In this question I asked about a theorem in an old paper. I gave many details explaining the difficulty I was having in following the proof. The author of the paper kindly replied, pointing me to a counterexample to the theorem as stated and a correct proof of a slight modification, both published much more recently. I think it is valuable to leave the question and answer visible, to help prevent other people from falling into the same trap. On the other hand, the details in the question are now mostly irrelevant. I wonder whether it would be best to remove them and just leave a stub. What do people think?

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    $\begingroup$ Why not just add a comment (either in the body of the question, or in comments below) pointing out the new version, and that the question referred to an earlier draft? It certainly seems likely that the question would be useful to others, and hence worth leaving up. $\endgroup$
    – Lucia
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Lucia "pointing out the new version, and that the question referred to an earlier draft?" I do not quite get what you mean there: the new version of what and which draft? The question is about a published paper, the answer to it in some sense is in a newish book. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


I think such things show (to those willing to discern) that mathematics is a human activity, and that yours is an example of how to deal with mistakes. I would prefer to see the details stay up, especially as some of the details may turn out to be important in a similar but different context.

For those in a hurry, you can add to your update a brief summary of what happened at the top, and leave the rest for historical and human interest.

Gerhard "Keep History Visible To All" Paseman, 2015.09.18

  • $\begingroup$ I like the idea of putting an update up top explaining, but leaving it all there. $\endgroup$
    – j0equ1nn
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 5:58

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