Today I found an answer from a new poster that has a syntax error in it.

As far as I can tell, I have a few routes to attempt to deal with this:

  1. Edit the post directly without commenting - this means the original poster of the answer doesn't get an attempt to fix the issue themselves, but does get the answer to their syntax issue given to them
  2. Comment on the answer in an effort to get the original poster to fix the issue - this has actually been done already on the aforementioned post but the original poster hasn't fixed the issue - there's a risk that the user will simply never fix the problem
  3. Downvote the post - this indicates to the poster that the answer isn't respected as a good answer, but may not indicate the issue and may come across as unhelpful or unfriendly

There are then combinations of the above 3 methods.

What are peoples feelings on the best way to approach this? Is this a completely personal question, or do we have/want some kind of site-level guidance?

2 Answers 2


My view is that making an edit while respecting the intent of the original author is preferable.

It produces the best and quickest outcome, with the minimum amount of noise and effort required from others.

In this case, GROUP BY should pretty clearly be PARTITION BY so an edit would be nothing but helpful.

Once the edit is made, the existing comment can be flagged as no longer needed. There's no special reason to @notify the question author. If they're still interested in an answer, they will see the edited post. If they're not, there's no point notifying them.

  • 1
    Fair point around whether the person who wrote the question is still interested or not - didn't consider that they might just not care about the edit. Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 12:31
  • 2
    @George.Palacios: Or they might not have seen the comment yet and might thus be unaware of the mistake.
    – Andriy M
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 12:35

See also answers on the CAPS COPS question. TL;DR: making things better is generally OK; just making things different, not so much. Be sensitive to the intent of the question and whether layout, indentation and capitalisation could be germane.

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