I saw this question: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/7719242/while-loop-end-error-what-the

I don't know what the best option is for dealing with such a question, because I've seen questions like this several times already.

So, what should we do with questions that are:

  1. poorly asked
  2. finally answered by the OP as an update to the question itself, not as an answer.
  • 1
    That one was too localized. Do you have any other examples? Oct 11, 2011 at 2:43
  • I've came across those kind of questions. But, I didn't write it down. I'll try to flag when I see it again.
    – ariefbayu
    Oct 11, 2011 at 2:52
  • Frequently too localized.
    – Rosinante
    Oct 11, 2011 at 12:31

3 Answers 3


For the few reasonable quality questions I've seen (e.g. this one) where the OP has answered the question in an edit rather than as an answer I've usually:

  1. Suggested via a comment that answers should be answers.
  2. If the OP doesn't reply to that within a reasonable time period make an edit to correct:
    • Roll back inappropriate edit to question
    • Post an new answer as a community wiki (to avoid being accused of unfairly gaining rep for it)

This I believe is an appropriate course of action because it adheres to the "don't make moderators do work you can do without needing a moderator" principle, whilst sticking to the clean separation of Q&A design of the site.

If the quality is too low (e.g. it can't help any future visitors) then it's a vote close/flag. If it's unsalvageable I don't think there's much point editing something that will shortly be deleted.

  • Yes, this is exactly what I would have done. If the question/answer is unsalvageable though, I'd just close and sooner or later delete it.
    – slhck
    Oct 11, 2011 at 10:30
  • yeah, I usually suggest OP to move answers as an answers. However, this one is poorly asked.
    – ariefbayu
    Oct 11, 2011 at 11:50
  • What if the question is answered as both and edit of the question and as an answer? example
    – user244840
    Dec 14, 2013 at 18:23
  • @user256673 - looks like a rollback makes sense there - I did it and edited a few minor things along the way.
    – Flexo
    Dec 14, 2013 at 19:42
  1. Poorly asked: Down vote
  2. Self-answered in question: Vote to Close as "Not a real question" or (if you don't have the reputation): Flag as "Very low quality"

In all cases, there's a judgment call to be made on a few factors:

  • Was the question answerable from the contents posted, or was the cause an unmentioned external factor?
  • Is it a support question or a real "how to" question?
  • Can this be potentially useful to others (even with heavy editing)?

Since this question is a bit old now, I'll answer for the general case, not your specific example. You bring up two independent issues:

  1. Poorly asked

    Do what you'd do for any low-quality question. Edit to improve, leave comments for the OP, downvote, vote to close and/or vote to delete as appropriate.

  2. Answer provided in question

    Use a comment to let the OP know about the semantics of question posts and answer posts on Stack Exchange sites, highlighting differences from forum behavior. Then, ask the OP to move the self-answer into a proper answer field. If you get no response after a while, move the answer it yourself, mark it CW and indicate that the OP was the real author.

    Examples: in this case, the OP ignored comments from mods and others requesting a move; and in this one, the OP didn't have enough rep to post a self-answer.

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