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I sometimes ask a question which is a problem that I can't solve because I have made a calculative error. Often, all it takes is for someone to point out the small error I have made (or for me to realise the error after reading the answers). How should I let the users know that I have found the source of my troubles? Should it be a comment on the question, or an edit inside the body of the question? One could also answer the question, but that is probably the worst option because it takes the credit away from other users. A comment may be overlooked, so I am leaning towards putting an edit into the question. Is this standard protocol?

As an example, I have found out the reason why I have calculated the order of $\tau\sigma$ and $\tau\sigma^2$ incorrectly (by assuming commutativity) in this question.

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    $\begingroup$ My personal preference would be for a edit at the bottom of the question as it is easy to see for anyone first viewing the question. $\endgroup$ – Chris Nov 22 '15 at 1:17
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    $\begingroup$ You could make it an answer but check the community wiki box so as not to gain reputation points. This is an especially good option is there are no existing answers, so it can be removed from the unanswered queue. $\endgroup$ – Cheerful Parsnip Nov 22 '15 at 15:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Burn-Man: I agree, except that I would put the edit at the top of the question, so that nobody misses it. Something like: "Edited to add: Problem solved! My mistake was such-and-such." $\endgroup$ – TonyK Nov 22 '15 at 22:52
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If you haven't yet received an answer, answer it yourself. That way, no one will add an answer which merely expresses what you'd already discovered yourself (which would be a waste of time) and your question can be taken off the unanswered list.

If you have received a (useful) answer, then maybe leave a comment on your question. If an answer helped you discover the source of your problem, you might comment there instead. Otherwise, you may as well proceed as if you had not independently solved it since the desired result has been attained either way - the question received a satisfactory answer.

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    $\begingroup$ Multiple answers to a question are not necessarily a bad thing $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Dec 4 '15 at 1:34
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If your question / answer is useless to others due to your mistake, you can simply delete the question. If you already got answers, it is sad for them, but the first point remains valid. Sometime it is worth to keep the question and answer it yourself. But this is rare.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's a good point. I sometimes wonder if there's too much clutter on the site that needs to be cleaned up. $\endgroup$ – ahorn Nov 24 '15 at 2:43

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