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Last week I did a little clean up, searching for questions where the user found the answer and never returned to give closure.

As I don't have rights to do anything (yet), I started flagging the questions for moderators attention, explaining the situation.

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But then I got the message below:

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which my brain translated as "don't waste the moderators time asking them to close irrelavant/useless threads".

Now I ask: what can we, non power users, do to help?
Why not allow all users do some clean up?
I'm not saying any user should be able to close a question, but why not open it to be voted?

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Did the users post their solutions too? The translation in your brain is correct, by the way ;-) (And as an aside: I'd prefer some more uppercase i's and some less line breaks.) –  Arjan Apr 9 '12 at 12:37
    
In some they did. The way i see, the "unanswered questions" list is not working properly, as it shows questions that have already been answered. –  RASG Apr 9 '12 at 12:41
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Related: OK, Now Define “Answered”. –  Arjan Apr 9 '12 at 12:43
    
Correction: earlier I commented that the translation of your brain was correct. It is, I think, for the "don't waste the moderators time" part. But not necessarily about the posts being irrelevant/useless. I've not read the posts. –  Arjan Apr 9 '12 at 12:54
    
* Answered questions have at least one answer with one upvote (or accepted) * Unanswered questions have no answers with upvotes (or accepted) –  Somnath Muluk Apr 9 '12 at 12:55
    
@SomnathMuluk If the user found the solution by himself and never posted it (just wrote "nevermind, i got it"), there is no right answer to vote up. The question remains active. –  RASG Apr 9 '12 at 13:05
    
@RASG: In this case, whoever finds it, request in comment is necessary for posting solution. –  Somnath Muluk Apr 9 '12 at 13:10
    
I up voted because I think it's a good question to ask and have an answer to. I disagree with the apparent suggestion that this indicates that the "unanswered questions" list is not working correctly. –  Andrew Barber Apr 9 '12 at 18:32
    
And i welcome all disagreements :) That's why it's tagged as discussion –  RASG Apr 9 '12 at 19:26

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Ideally, if the user found the solution to his own problem, he'll add it as a self-answer and possibly accept it. Closing has nothing to do with a question being solved, so no, questions should not be closed in this case.

If someone comments something like "I figured it out, my problem was right there" on their own question, there's two things you can do if you care about it being officially answered:

  1. Ask them to post it as a self-answer instead of a comment
  2. Post the answer yourself, potentially expanding on the answer the OP gave himself

… neither of which is a moderator's job. Your flags seem to imply that moderators can magically remove questions from the unanswered list. They can't, other than by closing, which as I said before has nothing to do with a problem being solved.

The first two questions were actually too localized, so a moderator closed them — not necessarily because they agreed with your flag, but because it pointed them at a post that they ended up taking action on.

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Its a judgement call.

If the question is crap, or if the answer is super trivial, then closing as Too Localized is an option.

If the question is okay, and the answer isn't "I reinstalled the compiler and it now works" (we got one like that recently), then the OP should be encouraged to add their solution as an answer in order to close out the question.

In both situations, anyone (with the ability) can vote to close. So that doesn't require moderator action. Encouraging the OP to answer also doesn't require mod attention, as you can do that yourself. Mods can't add answers under the identity of another user, so the only thing we can do is leave a comment.

In future, I'd suggest you do one of the following:

  1. Leave a comment suggesting the user add their solution as an answer and then accept it
  2. Vote to close as Too Localized
  3. Flag as "Other", then say "OP screwed up, question was not valid, close as too localized" or similar; the more info in the flag the more likely we will act
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According to me, Question shouldn't be closed if the user found the solution by himself.

Users providing own answer after having done a bit more research. There might be any new, advanced solution to question which will help other user with same problem. Or solution given by user may get outdated. That's why question shouldn't be closed.

q1:what can we, non power users, do to help?

You can review that question and answers given to that question.
1. You can give upvotes to appealing answers. 2. You can leave comments to OP for accepting answers or check OP is looking for better solution or not. 3. You have moderation ability: flagging

q2: Why not allow all users do some clean up?

You will get privileges according to your support to community.

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should the questions still appear in lists as "unanswered questions"? –  RASG Apr 9 '12 at 12:43
    
@ras - not if the OP accepts their own answer. –  Lix Apr 9 '12 at 12:45
1  
It appears in unanswered questions means OP havn't accepted answer or want more solutions to question or forget to accept answer. Which barely means it's unaccepted question. There are unanswered questions with 8 answers too. That doesn't mean question should get closed. You can also vote to question/answer. (I think it removes it from unanswered questions list, not sure.) –  Somnath Muluk Apr 9 '12 at 12:48
    
@Lix: Should question closed if OP haven't accepted answer? –  Somnath Muluk Apr 9 '12 at 12:53
    
Yes, @Somnath, voting helps. –  Arjan Apr 9 '12 at 12:55
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@som - If the question could benefit future visitors then no. If the answer he posted goes along the lines of "Oh - I forgot a semicolon" - then it should be closed as too localized. –  Lix Apr 9 '12 at 12:55
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And, to extend on Lix's above comment: if a question is closed then it actually shouldn't have been posted to start with. –  Arjan Apr 9 '12 at 12:56

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