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If, based on encountering new information, or simply based on a re-thinking of the problem, or based on an actual change in circumstances (e.g. new regulations passed), I wish to completely replace an answer (written by me) with entirely different content, is it better to delete the old one and add the new one, or to paste the new one in place of the old one via an edit? Or should I feel free to do whichever I prefer?

One issue is that if I've linked to the answer in other answers, then if I deleted and replaced it, I'd have to go change those links (assuming it was still relevant to have the link), and those other answers would get bumped up to the top of the home page-- this would be avoided if I cut and pasted the new content in.

Another issue is that "comments" may be attached to the old answer that might be of interest to anyone thinking about the question, and it might be better not to lose them by deleting the answer-- I could always add a comment noting that substantial changes had happened so the comments may not be exactly relevant to the current answer but are still of general interest--


Update 5-5-21 --

I understand that comments are not to be considered lasting features on ASE. Preserving comments under the old answer is no longer a concern.

I'm not sure sufficient weight has been given to this issue:

"One issue is that if I've linked to the answer in other answers, then if I deleted and replaced it, I'd have to go change those links (assuming it was still relevant to have the link), and those other answers would get bumped up to the top of the home page-- this would be avoided if I cut and pasted the new content in. "

I've also put links elsewhere on the internet to this answer that I'd really like to keep working, even after the revision.

I don't really care about trying to retain the points from the old answer, it's only +2, that's not the issue.


Update 5-6-21--

I've decided to just delete the old answer and not worry about the links. I no longer am in need of guidance on this particular issue, but feel free to chime in anyway if you have something to say that would be helpful to others in the same situation.

I appreciate the heads-up from ymb1 that non-logged-in visitors (as well as logged-in users w/ less rep points than needed to see deleted answers) will still be directed to the question, if they follow a link that points to an answer that has been deleted.

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  • $\begingroup$ It's interesting that one answer to this question -- giving the opposite point of view to the remaining answer-- has been deleted. $\endgroup$ – quiet flyer Nov 13 '18 at 7:09
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If the answer is substantially different, it'd be better to post a new answer so that the content can be judged freshly regardless of existing score (yes, SE allows users to post multiple answers on the same question, as long as each has its own merit). Might be a good idea too to update the old answer and state that it's outdated (no need to delete the answer, but it's up to you).

The alternative is to append (not replace) the new info on current answer, so that it won't invalidate the current score.


Regarding comments, if possible, integrate them to the answer, then flag as "no longer needed". Comments are considered as second-class citizen and might subject to deletion at any time. The most ideal post in SE is a post free from comments.

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What I've personally done on a couple of occasions is delete + new answer.


RE: One issue is that if I've linked to the answer in other answers...

The old links will still take the visitor to the question, but not the new answer. A small price to pay for less noise.

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  • $\begingroup$ Re -- "The old links will still take the visitor to the question, but not the new answer. A small price to pay for less noise.".-- will they, if the links are specifically to the answer, which has been deleted, not the question? I'll have to test that out. $\endgroup$ – quiet flyer May 6 at 2:36
  • $\begingroup$ when I type in aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/71406/… or aviation.stackexchange.com/a/71407/34686 , I see my own deleted answer. (Not the one that triggered this question, by the way.) What would another ASE user with less than 10K points (isn't that the threshold for seeing deleted answers?), or a visitor who was not logged in as a ASE user, see? $\endgroup$ – quiet flyer May 6 at 10:24
  • $\begingroup$ Re immediately above-- I just checked-- it goes to the question. Thanks for pointing that out, that's useful to know. $\endgroup$ – quiet flyer May 6 at 15:12

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