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I have a question that has nearly a final answer, but it could use some rephrasing and updating. What is the idiom for handling this situation? Should attempt to edit the answer and then accept that, or should I add my own answer and accept that?

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    $\begingroup$ Have you attempted to comment and ask the person who posted that answer to make the corrections? $\endgroup$ – Arturo Magidin Sep 16 '11 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ Commented. I'm waiting to hear whether I do indeed understand the answer in its current form. I'd certainly ask then whether they would edit it themselves first. If I don't hear from them though, how long should I wait before editing or adding? Also: I don't yet have edit privileges, so adding a new answer may be the only option. $\endgroup$ – orome Sep 16 '11 at 20:00
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    $\begingroup$ Hmmm... That doesn't sound very good to me. If part of the problem is that you are not 100% sure that you understand what the answer is saying, then your edit could very well change what the original poster means to say! Or you could be adding something that the poster did not want to add for some reason. Is there any particular rush, other than getting the whopping 2 reputation points for accepting an answer? $\endgroup$ – Arturo Magidin Sep 16 '11 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Arturo: Sorry that wasn't clear. I'd certainly not do anything to their until I was certain I understood the answer they'd given. However, I am already certain I have an answer of my own that I'd accept. $\endgroup$ – orome Sep 16 '11 at 20:14
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    $\begingroup$ @raxacorifallapatorius: And is your answer different enough from what you have been given that if you were answering someone else's question, you would post it? If not, then please wait. If you believe it is sufficiently different, then maybe you can post it, and wait a bit to see if other people agree by upvoting it. Then you could accept it with a clear conscience. $\endgroup$ – Arturo Magidin Sep 16 '11 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Arturo: I'll wait, then do that, and comment my answer explaining what I'm doing. $\endgroup$ – orome Sep 16 '11 at 20:27
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    $\begingroup$ I would say: use a comment to show your updates. Let the answerer choose whether to edit his answer to reflect that. How long should I wait? Let's say, 2 weeks. $\endgroup$ – GEdgar Sep 17 '11 at 19:39
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As noted in the comments, above, try commenting on the answer first. If you don't get a response in a "reasonable" amount of time, feel free to edit the answer and accept it.

We fully encourage editing here, but it is of course always best to attempt direct communication first whenever practical.

https://math.stackexchange.com/faq#editing

If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you.

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