The situation: Another user posted a (wrong) answer to one of my questions. However, in the comments that followed he gave a "correct answer". I told him that was the answer I was looking for, waited a while, and when he didn't post it as an answer, leaving it in the comments, I posted it as an answer myself and accepted it.

He proceeded to get upset with me, downvotes, etc and the usual.

Regardless, it got me thinking - What is the proper protocol for this situation? Should I have asked him specifically to make a new answer for me to mark? Should I have replaced his answer with the new one, even though that would have invalidated the whole discussion that followed?

  • 3
    Comments are not answers. Secondly, comments are not answers. You did nothing wrong. Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 18:43
  • @Anthony Just because he did nothing wrong doesn't mean there's not room for improvement. :-)
    – corsiKa
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 19:56
  • I disagree with that assessment. While we can certainly edit someone else's answer, we generally do not, except for formatting or perhaps simple typos. The correctness of the answer is generally up to the original user that supplied it, particularly if the change is substantial. I feel that by GlyphGlyph asking the user to edit the answer to include the comment and providing sufficient enough time for the edit to be made, he fulfilled whatever obligation he might be assumed to have. Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 20:01
  • In this case, I didn't specifically ask him to include the edit in the answer, I simply said "This comment is the sort of answer I was looking for, and appears to be correct". Next time, I will try to be more explicit.
    – GlyphGryph
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 20:04
  • @Anthony we'll have to agree to disagree =) I believe my assessment is most in line with the general community, but I could be mistaken. While we generally do not edit people's answers, the site is intended to be collaboratively edited. This is (in my view) the exact purpose the ability to edit other peoples' posts is intended to do. We don't have the ability to edit just for typos and formatting; rather, those are a side effect of the real reason we're able to edit.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Nov 10, 2011 at 4:51

2 Answers 2


Stack Overflow is meant to be collaboratively edited. So personally, I would have edited his answer to include the correct information and accepted his answer.

That being said, there is no official protocol and what you did is perfectly valid. I mean, it's not like you gain rep for accepting your own answer.

If he wanted the rep from the accepted answer, he's here for the wrong reason to start with. But setting that aside, he didn't do his due diligence in updating his answer.

On the other side of the coin, did you tell him "If this was in your answer I'd accept it"? If you didn't I can understand why he'd be upset (although I don't feel that's a reason to downvote a correct answer).


Answering your own question is always ok. You can make it Community Wiki to indicate you're not out for rep.

However, before doing so: Why don't you edit the extended answer the user gave in the comments? That way, he gets all the rep, you can accept the answer, and the answer contains the solution. Insert <hr/> before the added details if the final answer is more than a minor clarification.

  • 1
    Or --- will turn into a horizontal rule.
    – agf
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 18:30

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