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I am the type of person who unfortunately makes a lot of mistakes of the dumb kind with miscalculations. Sometimes I end up posting my questions containing those miscalculations.

Is it ok to edit my mistake in my question once a comment has also mentioned the very same mistake? Or should I leave it because it might make the comment look nonsensical?

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    $\begingroup$ In my view, the primary purpose of comments (as opposed to posted solutions) is to get clarification on the question. As a result, it frequently happens that a comment prompts an edit that renders the comment irrelevant. In an ideal world the comment would then be deleted, of course. But I can't claim to be diligent about that myself. $\endgroup$ – lulu Jan 23 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ It is a commonplace here that comments are ephemeral content, so rendering a Comment obsolete is not discouraged. Rather rendering an Answer nonsensical is a valid reason to constrain edits to a Question. Even so, a clarifying edit, perhaps framed as an addendum or post-script on a Question, can improve the content and should not be flatly rejected. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Jan 23 at 23:31
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    $\begingroup$ Well, I sometimes use the strike out feature and leave the original content by striking them out and add edited version. But in general it is better to edit to fix the issues. Some explanation if needed can be provided regarding the edit. $\endgroup$ – Paramanand Singh Jan 25 at 4:42
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Here are three options.

  1. Just make the edit.

  2. Better: make the edit, and leave a comment thanking the other user for drawing your attention to the problem.

  3. Best (in my opinion): make the edit, and also edit into your question a word of thanks to the user for pointing out the problem. This way the user can delete the comment, and no one gets confused about anything, and the user gets an acknowledgement.

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    $\begingroup$ Personally, I prefer 2, especially if you tag the user you are thanking in your comment by putting an @username in the comment. Then the user can delete their comment and then you can delete your comment afterwards and nobody else has to read the irrelevant detail that your question used to have a mistake in it. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Daly Jan 23 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Matthew yes, 2) is good – provided the two deletions take place. But I prefer not to take the risk. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jan 23 at 22:26
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson What risk is that? Won't moderates always remove obsolete comments on being flagged? $\endgroup$ – bof Jan 25 at 5:25
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    $\begingroup$ OK, @bof so make the edit, leave a comment thanking the other user, and then flag for moderator attention. Option 3 has the advantage of not making more work for the moderators. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jan 25 at 8:50
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    $\begingroup$ If the other user neglects to delete his comment it's the same problem under option 2 or option 3. Anyway don't all comments fade away in due course? Option 3 has the disadvantage of making more work for everyone who reads ybour question in the future. $\endgroup$ – bof Jan 25 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ "don't all comments fade away in due course?" @bof that's not my understanding. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jan 25 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ I feel like I've (relatively) frequently seen edits on questions that remove things like the words of thanks mentioned in #3. And it sounds like the kind of thing I remember reading some people "adamantly" saying we shouldn't do. Eh.. $\endgroup$ – user307169 Jan 26 at 3:09
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    $\begingroup$ @tilper, comments that just say thanks are frowned on, and moderators do remove them. But editing into a question something like "Thanks to Joe Blow for pointing out that I originally got the inequality the wrong way around" or "Edited in response to John Doe pointing out in a comment that $4^2\ne17$," I don't know that anyone would get upset about that. The difference is that instead of thanking someone in a comment on their question or answer you have the option of upvoting and giving them some points, and you don't have that option when someone leaves a helpful comment. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jan 26 at 5:41
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    $\begingroup$ Thanking people in comments is unnecessary - clearly the help is appreciated if effort was made to act on it. Leaving this meta commentary in the post itself is even worse, because at least a comment can be cleared from the flag queue without bumping the post. If people care whether a post used to contain mistakes, they can click through the history; if someone cares so much about being thanked for suggesting an improvement that they must have it mentioned in the post, they're in the wrong place for back-pats. $\endgroup$ – Nij Jan 29 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, @Nij if someone does me a favor, I want to acknowledge it, explicitly. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jan 29 at 3:41
  • $\begingroup$ Good for you. That's what upvotes and bounties are for. $\endgroup$ – Nij Jan 29 at 4:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Nij the situation I have in mind is that I've posted a question or an answer with a mistake in it, and someone uses a comment to point out the mistake. Upvotes on comments are worthless (and anonymous), and bounties on comments are nonexistent. What's wrong with an explicit statement that I've made an edit to my question/answer in response to that other user's comment? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jan 29 at 8:14
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    $\begingroup$ It's plain noise. It doesn't belong in questions saying 'thanks for the answer', it doesn't belong in answers saying 'thanks for the comment'. There's a reason that comments beginning with "Thanks..." and below a certain length are deleted by a single NLN flag. If you really feel the need to make it explicit, annotate the edit summary. Corrected equation with missing subscripts (thanks GenericUser_-1) does the same job more appropriately with less annoyance. $\endgroup$ – Nij Jan 29 at 9:37
  • $\begingroup$ "There's a reason that comments beginning with "Thanks..." and below a certain length are deleted by a single NLN flag." Right, @Nij but we're not talking about comments, and what goes for comments doesn't necessarily go for edits to answers and questions. And if you are annoyed by seeing "edited in accord with comment from user xxxxx" then I suggest that's your problem. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jan 29 at 11:44
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Correct your mistake and flag the comment pointing out the mistake as It's no longer needed. Trying some sort of thank/comment/delete tango with the person who pointed out your mistake rarely results in a clean post1. And I'd hope that if that person needs gratification for pointing out your mistake, the act of you editing your question to acknowledge that correction would be enough.


1. I've wasted a lot of time reading outdated comments on this site.

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