Suppose I post an answer that gets a few upvotes and a few downvotes. Then I find the answer is totally wrong so I delete it.

The next day I see a correct solution to the problem. My impression is that officially I'm supposed to edit and undelete the previous answer instead of posting a new answer.

Q. Is that in fact the policy?

Q: Does this make sense? What bothers me is I'm attaching votes on the previous answer to the current version, which is simply not at all what the voters voted for.

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    $\begingroup$ Some related older posts: Post new answer or significantly edit old wrong answer? and To edit or delete an answer you wish to re-answer after a downvote? (Possibly you can find also some other related discussions.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Mar 12 '20 at 15:25
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    $\begingroup$ As a rule, we frown upon askers insisting on a "do over" to reask a deleted or closed question, but encourage them to edit and improve their questions. So I'm reluctant to make exemptions for answerers of question, or to encourage the practice among answerers to insist on a "do over" by abandoning an answer they got wrong, and pretending it never existed, then reanswering the question, rather than editing their original answer. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 12 '20 at 18:14
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    $\begingroup$ Askers, and answerers, need to be accountable for their errors, one way or another. I have no problem with edits, after which the community can adjust its initial expression of reception or rejection. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 12 '20 at 18:16

I don't think we have, or should have, an official policy. To some extent this is a question of how much did you end up changing.

If the correction is minor, by all means, edit and undelete. If the correction is an entirely different argument, I'd think it's a bit disingenuous to keep your votes from before, in some sense.

Nevertheless, it is a good idea to point out what was wrong with the other version.

  • $\begingroup$ I am totally on board with this answer, particularly your last sentence. I mean, first thing that came to my mind was the fact that we expect askers, when improving their questions, (even substantially changing, e.g., a formula they missed typed), to improve their former question, rather than ask a new one. Also, as in the case with many questions which are downvoted, askers may want to repost a question in an attempt to claim a "do over". SE frowns upon them doing so. So I also cringe when answerers want to post a "do over", particularly in an effort to get rid of previous downvotes. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 12 '20 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ However, if an answerer is honest about what was wrong in their former answer, and why they are posting a second answer, I can live with that. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 12 '20 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ Of course, I'm not saying one should post more and more and more answers. But if this is an honest attempt to rectify a mistake, there is no problem with someone posting a new answer. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mar 12 '20 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ As I said, @Asaf, I agree with your last sentence in your post, which the answerer, in this case, failed to abide by: "Nevertheless, it is a good idea to point out what was wrong with the other version." $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 13 '20 at 0:10
  • $\begingroup$ I said: "if an answerer is nonest about what was wrong in the former answer, and why they are posting a second answer, I can live with that." How many chances do you give askers to get their question right? I mean, how many chances do you allow an asker to re-ask, in a new question/new post, a previous question they've already asked?? Methinks you're a bit biased here. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 13 '20 at 0:14
  • $\begingroup$ So, Asaf, there shouldn't be any problem with an asker, who reposts a deleted question, "if it is an honest attempt to rectify a mistake"? Let's be consistent on this site, if nothing else?? Unless you have some bias that leads you to make exceptions for some users, but not others? $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 13 '20 at 0:54
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    $\begingroup$ Questions and answers are different. For example, we can close a question, but you cannot close an answer. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mar 13 '20 at 6:32
  • $\begingroup$ Asaf, I never claimed they are entirely isomorphic. But neither are they entirely contradictory. We don't want users to re-post questions, nor do we want answerers to answer dupes with a dupe answer. In any case, I don't think you've taken my point seriously. I've come to expect that from you, but still... $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 13 '20 at 13:01
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy I just noticed your "articularly in an effort to get rid of previous downvotes." If you think that has some relevance to the present situation you should pay attention more carefully - in fact I wanted to get rid of (net) _up_votes. ($-2+3>0$) $\endgroup$ – David C. Ullrich Mar 17 '20 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ No, @DavidC, I think it has relevance only if users across the board think, "therefore based on this question and answer in meta, I can always just undelete a poor, negative scored answer, and repost another, after I see others' answers that are better, so I can just repost a correct answer." I do not think that thought was operational in this present situation. But I think it is wise to address the limits of an overly broad statement that can be misunderstood by occasional other answerers. Thanks for asking me here, so I can make clear my concerns as expressed here. That's all. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 17 '20 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ ...In summary, I think it is sometimes okay to delete an answer, and then repost a correct one, but I don't think it is always okay to do so. I was merely trying to help formulate a clearer policy helping to distinguish when it is okay, and when it is not. Of course, perhaps I overdid the "when it is not okay," but really meant just to qualify. I'm Sorry, @DavidC.Ullrich, if my comments came across as personal to you. I should have explained better my concerns as you allowed me to do here. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 17 '20 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ WRT my last two comments and clarification, I also apologize to @Asaf; I think he made the correct call in this case. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 17 '20 at 15:25
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy I think you are getting this backwards. The objective of Stack Exchange as a whole is not to make people accountable for things but to have a compendium of questions and answers on a given topic, and for these to have a high quality standard. Poster accountability is included in the votes given to the question/answer, the actual answers that are finally displayed should be only those with the highest quality. Keeping a wrong answer in the site decreases the overall quality. If you want a site filled with poor questions and answers just switch from SE to ResearchGate. $\endgroup$ – user594148 Mar 18 '20 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ You missed "to have a compendium of good questions and answers on a given topic. You and I know both with questions and with answers, highly upvoted are not equivalent to "high quality standard". Human beings are highly subject to vote in a manner that votes alone cannot define quality. Besides, you don't explain which comment I posted that you think I got backwards. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 18 '20 at 17:39

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