I recently noticed that this answer is incorrect, as the value for $\theta$ is off by a factor of $360^\circ$. After pointing out the error to the OP in the comments, he said he would take another look at it, perhaps the next day. That was nearly a week ago. The answer remains erroneous. So today I decided to be a productive member of society and simply edit the post myself (since OP has 381k rep, I assumed him to be a very busy man). To my shock, my edit was rejected from the edit review queue, for reasons that led me to believe the edit reviewers were either lacking in knowledge of basic geometry or laboring under the assumption that 381k rep = mathematical infallibility. Not to be dissuaded, I tried the edit again. Again it was rejected. So my question is: how on earth am I supposed to fix a glaring mistake on MSE when the people who are reviewing my edits are, apparently, clueless?

  • $\begingroup$ IMO a week is not really that long, taking into account that the answer is four year's old. So leaving it aside for one or two weeks won't hurt I suppose. Personally I agree with hardmath that we can wait for some time. Or you might leave another comment to remind Andres. $\endgroup$
    – user99914
    Feb 29, 2016 at 7:30
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnMa thanks for the tip. It wasn't my aim to criticize Andre for the length of time he's taken, but rather, to describe why I felt compelled to edit the post myself (I just hate seeing errors persist). $\endgroup$ Feb 29, 2016 at 7:37
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    $\begingroup$ From the comments to your edit, it seems that those rejecting your edit are opposed to changing to degrees. Perhaps just correcting $\theta=\frac d{2\pi r}$ to $\theta=\frac dr$ might be acceptable. $\endgroup$
    – robjohn Mod
    Feb 29, 2016 at 7:38
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    $\begingroup$ Context 1 and 2. In my always to be humbled opinion: Trying to push a rejected edit through without (apparently) considering the feedback that you got from the first rejection is a misuse of the system. Approaching this from the perspective "the reviewers don't know basic geometry" is also not correct. Regardless, I'd also have rejected the edit as too minor - it's a three year old accepted answer. (I also think you ought to change your title substantially.) $\endgroup$
    – user296602
    Feb 29, 2016 at 7:40
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    $\begingroup$ @T.Bongers Even for an error? Maybe I'm just OCD, but it seems ridiculous to me to let an error stand uncorrected as "too minor", however long ago that error was committed (in my humble opinion). Regarding the title: definitely. I'm on it. $\endgroup$ Feb 29, 2016 at 7:43
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    $\begingroup$ The first question you should ask whether you should edit the answer at all. There are probably several discussions of this on meta, I was able to find these: Editing Other's Answers Etiquette and Is it incorrect to make edits to math mistakes? $\endgroup$ Feb 29, 2016 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure whether your post is about general issue or about this particular instance. If it is the latter the you should use (specific-answer) tag. $\endgroup$ Feb 29, 2016 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Both. I was hoping that an answer for the general issue would cover this specific instance. But an answer along the lines of "In general, such and such is the case, but in your particular instance, such and such other thing is the case" would work splendidly as well. $\endgroup$ Feb 29, 2016 at 8:23
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak (or anyone) Do you have any idea why my question was downvoted? Any tips on how I might improve my question? $\endgroup$ Mar 1, 2016 at 3:55
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    $\begingroup$ Voting is different on meta. User might use downvotes to express disagreement. (BTW you do not lose/gain reputation based on votes on meta.) $\endgroup$ Mar 1, 2016 at 5:58

1 Answer 1


(1) It is good to use Comments to point out errors in Answers, no matter what the reputation of the OP. I've earned a few retaliatory downvotes in this fashion (not to mention exposing my own foolishness at times), but I can accept that some bright folks will get upset when mistakes are pointed out. And...

(2) Sometimes it can be reasonable to edit an Answer to fix an error that is "obvious" in a fairly narrow sense. For example, an Answer has articulated as a goal that we need to show $A$ is greater than $B$. The argument proceeds through a careful analysis with inequalities that in the end really show $A$ is greater than $B$, but in the last sentence the OP writes $A \ge B$, or $A$ is smaller than $B$, or even $B$ is greater than $A$. In such a situation (where I've made such errors myself in re-editing sentences on the fly), I would consider making the clear correction myself to achieve consistency. But...

(3) Even so, in most cases I suggest the correction to the OP and let the edit be done by their hand. In the "old days" there was a motivation to minimize the number of edits, and the number of hands doing the editing, but even today I suspect many of us try to be economical in committing edits to avoid "bumping" the front page unnecessarily. So I would suspect, in an Answer of any substantial length, that there may be other tweaks the OP was "saving up" to do in a fell-swoop. Finally...

(4) If the correction has been suggested to the OP in a Comment, and they indicate that they are considering it, then I would be loathe to make any correction myself. It really goes against the collegiality I value here, to put such an issue before the OP and then snatch it away from them.

If an Answer (or a Question!) is substantially wrong, often a better way to improve site content is by creating your own Answer. You may well refer to the other posts, in a polite fashion, by pointing out a disagreement without ad hominem overtones.


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