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I'm trying to go through and provide answers to very unanswered questions (search closed:0 answers:0), somewhat following the spirit that was blogged about at The Horror of No Answer: Revival and Necromancer/ . However, I'm finding this much more difficult than it needs to be, as many of the questions have already been answered without the use of an "answer" - but instead, in the form of a comment by either the OP or another poster.

I wouldn't mind reading through and skipping these, as long as there was some appropriate action I could take to at least assist with preventing these questions from being seen again from the same query - either by myself or another SO member. Is there such an appropriate action?

  • Should we vote to close? If so, using what reason?
    • Even if I vote to close, what are the chances that 4 other users will also view the question and also vote to close? (I.E., will my individual vote even do any good? Is there any report to show recent close votes, so that others may also review and contribute supporting close votes?)
  • Should we post some sort of an answer - even just something to the effect of "this was already answered by the OP's own comment to his answer (above)"?
  • Would something like this be appropriate to flag for moderator attention, and let the moderators deal with it? (Or would this be considered too trivial?)
  • Should we rename the question title to something standard that can be used in a search exclusion? (Maybe "SOLVED:"?)

Basically, how can I help to denote questions as "This question is no longer in active search of an answer - though better answers may still be appreciated."?

I've already reviewed How do we prod users who have answered their own questions to post an answer and accept it? , which was closed as a duplicate of Promoting comments to answers - but this requires effort on part of a user who may very likely no longer be active.

Otherwise, is there something I should be doing to improve my search to filter out these types of questions?

I've run across this many times, so I don't consider it to be a rare issue. However, the last question like this I just ran across, prompting this question, was javax.comm only seems to send one message. In this case, the question was self-answered by the OP in the form of a comment, this question is the OP's only question, the OP has no other visible activity on SO, and the OP hasn't been seen on SO since he registered and posted the question 5 months ago.

Another one I just ran across is Using EL functions. However, here the "answer" comment was posted by a reputable and recently active SO member. Should I leave a comment directed at him, asking him to re-post his comment as an answer, or should I post my own answer echoing his comment? (Or something else?)

Yet another is http://stackoverflow.com/questions/6902561/solved-unable-to-store-more-than-172-elements-in-a-collection. Interestingly, the OP actually self-edited the question to include the "SOLVED:" prefix on to the question, instead of posting his resolving comment as an answer (and ideally accepting it) as he was asked to do by another comment. This brings up another good idea - is there a "standard" we should use to rename the titles on these "resolved but unanswered" posts that could be used as a search exclusion? (Also added to the above list.)

This is my first post on Meta, and I spent a good amount of time searching for duplicates without success - so please just leave a comment (or answer) if there is something obvious that I missed. Thanks!

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I wonder if moderators can do the reverse and turn a comment into an answer. Otherwise it could possibly be closed as too localized if they can't get the OP to re-post that as an answer. –  animuson Dec 27 '11 at 19:40
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@animuson We can't. –  Anna Lear Dec 27 '11 at 19:55
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The "Using EL functions" question has actually an accepted answer of the OP itself with the sole content "I cannot select a best answer so I will have to do this", however it got deleted instead of edited based on the comments. –  BalusC Dec 27 '11 at 20:25
    
@Chichiray I cleaned that one up since the OP had left an answer to edit the comment into. –  Bill the Lizard Dec 27 '11 at 21:55
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1 Answer

up vote 28 down vote accepted

We discussed this on meta.serverfault a short while ago and decided that you should Steal comments that answer the question and post them as an answer. You can always tick the Community Wiki box if you're not comfortable rep whoring.

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You answer a question by stealing my answer that was stolen from a comment. A N S W E P T I O N –  Wesley Dec 28 '11 at 19:35
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