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I've just been following a question where neither the OP nor any of the answerers seem that well versed in the ways of Stack Overflow and it has had 7 answers posted (5 still remaining) none of which answer the question in my opinion.

Currently the question is a bit of a mess and resembles a forum thread. The 5 "answers" remaining are either requests for further information from the OP or the OP's responses (which I have edited into the question)

One answerer has submitted two diagnostic queries to run that might give more information leading to the answer. We had a small discussion in the comments here where I pointed out that stack overflow doesn't work that way. No response to that so I'm not sure if they took that on board or not.

But the same user has actually submitted a comment that turned out to be the answer

The difference in record count is caused by ghost records. When SQL Server updates a record in a HEAP (table without clustered index) and the new value is to big for the old row position, the row is moved to a new location. The old location will have a pointer to the new location. That pointer counts as record internally but will never get returned or counted by any direct query. However, those ghost records can be a major performance problem because SQL Server resolves them right away even during a scan causing basically random disk head movements (per row) instead of a sequential read.

Would it be wrong to entirely replace the text in one of their "not an answer" with the text from the comment?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

If it's a comment on the same answer or generally relating to/elaborating on the answer, yes, relevant information from comments should be moved to answers.

Now, there's a degree of "respect the original author" here; I wouldn't completely change an existing answer, but I would consider editing the comment (and attribution) into their relevant answer. If they had a relevant comment and a totally irrelevant answer (unless their comment is clearly trying to explain the otherwise irrelevant answer) I would instead ask the user to post the comment as an answer or change their existing answer.

If they don't respond to requests to update or post an answer(or you don't trust the user to actually do that), you can just post a Community Wiki answer with the information and attribution (link to the comment and provide the username in case the comment goes poof).

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So in the specific case I linked to you would just go the CW route then if a more "proper" answer isn't posted after some time? – Martin Smith Dec 26 '12 at 15:17
@MartinSmith the not-an-answer has already been deleted so I can't see it; it seems like that would be a safe way to go in this case though. Letting the user know to post an answer (and which information IS an answer) is more important for the learning experience than the points, so make sure you leave a comment telling them what to do in the future either way – Ben Brocka Dec 26 '12 at 15:24
Yep, I do tend to agree. Just somewhat frustrating in this case to see the same user had posted two questions as answers and then a perfectly decent answer as a comment! – Martin Smith Dec 26 '12 at 15:30
And in this specific question a "proper" answer has now been posted anyway. – Martin Smith Dec 26 '12 at 15:33

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