I was looking at the unapproved edits when I came across Javascript in Wicket 1.5.

The editor describes it as "moved the self-answer to a real answer." Basically, the OP had edited their question to include a solution they had discovered for their self. The editor has extracted the edit and pasted the text into an answer; at the time of writing it is the only response in the thread.

On the one hand this is the proper Stack Overflow mechanism, because answers can be voted on and accepted. On the other hand, the editor stands to gain the reputation, rather than the OP who provided the actual solution.

I have rejected the edit because I don't want the editor gaining points for the solution provided by the OP, but still the answer — containing the text from the edited question — stands, and can be voted on. Presumably the OP won't accept, but even so.

I know the precisely correct answer is "flag it and let the moderators sort it out," but I think it's good to have policy explicitly defined in Meta.

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    The etiquette is to ask the OP to post the answer as an answer (as one user did), and to give him time to do so. The question's only 2 hours old, he should be given a chance. Martin would have seen that comment so ignoring it and going ahead strikes me as rep-whoring. Not against the rules, but "unfair". – Matthew Read Sep 2 '11 at 21:24
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    Unless I'm missing something, high reputation on SE actually hinders people's chances with the ladies... so why the cheating-effort? (OK, I can now be found right out the door) – Kheldar Sep 2 '11 at 21:34
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    @Kheldar: speak for yourself my geek code includes "z+++". ::hopes no one will notice the "(theoretically)" part of the description:: – dmckee Sep 2 '11 at 22:57
  • Oh, I don't care, my schizophrenic evil geek self has y+++ :p – Kheldar Sep 2 '11 at 23:03

The answer should be CW to stop the answerer from gaining rep that isn't due him, but not deleted because it is still, after all, an answer. I've flagged for a mod to convert.

As for future edits, I recommending voting to approve and then flagging the answer for CW if the poster hasn't CWed it him/herself.

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    Also a good course of action. – Matthew Read Sep 2 '11 at 21:25
  • Clearly the sensible course of action. – APC Sep 3 '11 at 1:41

I think you're taking this a bit too negatively. After all, the editor is trying to improve the site by putting an answer where it belongs. We should not automatically assume that this was an attempt at rep whoring.

I see way too many examples of answers being edited into the question. Fixing this is something we should encourage, not punish.

However, I agree that it would be more appropriate to mark it as Community Wiki, and it's ok to flag it for a moderator to do so, together with a friendly comment, e.g. "Good job, but use CW next time".

So lay down your pitchforks guys.

  • +1 You're right, the edit does improve the site. So I was wrong to reject it. – APC Sep 3 '11 at 1:43

There are two issues here. First, as you say, using answers for answers "is the proper SO mechanism." Kudos to anyone who moves an answer from a comment or a question body to an actual answer post.

As for the rep/CW issue, I used to agree with waiwai and genesis, but I'm not so sure anymore. Spend enough time interacting with users on the site and/or reading discussions on Meta, and you'll see that rep measures your experience with the site, not just your technical ability. Moving answers to answers shows that you understand the site, and since editors go largely unrecognized, I'm fine with them getting a little rep for this.

I will say that I've copied wrong-location answers myself, and I have always used CW. (Or, if I forgot, I went back and added CW when I saw I was gaining rep for them.) Also, if the OP comes back and wants credit, the copied answer should be deleted so the OP can post as an answer and get the upvotes.

  • Still looking? :) – Gnoupi Nov 20 '12 at 14:08
  • @Gnoupi no, I never found it -- maybe it never existed -- and gave up long ago; I've deleted the commentary from the answer now. – Pops Nov 20 '12 at 15:12

It will usually depend on the situation.

Sometimes the "answer" belongs as an edit to a question, such as if the OP says "Whoops, I had my caps lock on, problem solved." We don't need an answer for that.

If it's a good answer that will help people, then it should be put into an answer form, and it doesn't really matter who does it, or if they get rep. Popular Demand has it right, in that, reputation is by and large a measure of your contribution to the site; hence, creating that answer is a contribution that should be rewarded. There is no reason to have to make it CW, let the gentleman who helped have a little reward. It's pretty small in the overall scheme of things.

  • If it is a caps-lock solution, the question might qualify as "too localized". – Paŭlo Ebermann Sep 3 '11 at 13:57

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