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A little while ago I asked a somewhat complex question.

I got some good answers fairly quickly and began investigating them. One recommended I try the jQuery isotope plugin and another pointed me toward an algorithm that could be implemented to achieve my goal. Both were good answers and after investigating I found that the isotope plugin was perfect for what I wanted.

When I went back to mark his answer correct it had been transformed into a comment. Why? And how do I now mark the answer correct since it no longer exists as an answer?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 12 down vote accepted

It was a relatively link-only answer. The problem is that for future readers, if the site outlasts the plug-in, or the plug-in moves, the link is dead and the answer is useless. While it solved your problem today, it might not solve someone else's problem tomorrow. If the answer included some descriptive text around exactly how the plug-in works, and code or pseudo-code around how you might implement such a plug-in yourself, it might be seen as more valuable.

Summarizing the comments, what you can do next is one of the following:

  • ask the poster directly to expand on their answer so it can be un-deleted (or to post a new, better answer)

  • if they say no (or you don't want to wait), post your own answer (with more information) and, if you feel guilty about any rep you may attract, mark it as Community Wiki

  • as CasperOne suggested, the answer could be un-deleted, commented on, then re-deleted, hopefully prompting the author to improve the post - this is much like the first bullet with a lot more notification going to the poster =)

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Okay, makes sense. So what should I do now that I have my answer? Is the proper etiquette to ask the author (now commenter) to post a better answer so I can accept it? Or is it socially acceptable for me to now answer my own question with a more detailed version of his answer and then accept my own answer? –  Alex Ford Aug 23 '12 at 16:07
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You could ask the poster to provide a better answer, or you could post your own answer. You could mark it as community wiki if you don't want to feel guilty about reputation gains. –  Aaron Bertrand Aug 23 '12 at 16:11
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What Aaron said. Folks are sometimes wary about assembling a good answer out of pieces of others' work. Good, lasting answers that future visitors can use are more important than rep. –  Michael Petrotta Aug 23 '12 at 16:18
    
We could also undelete it, comment at the author, re-delete it and see if the author elaborates on the answer, at which point we'd undelete it. –  casperOne Aug 23 '12 at 16:37

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