This is specifically for this question but I believe is generally applicable.

If I have answered a question, whether it is a good or bad answer, but another user writes an answer which is more correct and clear, should I remove my own answer, to help focus on the correct answer?

I'm asking to ascertain whether preservation of ideas and ways of looking at things is important, or if we would rather focus on clarity and correctness.

Alternatively to deleting it, should there be an edit to the answer, pointing to the one I believe is correct, or should I incorporate the information from the other answer into my own? I'm leery of the second, because it feels like plagiarism, and not doing either could leave me with an answer that I believe is wrong.

Thanks in advance for any clarifications.


There's no need to remove an answer just because there's another that's correct. The concern about taking focus away is already accounted for by the voting system, which will promote (i.e., make more visible and garner more attention) whichever answers voters collectively consider the better answers.

It's also possible that you'd be removing the better answer — until a long tail of voters have their shot at all the answers, it can be difficult to tell which will eventually rise to the top. And even if an answer doesn't rise to the top, so long as it receives upvotes there is something of value in it that voters are seeing and promoting, despite any other answers' scores.

As a general rule, there's no need to remove answers at all. The only time one might consider removing an answer is if the system is exerting pressures that incentivises removing the answer (such as if receiving multiple downvotes). Otherwise, what the site thinks you should be doing doesn't include removing the answer.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What about editing an existing answer, to give a disclaimer and point to the correct answer, or edit it to take into account the correct answers way of looking at things? I'm leery to do the second, since it feels like plagiarism, and not doing either option simply leaves a wrong answer that I know is wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – Randomorph Jan 13 '17 at 18:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Randomorph Specifically in the case of that question, which is correct is still unclear. Lino's answer is interestingly persuasive, but isn't necessarily correct or what the voters will line up behind in the long tail. If you feel strongly enough that your own answer is now wrong that you don't want to be providing it anymore, then removing it or editing it is something you could do, yes, but isn't necessary. Beyond necessity though: what you want to do with your answer is entirely up to you. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 13 '17 at 18:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Randomorph First, I'd suggesting editing that into the question if you want it answered -- it enables other answers to also respond to that point. Anyway: I consider editing an answer to say "nope this other one's correct, sorry guys" to be a form of vandalism. What if I do my research and decide yours is correct? Am I meant to also imply with my vote I support the idea the other answer's correct? What if it's wrong? Just let people cast their votes. // See What are the customs for incorporating other answers into your own? for the other bit. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 13 '17 at 18:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the clarification. I think in the spirit of the site, since it offers a different interpretation, I'll let the votes decide. \$\endgroup\$ – Randomorph Jan 13 '17 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener I've added it to the question, thank you for the suggestion. \$\endgroup\$ – Randomorph Jan 13 '17 at 18:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Randomorph I often end up doing that — leaving an answer intact that I later decide I disagree with, simply because it gives voters an alternative option that wouldn't be available if I removed it. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 13 '17 at 18:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I think there is something to be said for that choice, and not restricting information to one viewpoint. Thanks again to both you and doppelgreener. \$\endgroup\$ – Randomorph Jan 13 '17 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Feel free and upvote and comment on the other answer though. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 14 '17 at 14:21

I thought your answer was helpful and may've influenced the 'correct' answer to come out. The question I'd posed has an element of personal preference I think and if someone in the future has this question and finds the thread, it may be helpful for them to see your point of view. I think you should leave it, but the choice is certainly yours.


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