For quite a while I have been asking myself what it is that makes us want to produce answers. Good answers. Sometimes answers that take a considerable amount of time to research, walk around with, come to a concept for. Subsequently we spend hours on working things out, testing, retrying, finetuning. A process that will possibly take hours or even days in complicated situations. You feel responsible for what you produced. You edit what you did if necessary.

Is anyone asking us to do that? No. WE choose to do that. Should we get eternal honor and thanks for doing it? No. What we post on the site is part of the site.

That doesn't mean you don't feel attached to what you produced however. imagine the following situation:

Someone produced an answer as described above, posted it. After a few days of silence, suddenly a second answer pops up, posted by OP. An answer, fully based on the first answer. The concept, the procedures, all of it. A few additions were done. Some are questionable, others concern stuff that wasn't in the question in the first place. That was what happened here.

To show both sides of the coin: my response wasn't "the most balanced", so to speak. I mentioned him that my answer was an answer to the question he asked, and that his additions were mostly about additional stuff, not mentioned in the question. I also mentioned that some of the procedures he used in his version of the answer weren't advisable, for reasons I explained to him. Furthermore, I suggested that accepting my answer would be a decent action, since his answer was fully based on it.

Long story short: he posted a question on meta:

Answerer pushes me to accept then self-deletes

...after which I got pissed, deleted my answer. The full discussion is to be found here

In my defense, I was extremely tired and had a few bad days behind me. For the record, Re-reading the story, I can perfectly understand his point of view, and don't have an issue with Raphael whatsoever, but:

Back to the subject of the question

In the discussion that followed it was suggested "that it was perfectly all right if OP posted his version of the answer and accepted it" (see the link above).


For me it will never be true on something you created, spend time and thoughts on, just a few hours or days ago. An answer you are kind of proud of that you made work. An answer you feel connected to.

That was what made you produce it in the first place.

  • 7
    OP has given attribution, plus improvements to original. I personally find it OK. It's no different if someone took my answer , modified it, and posted on similar question, or forked a project on github within license specs Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 18:06
  • @Serg quite frankly, I don't believe you. If someone took one of your indicators, added a few lines and posted it and accepted, you would be fine? Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 18:09
  • 3
    Well, you can believe my license that I put in almost every script and indicator - MIT. As long as the person provides attribution and makes modification to the code, rather than blantly plagiarizing - then it's OK. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 18:23
  • @Serg that does not imply that yiu would be fine with the situation above. So says the gpl I practice. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 18:26
  • 4
    sure, but you don't put the license into your scripts. Besides, OP made quite a few changes to the original script ( OP didn't just blantly copy and paste), and has given attribution. You can't restrict people from modifying your code, if you're posting it on stackexchange sites and re-using the code in their own answers. Sorry, I don't agree with you on this one Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 18:33
  • 3
    Hmm what do you think can be done about it though? There are not many people, I think, who take so much care and time over answers as you, and I certainly don't, so maybe I can't really understand, but I think, OP did that in good conscience, and even if I think it's not good etiquette, the only thing I can think of to do is to refrain from upvoting...
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 18:39
  • 1
    Considering it from the other side, however, I once got some great answers to one of my own questions, accepted one, upvoted all of them, later changed my mind about exactly what I wanted, adapted my own script, and kept all those later developments entirely to myself because it would be outrageous on my part to change the question and invalidate the answers, I think
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 18:39
  • 1
    Please see: meta.stackexchange.com/q/288629/295160 Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 18:44
  • 1
    @Zanna Time and care is kind of irrelevant ( except for the quality of answer). You have to realize that as stackexchange member, you are a volunteer. The etiquette is simple: give attribution to where you got the code. What you post is public domain for others to use and reuse. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 18:48
  • 6
    @JacobVlijm Feeling emotion is not the same as deleting your answer, telling the OP you will never answer another of his questions and then posting on meta about it, while telling him if he posts on meta he cannot expect more help from you.
    – Seth
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 20:02
  • 6
    @JacobVlijm There was no personal attack. The only time he mentions your name is a compliment! He even asks "could I have handled this better?". "Being only human" is not a ticket for rude behavior, especially over 15 worthless internet points! I'm sorry if you feel I've made this into a quarrel between the two of you, but saying you "aren't allowed to feel emotion" is a harsh twist of the facts. You are held to the same standards everyone else is.
    – Seth
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 20:17
  • 4
    It's worth noting I think we've all had experiences like this. It is definitely frustrating, but it cannot be helped. In my experience the best course of action is to move on. Whether that means to another question or away from the computer depends on you. I've had to do both before. A small, but polite, rant in chat is not entirely out of place either (I've also done that ;)
    – Seth
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 20:20
  • 2
    @JacobVlijm you were never lectured! And that someone is a mod on another site, has half again your network-wide rep, and has been on SE for as long as you have. Even if none of that were true, however, you were never lectured!
    – terdon
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 20:34
  • 1
    @ElderGeek thanks! I agree in principle. I use the script in an ongoing project and I'm still tinkering :) I got all the help I needed from the question, and I did post my unadapted version as an answer too as it was sufficiently different in approach (worse, as I now see clearly haha) from the others. At the moment I don't feel I have a sufficiently distinct question to post about it - it's just a few details that are different, but I will consider your suggestion the next time I revise the script :)
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 22:28
  • 2
    To the down-voters, please explain what is wrong with this question. IMO a perfect question to raise a discussion over.
    – Videonauth
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 12:38

3 Answers 3


For me, the important thing is getting the original issue resolved, improving the quality and efficacy of the site. While I understand the pain and frustration of laboring over an answer which the OP fails to accept, I applaud the effort it takes to take what's available and create a better answer. I don't hesitate to flag theft when I see it, but when attribution is given (as it appears it was in this case) and if the answer contains improvements, I believe that to be in the spirit of the site (and the stack exchange network as a whole). I'm fully cognizant of the fact that the work I do here doesn't actually belong to me (although I do try to keep my more popular answers up to date) It seems to me that in this case the idea was to try to provide the best answer possible while exposing unsolved issues in the answer provided. I see both sides of this coin and when faced with similar issues I ask myself "Does this benefit the site?" and try to respond accordingly. I'm only here because I'm truly eager to help and enjoy the mental gymnastics required. All the rest is details. While appreciation is nice to receive, it's not why I'm here. I think of the badges I've received, the one I was most proud of was Unsung Hero.

I suggest we all take a deep breath and move on. I have no doubt that we've all been both irritated by and pleased by the actions of another member at one point or another (myself included) but a wise man once said true genius is the ability to filter out that which doesn't matter so one can focus on what truly does. Sorry I can't find the source so it probably doesn't matter.

  • 1
    yeah agree with this. Does this benefit the site? is the bottom line
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 19:31
  • 1
    Of course I have the interest of the site in mind, but at the same I am human, and want, like anyone, recognition from what I produce. The site actually benefits from that. Without it, how would I spend so many hours here producing, maintaining answers? When I started education on how to run an organization. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 20:05
  • @JacobVlijm Agreed. As I indicated my personal interest is "I'm only here because I'm truly eager to help and enjoy the mental gymnastics required". If I was bored, I would find something more interesting to do with my time.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 21:43
  • Thanks @ElderGeek for this balanced answer. I Appreciate it. Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 12:00
  • @JacobVlijm You are very welcome. Happy Holidays to you and yours (and the whole team)!
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 17:43

Since you insist on bringing this out in public, I am afraid I have to give the rest of the picture. When the OP decided to post their own answer (which, by the way, they never accepted), you responded as follows:

  1. You deleted your answer!

  2. You posted this comment:

    He @Raphael, I really loved you question. Unfortunately, the way you handle it turns it into a bad one, and your profile didn't ly. Don't expect any more answers from me. Deleted my answer.

  3. And this one when the OP comes to meta to ask for guidance:

    You expect me to help you further while you post this on meta?

After complaining that the OP asked on meta, you come here and do the same thing! You claim that:

his post was a personal attack, mine isn't for sure. I don't read his name multiple times in my post

Although the (now deleted) post of the OP was in no way an attack on you and only mentioned you to point out that your answer was helpful:

On this question of mine, I received a very helpful answer by Jacob Vlijm which I highly appreciate.

And to add insult to injury, your meta question makes no mention of your deleting your answer or refusing to help the OP because they posted another answer.

So, now that both sides of the story are out, I will repeat what I said in chat: posting a modified version of an existing answer with attribution, that improves the existing one or expands it to cover aspects of the OP's problem that weren't explicitly mentioned in the question is absolutely fine, yes. It gives an improved or expanded or just different approach and that is a good thing. Your answer might help one future visitor, theirs might help another.

Had the OP modified your script and not taken the time to share their changes, that would indeed have been a shame. Instead, they took the time to share their work with us and all they got in return was spite. I hope that's not the way we greet users who come here and ask the questions we all enjoy answering.

  • Furthermore, you (I assume) are the one to remove the comments that show a full picture of what happened on both Q & A. AND you might have missed the subject of the (this) question, which is about your statement, not so much about what op did. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 20:34
  • 2
    @JacobVlijm maybe I did. I'm pretty sure I never complained about not having an answer accepted though. In any case, if I did do something like that, I came to cry on the shoulders of the chat users. I did not delete my answer, I did not tell the OP I wouldn't help them any more and I did not come to meta giving only half of the story after getting angry at the OP for posting a calm and measured question on meta themselves.
    – terdon
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 20:36
  • I don't know how many times or in what language I need to say, that I shouldn't have done that, but hey, give me a break after years of good behavior and I believe some contribution to the site. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 20:38
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    @JacobVlijm sorry but you can't take your actions out of context. I stand by my statement, and I repeat it in the final paragraph. However, since you chose to come to meta, you cannot expect that only your side of the story will be heard. Your actions are very, very relevant in this situation.
    – terdon
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 20:38
  • 4
    @JacobVlijm no, it wasn't. I just reread it. Twice. I find it very restrained. What you did was very much against the rules and, to say the least, not nice. He asked to learn if the community here had different rules to what he was used to. He never attacked you, the closest he came to an attack was a factual description of your actions. If you felt that was an attack, I suggest you take a closer look at how you behaved.
    – terdon
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 20:50

As per chat

People, Policy, Process, Product.
People come first, Product comes last.

I know the StackExchange personnel think it's all about "the site" (the product), but it's not: it's about the people.
If Raphael agrees he should accept Jacob's answer...

@JacobVlijm If Raphael accepts your answer, edit yours and link to Raphael's in yours specifying theparameters in which his answer is the better one.

Then we'll have 2 answers, both can be upvoted and everyone will know afterwards that yours was first, and it'll also be better for the site itself.


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