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I'm wondering about revising answers – specifically taking an accepted answer or a high scoring answer of one's own and incorporating ideas from other answers and comments into it. This is the question/answer that got me thinking about this.

On the "do it" side I see:

  • Improving the overall quality of the "answer."
  • Reducing the effort for a reader to get the full picture.

On the "don't" side:

  • You're taking somebody else's work (but it could/should be credited and linked to).
  • You may be discouraging people from reading the whole thread.
  • It may subtly "put down" the other answerers because their answers may start to see like "me too" or incomplete.
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  • On an unrelated topic - welcome to the review queues! Do you have a view on my Help for new reviewers question? – andy256 Jul 26 '15 at 6:13
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    I actively do that for my answers, here and elsewhere. I think we're all better served by one good answer than a bunch of reasonable answers that amount to a good answer if you read them all and think about it. I do usually provide credit if I quote, but it's easy to have the credits be half the movie. – Móż Jul 28 '15 at 22:20
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I think everyone has to find their own balance on such practices. As you say, there are pro's and con's.

Everything we write is licensed under Creative Commons (I'm sure there's a better link, but that's all I found quickly), so we should all be comfortable that others might reuse our work. But the issue of earning reputation conflicts a little with that implicit permission.

The be nice guidelines are also relevant. Just because two users post substantially the same idea doesn't mean one took it from the other. All sort of scenarios could have occurred.

Practices I've observed

On other stacks, it's common for a user to integrate comments below their own post into it. It happens less often here. The post author usually comments along the lines of thanks, I'll add that in, or just adds the idea / clarification / change and either gives credit in the post or in the edit comments.

So I think the main thing is to give credit. If you give a link that's better, because people can follow it to vote up the work you reference.

A few of my own examples

Here is an example where I've incorporated a comment.

Here is a case where someone else's answer inspired a change.

And here is a case where I link to another comment by Daniel.

Conclusion

The main thing is to behave with respect to our fellow community members. Treat others as you would want to be treated. But also, we should police our own community, using our votes to show approval or otherwise of other's behavior. If you can do it politely, you can also leave comments. Or flag for moderator attention.

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