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Editing Etiquette: I've encountered what must be a common problem: Several answers which were appended to the OP's question rather than being placed as 'formal' answers below it.
Is it appropriate to move the answer? For example, these questions:

Note: Before being asked, I'm not hunting for reputation; I would definitely mark the answers CW.

I'll bet that this has been asked before, but I didn't find it via search.

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Can't moderators do this? (I understand that this is a rhetorical question for plebeians like you and I...) –  Chris Frederick Aug 19 '11 at 17:47
    
@Chris Anyone can post an answer and edit (or propose an edit to) the question. There's no one-click method for mods to move "the answer" out of a question, of course, since we don't have sentient AI that could determine exactly what the answer is :P –  Matthew Read Aug 19 '11 at 17:51
    
@Matthew Sorry, what I meant to say was: Can't moderators create a new answer on behalf of the OP so that it looks as if the OP posted it? –  Chris Frederick Aug 19 '11 at 18:01
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@Chris Nope! That would probably not go over well either. –  Matthew Read Aug 19 '11 at 18:04
    
Understood; thanks for clarifying! –  Chris Frederick Aug 19 '11 at 18:14

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

The problem I see with that is that they really should be the ones to answer it, since they're the ones that need to accept it as an answer anyway.

I personally would comment on the post and say "Most people will look for the check mark to find the answer to this question. Perhaps you could move it out of the question and into an answer and then accept it?"

You could even tell them you'd probably upvote it, if you like their answer that is.

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This is correct. Like @M.Tibbits I can't find the dupe of this question at the moment either, but the thing to do is definitely to ask them to make it a real answer. I would straight up ask and not say "perhaps" etc. If they don't respond within a few days, move it yourself; making it CW is a good idea. –  Matthew Read Aug 19 '11 at 17:49
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I do this all the time, and most active members are happy to move their solution down to an answer once you suggest that you'd probably upvote it. –  Bill the Lizard Aug 19 '11 at 18:11
    
I really like the community wiki idea; that prevents people from thinking that you're just being a rep whore. –  Chris Frederick Aug 19 '11 at 18:16

From the "Edit Questions and Answers" privilege, on when to edit:

Any time you feel you can make the post better, and are inclined to do so. Editing is encouraged!

The way I see it -- what damage could it possibly do to the person asking the question?

  • Their original question is still intact.
  • They don't care -- or don't know -- about the rep possible from an answer, since they didn't post it as an answer.
  • All the information is still available. In fact, it's more available, as it's more clearly separated from the question and where people expect it to be.
  • You attribute the answer to the person who provided it.
  • You don't get any personal benefit except the satisfaction of helping everyone.

In all of the cases you linked, the person had weeks to years to post an answer if they wanted. If it hasn't been that long since they posted the answer, or the person appears very active on the site, give them a chance to do it first. After a week or so, or if the person is inactive or the post is very old, make the edit.

It benefits all of us.

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