I posted a question which now has an accepted solution. I would like to clean up / streamline the question and solution to make it more readable and accessible in the future for other people to benefit from the question. Is there some protocol to handling a question once it has been solved and I would like to improve the way it is presented / improve readability? What do you think is the best way to handle this?

To be more concrete (although this should just be considered as an example, I am interested in how to deal with this in general), consider Solutions to functional equation $f(x_1,x_2)+g(a_1t+x_1,a_2t+x_2)+h(b_1t+x_1,b_2t+x_2) = t^2$. There are a at least two things I am considering changing (1) the solution starts off with "I apologize in advance for any error(s) I may have made." I would like to remove this now. (2) the question includes my partial attempt at solving the problem. The actual solution incorporates my attempt at and hence overrides what I did (hence I'm not sure how beneficial it is to see my attempt). Should I remove it / leave it / move it to an unsuccessful solution? I would like to move my attempt to an unsuccessful solution, the reason being that it makes the question much easier to read and anyone who is interested in my attempt can then see it as an unsuccessful attempt.

Sometimes I will not read a a question because it is very long and it is unclear where the question ends and attempted solution begins (or even if there is an attempted solution). Maybe there should be a section called "attempted solution" so that others can see what you have done / where you are having difficulty. This makes more sense to me than just sticking everything into the question.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ You could start the question with EDIT 7 August 2014 and write it the way you want, then write ORIGINAL VERSION and have the original version below that. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2014 at 7:35
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Is this the official way of dealing with this type of issue? Do I have any discretion in choosing how to handle the way the question is asked? I just think that this makes the question even longer. On the one hand I want to keep the integrity of the question but on the other hand I want to make the question as readable as possible. $\endgroup$
    – user103828
    Aug 7, 2014 at 7:47
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Don't remove the phrase "I apologize in advance for any error..." from other people's answer. Sometimes people use this sort of phrases to indicate their confidence of the correctness of every details in their answer. Readers of the answer can also use this piece of info to judge how much they can trust the details in the answer. Removing it is equivalent to putting words in other people's mouth. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2014 at 9:00
  • $\begingroup$ It's a suggestion of one way to deal with the issue. I don't know whether there is an "official" way. My suggestion does make the question longer, but it breaks it up into two parts which aids the readability (I think). $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2014 at 12:53
  • $\begingroup$ @achillehui I disagree. Part of the StackExchange model is to have questions and answers but no nonsense. I have no qualms about deleting such remarks, especially if the post is old (not this case, but generally speaking). No one cares if a person "apologizes in advance for any error" when the question is a year old. $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Aug 8, 2014 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ Addition to my prior comment: I'm fine with comments like "there may be an error in this," but the actual apology for a possible error is unnecessary. $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Aug 8, 2014 at 23:35


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .