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I was spending a little time looking for questions with 0 answers that I could answer, and found this one where the answer was actually in the comments (Rails Server won't run after upgrading Mountain Lion)

It seemed to me that it would be useful to somehow mark questions like these as answered in the comments so that it stops showing up as unanswered. So I came over here to meta SO looking for answers here to how to proceed with that and found:

Mark a comment as answer to a question

and

What to do with questions that are unanswered but answered in the comments?

and

How should I handle questions which are answered in the comments?

And the I found a bunch more questions regarding a number of other types of cleanup.

It seems to me that cleanup in general has got to be one of the more important aspects of making SO work so that we don't drown in noise, and I couldn't find stuff in the FAQ, or a collection of tips/best-practices on how to participate in general cleanup, which can be though of as general site hygiene.

Is there such a compilation? As fairly low rep user, it seems to me that having such a guide would be very useful as way into contributing to the site.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

As a general guideline, if you see a comment-as-answer and it really is of suitable quality to be an answer (which is unlikely, usually it needs to be elaborated on) then you should post an answer to the question, quote the comment and attribute it to the author, add any additional information you feel is appropriate, and then mark the question as community wiki (so as to not claim credit/reputation for another person's work). If the user is still active you could also reply to their comment asking them to post the information as an answer.

As for how to clean up the site as a whole, the FAQ contains a lot of information, and often links to other related content on meta. Beyond that, most of it's around somewhere on meta. If you can't find out the policy on something after searching the FAQ and doing a few other searches, just ask a question on meta and you'll get an answer. Also keep in mind that policies do change over time, so if the only questions you can find on a subject are very old, their suggestions may or may not be the current policy.

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If you noticed somebody gave a reply in comments and that is an answer, you can notify those users by referencing them with @. If they don't reply within reasonable time, I think it would be fair if you post an answer to that (as yours, but credit the author of the answer). OP should get notified, and they may accept it shortly after.

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