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I just answered this question. The name of the user who asked the question is gray, so I assume he/she is removed. Now what? Is anybody able to accept my answer (assuming it is correct for the moment, I'm just asking out of curiosity) instead of the OP? Or has this question to remain unanswered until SO stops working?

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What a luck and a game of life, to teach you to help with out expect anything. –  Aristos Feb 7 '13 at 21:14
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2 Answers

up vote 21 down vote accepted

You'll have a warm fuzzy feeling that you helped future visitors with the same question.

You may get upvotes, but no one will ever be able to mark your answer as accepted, no. The question will, forever more, remain without an accepted answer. Until the heat death of the universe, or the demise of Stack Overflow, whichever comes first, of course.

Note that the user can appear grayed out because the post was migrated from another site and the poster does not yet have an account on the target SE site. When the original owner does create an account and associates it with the source site account, ownership will automatically be fixed and the OP can still accept your answer. For your specific case though, the owner is indeed deleted.

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This is not the case with the example question in the OPs post, however it should be noted that migrated questions may also show up with a gray name, however the user who posted the question on the original site can create a linked account on the new site and be automatically be associated with the migrated question, which will allow them to mark an answer as accepted. –  Rachel Feb 7 '13 at 17:59
    
@Rachel: Very good point; added that as a footnote. –  Martijn Pieters Feb 7 '13 at 18:04
    
As a note: There's a "will" too much in "[…] but noone will never will be […]". I can't edit it because it's only 4 characters … :) –  insertusernamehere Feb 7 '13 at 21:01
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@insertusernamehere: The necessary edit actually stretched to 6 characters there! :-) (never will became ever) Thanks. –  Martijn Pieters Feb 7 '13 at 21:09
    
Unanswered != unaccepted, it was answered by virtue of the answer –  Ben Brocka Feb 7 '13 at 21:13
    
@BenBrocka: Reworded that; I meant unanswered as in remaining on the unanswered questions tab. –  Martijn Pieters Feb 7 '13 at 21:17
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The user will not be able to accept your answer, on account of the user ceasing to be. However, other users can still upvote your answer to indicate that it is a useful answer.

It's not technically "unanswered", though, so long as your answer is useful and solves the problem. It may not have the green checkmark, but the important thing for the post itself is the presence of a solution, not the checkmark.

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There's potential shenanigans involving duplicates and question merges that could technically get your answer moved to a place where it can be accepted. But, this isn't likely to happen, and even if it did there's no guarantee that you'd get the checkmark. –  Grace Note Feb 7 '13 at 17:49
    
Of course there is no guarantee I'd get the checkmark, but, from the question: assuming it is correct for the moment, I'm just asking out of curiosity. –  11684 Feb 7 '13 at 17:55
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@11684 I more meant that if you had the answer moved to another question, there's lots of factors involved regarding the owner being different, the problem space being different enough, or there just being already another accepted answer. –  Grace Note Feb 7 '13 at 17:56
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