In 2013 I provided an answer to a question I liked quite a lot. In my answer I mostly referred to the technique mentioned in the question but in the end I made a side remark indicating that there are other ways to achieve the same result. This answer has been upvoted since then. Recently, Saad Malik found an error in the second part of my answer and he posted a follow-up question showing the flaw.

I asked him some time until I properly reply to his question (since I'm currently on holidays currently writing this message from my tablet over a phone line). And here comes my first observation: catching mistakes and making them apparent to the community is one of the best things of stackexchange and, of course, science over all. I do want to acknowledge properly his contribution.

Of course, the first would be to provide a good answer to his follow-up question. But what else can I do? Any advice would be very welcome.

For instance, I of course upvoted his question and I also upvoted his comment to my first answer but I'd really like to give him more than 10 points. Is there a way to do that?

I'm also kind of surprised to see that noone else upvoted his question. Am I wrong if I say that we should encourage the community to be very favourable to this kind of questions? (note that Saad Malik has been always both very gentle and right, this is not the case of someone posting rubish, much the opposite, the question is very well written)

Also, while discussing broadly how to approach best these kind of questions, I was happily surprised that noone is providing a reply. I understood this as an indication that it is me who should do it (as I will certainly do). So another kind of recommendation would be for the community to allow first to the guy committing the mistake to provide a better and more detailed answer.

So far, the question is quite general. What should be the best practices both for the community and a specific user to approach questions that show flaws in other answers? (I think we should even have kind of a badge for this which I would happily award him :) )

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    $\begingroup$ Quick response: 1) you can edit your errorneous answer, adding a link to the follow-up question. 2) You can give bounties (to answers). $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Aug 31, 2015 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Raphael for the reply. Actually, D.W. went along the same lines $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2015 at 20:28
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    $\begingroup$ Just a quick note to explain my edit: you mean "catch an error", not "catch up an error". To "catch up" means to move from a position of being behind or worse to a position of rough equality. For example, a runner might catch up with the leaders in a race, or a struggling student might start understanding the material and catch up with his classmates. $\endgroup$ Sep 4, 2015 at 8:30

1 Answer 1


I suggest you do three things:

  1. Edit your original answer to remove the incorrect parts. Edit it so it is correct, per your updated understanding. You can additionally add a link to the follow-up question and an acknowledgement to Saad Malik at the end of the answer.

  2. Answer the follow-up question. The follow-up question asks "Why isn't this formula working?". It sounds like you've discovered that the answer is "Because that formula isn't correct". So, write an answer that explains that the formula is incorrect and explains why.

  3. Finally, if you wish to help give Saad Malik more points, it might be possible to use a bounty to do that. Bounties can be used to award some reputation to another person, at the cost of decrementing your own reputation. You can learn more about how bounties work here: How does the bounty system work?

    However, in this particular situation, there's a slightly tricky bit about using a bounty. You offer a bounty on a particular question, and then can choose which answer to give the bounty to. However, you can only award bounties to answers. In this case, the question you want to reward is a question, not an answer, so it's not straightforward to use a bounty to give Saad Malik some additional reputation points.

    I can see two ideas for how to deal with this trickiness. You could put a 50-point bounty on the question Saad Malik asked, in hopes that it brings additional attention to the question and maybe more people upvote it -- though feels pretty indirect to me, and in any case, the 50 points wouldn't go to Saad Malik unless he/she answered his/her own question. Alternatively, you could look for some other answer of Saad Malik that is excellent (to a totally unrelated question) and award it a bounty by placing a bounty on that third question and then awarding it to Saad Malik's answer. That feels like it is stretching the intent of the bounty system a little bit, so I'm not sure whether it is allowed. (See also Bounty-like facility for rewarding excellent questions.)

    In the end, maybe posting here on Meta was the right approach: it will probably draw more attention to both questions, which might achieve your goals.

  • $\begingroup$ Cool answer D.W. and congrats, by the way, for becoming a moderator $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2015 at 20:27
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    $\begingroup$ Ad 3: why not ask Saad Malik to post an answer? $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Sep 1, 2015 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ Ooh, Raphael has a great suggestion! That would let you reward the answer with a bounty. (Cc: @CarlosLinaresLópez). $\endgroup$
    – D.W. Mod
    Sep 1, 2015 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah! I actually went over the help on bounties and I will most likely do that! Thanks a lot again guys (Cc: @Raphael) $\endgroup$ Sep 3, 2015 at 16:24

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