You may ask "What the difference it happens on wikipedia all the time?" The difference here is that while edit are indeed tagged with an ID on Wikipedia here the answers are strongly associated with the person and their reputation.

If you feel that a question bears some consolidations then make a community wiki with the answers edited together. But leave the original author writing the alone.

We already lost two dozen users that I know of because of excessive editing. One asked me to obliterate his account. I strongly suggest that advocates of Edit, edit, edit, reread a Theory of Moderation and remember that the editing controls are supposed to be used with a light hand. If you are not the author leave it alone and let the original speak in his or her own voice.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I just noticed that one of my posts was edited. (First time I've noticed). I don't completely agree with the edit and I can certainly understand why people would get irritated by runby editing. The edit was worthy of a bit of discussion IMHO, and I've been on the site a couple times/day for 3 weeks or so. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat Ludwig
    Sep 24, 2010 at 15:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Isn't this a question about a user's responsibility to maintain and edit his/her own answers? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2015 at 19:31

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