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Many questions (often old) holds the proper answers sometimes in the comment section, or as an answer but are not marked answered.


Suggestion:

What if users with high reputation could mark the question as "Closed" or "Answered". That could even need to be reviewed.

I'm not saying that they could choose which answer is the correct one. The point is to provide a way to close them, because those questions are still showing in the unanswered list even if in practice they answered.


I believe this is a problem because the community will tends to be reluctant to provide answers for old questions in general, because they might never be marked answered anyway.

Thus, the old questions that really needs answer are mixed up among them. So, it becomes harder to be efficient at looking for Unanswered questions.

Any opinion about that?

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3  
Related, on the blog: OK, Now Define “Answered”. –  Arjan Apr 15 '12 at 12:02
    
@Arjan Thanks for your link, I just got noticed that you have commented on my question. I will read through it :) Regards –  ForceMagic Apr 15 '12 at 12:15
4  
(No need for a thank-you comment; pages would be looooong if everyone would do that.) –  Arjan Apr 15 '12 at 12:18

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I believe this is a problem because the community will tends to be reluctant to provide answers for old questions in general, because they might never be marked answered anyway.

I've seen no evidence of that. Good answers to questions, no matter how old, "bump" the question to the home page and tend to accumulate a sizable number of up-votes. And two up-votes are worth more than a single accept anyway—(10 + 10) > 15. There's no active disincentive for people to answer old questions; you even get badges for doing so!

This being your central justification, I therefore don't see much point in the feature you suggest. It would just introduce an extra layer of unneeded complexity to the system.

Moreover, consider that:

  1. Upvotes already provide sufficient indication of which answers are "useful", and if there's a highly-upvoted answer that has floated to the top, it should be pretty obvious that the question is "answered" or "resolved", regardless of how the question is otherwise marked.

  2. How and why should people other than the asker get to decide if their question has been sufficiently answered? It doesn't matter that we'd not be choosing a specific answer. The mere fact that we're deciding if and when a question has been answered is problematic. That should be something that is reserved exclusively for the person who asks the question in the first place. As mentioned above, the way the community decides and indicates such is through voting on the answers.

  3. The labeling of questions that have been answered as "closed" is a really problematic one. On Stack Exchange sites, "closed" means something entirely different! In particular, it means that the question is not a good fit for the site and that no new answers are being accepted. That's very different than a question for which a good answer has already been provided. If someone else comes along later with a better answer, we encourage them to post it. We don't want to close these questions of which you speak, or even deter future users from attempting to answer them.

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Right, your answers make sense, I was aware of 1 and 2. I didn't know about the current meaning of Closed answer (point 3). In regarding of your point 1. What if the answer is in the question comment section? I have seen that before, there is no way to really know the awnser had been answered before clicking on it. Sometimes it has 0 reply, but I never know what to do, I often suggest the user who correctly replied to write an answer to it below so the original poster can mark it. Thanks for your time. –  ForceMagic Apr 15 '12 at 11:59
    
@ForceMagic: If an answer appears in the comments section, it should be promoted to an answer. This can happen either by using an @reply to the person who originally posted the comment and asking them to add an answer, or if they're no longer around, posting an answer yourself from the comment. This exact issue has been discussed multiple times here on Meta. Try running a search for "answers as comments" or something like that. (And I can't hardly believe that you've been around Stack Overflow for more than a day and you haven't seen "closed" questions before!) –  Cody Gray Apr 15 '12 at 12:01
    
Well, I have been on Stack Overflow since over 3 years now. Pretty much in and out, but haven't been participating much to the Meta yet. I did see the Closed tag before, but maybe not realized its whole impact when I wrote this question. Thanks for your detailed explanation anyway. Regards. –  ForceMagic Apr 15 '12 at 12:08

As a brand new user I came to this page seeking how to close a question or vote the answer up (or at least give my answerer some kudos or something).

The answer came in the form of a comment. It was a simple question/answer. While I can't speculate that some discussion couldn't take place still, I am satisfied the answer is good (it met all my criteria).

So I would like to mark it as closed but I can't. I believe that actually unanswered question should be labeled as such, and those that have been answered should also be labeled as answered.

It would help when searching to divide answered from unanswered... and when posting, as it would make it easier to see if the question has been asked (I will only check so many pages of results to see if my question has been asked before).

At the very least a moderator should be able to mark a question answered upon request.

As to new answers to questions being relevant, true, but the answered category could still leave commenting available for discussion, and voting as well, maybe a "better" answer may be found, but more importantly, new comments to answered questions should bring it back to the top.

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For a question to be answered it will first need an answer. Comments are not answers. If you, or someone else, has found the answer to your question then post it as an answer to the question. That answer, if it answers your question, can then be marked as the "accepted" answer by you, which distinguishes the question from the question list from those without an accepted answer. –  Servy Jan 31 at 20:21
    
Please use some formatting, it was a pain to read... –  ForceMagic Jan 31 at 20:25
    
I honestly didn't see the giant "Answer your question" button, my mistake (I might've been blocking that script). Is it a common tendency for users to answer via comment rather than actual answer? I assume some people prefer it so as to be voted down and lose rep or whatever effects that might have? –  jack Jan 31 at 20:26
    
I must really be tired. –  jack Jan 31 at 20:30
    
Answers must usually be complete, so a lot of people use comment when the solution is a typo or something like that. That's what I've seen so far. Personally, I'd rather prefer an answer anyway so we know that the question is answered. –  ForceMagic Jan 31 at 20:49

There is a way to mark a question as answered: upvote the correct answer. The definition of the “unanswered” view is “questions with no upvoted (or accepted) answers”, so casting your vote will take it out of that view.

(If the answer is in a comment, then it should be transferred to an answer.)

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