I recently encountered an answer by a user who has left the site for medical reasons. The answer, which was otherwise well-written, contained a minor error. The author's intention was clear, so I was tempted to edit the question to fix the error. Instead, I opted to leave a comment explaining what the author meant, then ask about the protocol for such answers here. If an author is not available to respond to comments, should we edit the answer or just leave a comment?

The question is here. The error is in the sentence that begins "For example, ...".

  • The initial approach of the answerer is correct. They calculated the probability that the outcome of drawing two marbles that are "not both black." Perhaps you are speaking of the latter portion of that answer? – amWhy Oct 30 at 21:10
  • @amWhy I am speaking about the sentence that begins with "For example, ...", as indicated in my comment. – N. F. Taussig Oct 30 at 21:11
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    I'd suggest leaving another answer, if you feel strongly enough about it. – amWhy Oct 30 at 21:17
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    You should certainly feel free to make the edit whether the user has left the site or not. I've gone ahead and done so. And feel free to edit my edit, if necessary! – Mark McClure Oct 30 at 22:16
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I would say that for a minor error (grammar, typo, inconsequential arithmetic error) that suggesting an edit is the recommended course. For an error that is substantial enough that you must rewrite a large part of the answer, I would either leave a comment or another answer, depending on the length of the section to be added.

Neither of these actions would be particularly affected by whether or not the user has left the site, or for what reason.

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    A reader who has left the site for medical reasons is in no position to respond to a comment. – N. F. Taussig Oct 30 at 23:23
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    @N.F.Taussig Don't phrase it as a question then. I recommend I think you may have meant... – Alexander Gruber Oct 31 at 0:47

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