I recently asked a question about trigonometric functions. One of the comments did a nice job summarizing what I ended up deciding was the answer. But it wasn't complete and I supplemented it with another piece of a different answer I found on SE. Because I am the OP, I knew how I wanted the answer to look. So I decided to answer my own question, quote the people, and provide links to their SE profiles. I also stated at the beginning that the ideas were not my own. The sole purpose of this was to try to answer the question in a way future askers would benefit from my question if they thought like me.

My answer got downvoted twice and I decided to take it down because seemingly others didn't like me answering my own question with other people's remarks. But it wasn't as if all this information was on the same question page. I had to aggregate the information and the only way to make clear it wasn't mine was quoting. So it was necessary. The guy with top answer (with 6 up votes) acknowledged it was unfortunate my post got downvoted and said he was not one of them.

What am I supposed to do in this situation? Although I really like the top answer, it's not the one that I ended up finding most helpful. So I don't really want to accept it because it's not the one I ultimately chose. But I also don't want to be docked rep just because I am trying to do something constructive.

It isn't really a big deal but it was kind of annoying that I couldn't conclude thread in a way that I thought future question askers would find most helpful.

I settled on posting my thoughts in a comment, but I really thought my answer was a much better format and communicated the ideas more effectively.

Any suggestions for how to handle this?

Usually my sole criteria for accepting an answer is "(1) does this answer my question? and (2) is it the best answer from my point of view?"

  • 9
    $\begingroup$ As a workaround, you could post a Community Wiki answer. If people downvote that, it doesn't affect your reputation. And one possible reason for downvoting is then removed, people can't think that you posted an answer to leech reputation with it. One thing, though, you bungled a link in your answer, the [question] link goes to Michael Burr's profile. And better than only saying from whom you took a mnemonic is to say [who] said it [where]. $\endgroup$ Jul 8, 2015 at 20:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for telling me. And great idea! I will do that and remember for the future. That solves everything. $\endgroup$ Jul 8, 2015 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ I marked it as a community wiki, but still docked me rep. Will that change? Did I do it correctly? $\endgroup$ Jul 8, 2015 at 21:00
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ You got the downvotes before the post was CW. The reputation changes from these votes remain as long as the answer is undeleted, only future votes have no reputation effect. It is of course nobler to live with it, but if you post a new CW answer and delete the previous one, I wouldn't hunt you down for it. $\endgroup$ Jul 8, 2015 at 21:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't care about 4 points. 4 points in exchange for learning how to use community wiki properly :D $\endgroup$ Jul 8, 2015 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ But I will do that just to avoid bias against the content from the minus votes. $\endgroup$ Jul 8, 2015 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ Well. I think you just added another identical answer to the same question. I thought you would just undelete your previous answer. $\endgroup$
    – user99914
    Jul 8, 2015 at 21:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Honestly, I thought the people who downvoted your self-answer were out of line. As has been noted many times, answering your own question is very much encouraged on SE. That is of course tempered that users are allowed to be arbitrary and capricious with their votes, tho. $\endgroup$ Jul 11, 2015 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


Just to give my two cents, I'll say what I do about it.

If my question was answered in the comments, then I @ ping the person who answered, telling them that my problem is solved and they can upgrade the comment to an answer. If I get no feedback, then I make a community wiki answer explaining the solution to the question, and referring to the comments with a link. If the person comes back after I did this, and makes an answer too, I'll accept the person's answer. Examples here and here, for both situations.

If I receive an answer that I might find insufficient, and/or I manage to solve my problem by myself, by talking to people outside MSE, etc., I'll post a complete solution as a non-community wiki answer (I had the effort to wrap it all together, didn't I?), since it might be useful to people who stumble upon the question in the future. Examples here and here.

You only have to analyze the situation and decide whether you're relying too much on the comments/answers given so far, so that it doesn't look like you're "leeching reputation", as Daniel said in the comments. That's one downside of gamifying rep., but there's other places to discuss that.

Well, this approach is working fine for me, so far.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .