I asked a question, linked here on MSE, and then later realised where I could be going wrong. I asked about this in the comments, and it was confirmed to me in the comments by the user Random Variable that it just depended on the definition I used. So I had realised what was wrong with the answer I provided in the question (nothing), and so I posted an answer saying that the question was answered in the comments. I then tried to accept this answer but it said I needed to wait 2 days. Then the answer got deleted by multiple users.

I don't know what I was meant to do in such a situation. Should I write out as if explaining to myself what my misunderstanding was, as I did in the comments?

  • $\begingroup$ I have deleted the question based on the fact that my question turned into a question very similar to another question once I realised my error. So I am not sure if the link will work any more - it does still work for me. $\endgroup$
    – John Doe
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 15:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If a comment helps you to answer your own question, you can post an answer explaining how it helped. You're generally encouraged to do so. But doing that in this particular case might not be particularly useful since your question had essentially already been asked and answered. $\endgroup$ Commented May 10, 2017 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


"Should I write out as if explaining to myself..., as I did in the comments?"

Yes, if you decide to post an Answer, e.g. for the sake of completeness, that post should do more than mention that Comments answered the Question. Comments are ephemeral content (relative to Questions and Answers), and a good argument could be made for pulling together your insight and Random Variable's observation into a self-contained explanation of the mistake.

Of course you eventually discovered that your mistake was "very similar to another question once I realised my error." Since there was no upvoted or Accepted Answer at that point, you had the ability to self-delete the Question. However flagging the Question as a duplicate would perhaps have been a better response to this discovery. Duplicates are not deleted as a routine, but it might well have been your preference in this case to do so.

The self-deleted Question will be visible to yourself and to 10K users, given the link you provided.


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