Suppose I found an answer from a few years ago, a Python script or shell script, maybe C code. It works and answers the question, but it's buggy, the approach used isn't optimal, or messes up user configurations, and I suspect I could probably fix it. What are the options in such case ?

  • can I go ahead and directly edit the code ?
  • can I request moderator to turn the answer into community wiki ?
  • should I just vote to delete that answer and post the edited version of the answer ?
  • Note that regular users can't vote to delete an answer if the score is 0 or positive.
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 12:07
  • if I made the answer edit away. You will then also need to accept my ability to revert ;)
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 17:17

2 Answers 2


The question is a bit unclear on the specific situation, so it depends.

  • If an answer is undoubtedly harmful, I'd say edit! Fix, if you can without changing the concept, or include a warning if not. If it is a serious threat, flag for moderator attention.
  • If an answer has minor issues, either fix, post your own answer if the fixes are many, or leave a comment, depending on the situation.
  • If it is just a tiny thing, suggest an edit if OP is around.
  • If an answer just isn't the best in your opinion or you don't agree with the concept, you should leave it, or just post your own answer. It is an answer and you can't change a concept "without moving away from the author's intention". Different opinions is why we have multiple answers for a question.

Deleting an answer is only an option if it is a really bad answer, or even does not attempt to answer the question.


Jacob answered what you should do, and you've given a good answer for what you should not do:

vote to delete that answer and post the edited version of the answer

You've been Jammed

I'd be incandescent if out of the blue somebody tried to take my post and delete the original. There'd be meta posts. There'd be moderator messages. I'd be a complete diva about it.

Hell, I'd be disappointed if people just tried to delete my posts without giving me some sort of notification to let me know there was a problem. There is no expectation that everybody will get everything right all the time, but at least give them an opportunity to fix it, if you won't do that for them.

You could also argue deleting the original is self-defeating. The CC licence here requires attribution to the post as well as the user. You delete it and you suddenly forfeit one of the conditions for your license. This argument is obviously not battle-tested but it's probably not worth getting in the situation where you have to make a legal argument for your right to use somebody else's content.

I would [and would expect others to naturally] follow Jacob's list there. Edit. Comment. If it's irredeemably awful, flag it (delete is too slow) but if it's that bad, you're not going to be reposting it.

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