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Yet another reason that offering a bounty is a bad idea...
There is a "delete" button under my answer, so presumably I can delete it. I don't mind doing so if it will help Martin to get the answer he wants. Just let me know, Martin.
(In general, I'm against deleting nontrivial information from the site. You never know what might be helpful for someone in a curious way that you'd never predict. It's sad if they go looking for it later, only to find — or rather, not find — that it's disappeared. But perhaps in this case it's the best way forward.)
Wouldn't it be simpler to just ask a new, better written question? If you're worried about running afoul of duplicate hunters, just include a note saying that the bounty on the old question complicates things, so you're making fresh start.
I agree with Kevin's comment as to the best solution. Rather than trying to fix the old one, ask a new one but explain the history.
Regarding the general matter I agree that reasking with a note seems the best/easiest way to go.
But perhaps one then should close (not delete) the original as 'no longer relvant' and/or also leave a comment on the original (perhaps not very likely, but say the new one gets answered and then for whatever reason in a year somebody stumbles over the original, being unaware of the more recent version, and answers the original; might be slightly unfortunate).
Regarding Kevin Buzzard's question and Tom Leinster's response: Tom Leinster could not delete the answer despite the button being visible.
In general accepted answers cannot be deleted by users. In a related discussion I tested this (it is not a risk, since if it worked one could undo it by oneself). I believe, but on this detail I am not sure, if one clicks one even gets a dialog box asking 'really delete' but still eventually the software refuses to deleted on the grounds it being an accepted answer.
This is seems analogous with the situation for voting to close. Even after one already voted to close, the button close stays visible, only when one clicks it again, the software complains one already voted.
[I assume the reason for this is that one wants to avoid to make many lookups in the database what a specific user already did to a post just when they look at it (again); for common things like votes, it is done, but for the rarer events it seems not; or it was an oversight by the developpers or still something else.]
We could close the old one as a duplicate of the new one. That would automatically set up a link to the new one.
@François - nice one!
Actually, a better idea would be to create a new question and merge the old one with the new one. I believe that will effectively erase the accidental accept.
It may be a good idea to test this approach on faketestsite first. I've put a bounty on this question. Could somebody please post an answer?
btw, before a bounty expires, a moderator can remove it. It's not a good idea to get in the habit of putting up a bounty and then asking a mod to remove it, but I don't have a problem removing bounties occasionally if something like this is about to happen.
Works beautifully! The new question gets all the answers and comment from the old one (though not the votes), and the answer gets unaccepted.
@Martin: please repost your question, and I (or another mod) will merge the old one into it.
The answers of the old question will be moved over to the new question and the old question will be deleted. All the answers will keep their point scores but the accept will be removed from the accepted answer.
Martin, do you want to merge the questions or keep them separate?
@markvs: the proof and construction are certainly not complicated, but they are not really elegant either.
As Martin mentions, there is this extra t, and then if one really writes down proofs of associativity and everything this is a bit tedious.