Here's the situation. Someone asks a good question about a specific rule interpretation. User 1 responds with an answer along the following lines:

The rules on page [x] establish this as a case of [thing], which means it must follow the rules on page [y]. Contrast with case [other thing] which behaves differently, and it's clear that [answer].

User 1's reasoning is valid, and they arrive at the correct answer.

Looking at the question, I realize that I know an official source (say, an Errata or Sage Advice) that explicitly states the answer to the question being asked.

I definitely think I need to provide this information. An answer relying on reasoning and interpretation of the rules is open for debate and may not satisfy everyone. However, a direct and official ruling is beyond debate and provides an additional weight of authority to the answer. However, I'm unsure how to provide this information.

What should I do?

  • Post a competing answer relying on the source instead of exegesis?
  • Add a comment with a link to the source?
  • Edit the answer to include a link to the source?
  • Something else?
  • \$\begingroup\$ Different sources appeal to different people. I, for example, would much more respect answer that provides a clear and sturdy theoretical framework and play examples related to its implementation than a quote from Mr. Crawford's twitter. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 29, 2017 at 17:29

2 Answers 2


Two possible treatments:

The exegesis/ruling would be a small part of an answer.

If you're feeling friendly, leave a comment complimenting the author on their existing (correct) answer with a pointer/link to the authoritative source. "I agree completely, and so did $DESIGNER--I think this correct answer would be made even better with a link to that explanation."

Or just post your own answer that relies only on the authoritative statement. It might be neighborly to reference the previous answer in a complimentary fashion, but that's by no means necessary. Remember: each answer should stand on its own such that if all other answers were deleted yours would still completely address the question.

The exegesis/ruling would be a large part of an answer.

In that case it probably doesn't make sense to leave a comment suggesting its inclusion in the existing answer. Just write your own. The Stack functions best when there are multiple, good answers to a question, and that sounds like exactly what you're describing. Then sit back and wait for your badge to arrive =)


All of those are acceptable. There’s no “right” answer, it depends on how much work you want to put into it, how much rep you have, etc.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think that any of the options I presented are egregiously wrong, and there are probably cases where each would be valid. However, I think it is possible to come up with a community consensus for a general best practice. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dacromir
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 23:51
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree. Since all are valid, no one needs to feel peer pressured into an answer that doesn’t fit their preferences. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 23:52
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ The best practice can be "any of those, they're all fine", and in this case all of the options listed are fine by stack etiquette. There's no benefit in arbitrarily limiting ourselves to just one standard method — different situations call for different methods, which includes what the person taking action is willing or able to do. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 0:33

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