I asked a question. Then I myself have found a counterexample to my question and published it as an answer. Later I've found that my counterexample is wrong.

Should I delete the answer or leave it with a note saying that it is wrong?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Leave a note, so that if someone arrives at the same conclusion as you did would not repeat the same mistake. $\endgroup$
    – IAmNoOne
    Sep 11, 2014 at 2:55

1 Answer 1


I'm going to answer a more general question:

What should I do if discover my answer is wrong?

First, fix the error! :) If you can, this is the best option. When I click into SE from Google, I want to look down at the answers list and immediately see an answer that solves my problem. If you leave a buggy answer up, I'm going to end up confused and lost.

If you can't fix the error, apply Rule Of Thumb 1:

Rule Of Thumb 1: Only leave stuff on the site that will most likely be valuable to someone else. (Many threads here debate what "most likely" means, but let's ignore that for now.)

If you don't think there's a fairly good chance that someone else will benefit from your answer (even though it's wrong), delete it.

However, sometimes an answer comes really close to being correct, or you messed up in a tricky way that demonstrates a pitfall. In that case, make a bold note at the top of the answer "I have discovered an error in this answer that I can't fix, but I believe it will be useful to someone else." Then, wherever you made the error (if you can find it), make a note. If you don't know where the error was, make a note of the last place you are sure you were correct.

What if it's a self-answer?

Let's use Rule Of Thumb 2:

Rule of Thumb 2: If you've asked a question and have other information that provides background or insight to the question, but does not answer it, edit the question. Do not post non-answers as self-answers; rather, edit the question.

If your incorrect self-answer would be beneficial to someone else, (that is, it falls under the "however" paragraph above), you should edit your question to contain that information and delete the answer.

As always, if the incorrect self-answer is unlikely to be beneficial to someone else, delete it.

As an aside: Please avoid answering questions with links to outside sources without a summary of what is contained therein. (e.g. Linking to a pdf where you've proven something in an outside source.)


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