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I built an answer to a question asked on Math SE, and I got a wrong result. But I can not find the flaw in my proof...

Should I create a new thread or should I comment to draw the attention of someone who answered correctly?

My method is different from all the others already proposed in the answers, so the OP could benefit from my proof once it is corrected.

It is the first meta question I ask. I could not find the best way to proceed.

Thank you

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  • $\begingroup$ Is the answer this one? $\endgroup$ – Noah Schweber Apr 26 '18 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ Yes it is. It had already happened to me before but I let it go usually $\endgroup$ – Max Apr 26 '18 at 17:40
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There is a range of things one can do after realizing an Answer you've posted has an error. In the short run one might self-delete the Answer, to give yourself a chance to "find the flaw". Having self-deleted your Answer, it is usually a simple matter to undelete it on your own decision after a suitable edit "behind the scenes".

It may be that the flaw can be quickly found and corrected. This is very common, and I would venture it has happened to everyone who has posted several dozen Answers. But your Question here seems to be directed at the case where you realize the Answer is wrong but cannot find the flaw, much less quickly correct it.

A minimum step would be to add an acknowledgement at the beginning of the post that the Answer that follows is wrong. It should be explained (in a brief way) why you know the Answer is wrong, and this could be accompanied by a summary of the other correct Answers on the Question.

You should not in most cases start a new thread to ask Readers to find the flaw in your Answer. Such a request, if you feel it sensible, can be incorporated in the notice of wrong Answer described above. In rare cases I can imagine that a mistake (or the inability to spot the mistake) would inspire a new Question, but this is not the first step towards rectifying a known error in an Answer.

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    $\begingroup$ Following your advice, in the future I will add a note in the beginning of my answer once I am sure that the mistake is deeper than a calculation error and have faith in the community to help me. It actually worked because in the mean time someone found the flaw of the answer I was referring to! I would never have found the error by myself and would have repeated this error in the future for sure! Thank you $\endgroup$ – Max Apr 26 '18 at 20:23

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