I'm trying to go through and provide answers to every unanswered question (search "closed:0 answers:0"), somewhat following the spirit that was blogged about at The Horror of No Answer: Revival and Necromancer . However, I'm finding this much more difficult than it needs to be, as many of the questions have already been answered without the use of an "answer" - but instead, in the form of a comment by either the OP or another poster.

I wouldn't mind reading through and skipping these, as long as there was some appropriate action I could take to at least assist with preventing these questions from being seen again from the same query - either by myself or another SO member. Is there such an appropriate action?

  • Should we vote to close? If so, using what reason? Even if I vote to close, what are the chances that 4 other users will also view the question and also vote to close? (i.e., will my individual vote even do any good? Is there any report to show recent close votes, so that others may also review and contribute supporting close votes?)
  • Should we post some sort of an answer - even just something to the effect of "this was already answered by the OP's own comment to his answer (above)"?
  • Would something like this be appropriate to flag for moderator attention, and let the moderators deal with it? (Or would this be considered too trivial?)
  • Should we rename the question title to something standard that can be used in a search exclusion? (Maybe "SOLVED:"?)

Basically, how can I help to denote questions as "This question is no longer in active search of an answer - though better answers may still be appreciated."?

I've already reviewed this question, which was closed as a duplicate of this question - but this requires effort on part of a user who may very likely no longer be active.

Otherwise, is there something I should be doing to improve my search to filter out these types of questions?

I've run across this many times, so I don't consider it to be a rare issue. However, the last question like this I just ran across, prompting this question, was this one. In this case, the question was self-answered by the OP in the form of a comment, this question is the OP's only question, the OP has no other visible activity on SO, and the OP hasn't been seen on SO since he registered and posted the question 5 months ago.

Another one I just ran across is this. However, here the "answer" comment was posted by a reputable and recently active SO member. Should I leave a comment directed at him, asking him to re-post his comment as an answer, or should I post my own answer echoing his comment? (Or something else?)

Yet another is this one. Interestingly, the OP actually self-edited the question to include the "SOLVED:" prefix on to the question, instead of posting his resolving comment as an answer (and ideally accepting it) as he was asked to do by another comment. This brings up another good idea - is there a "standard" we should use to rename the titles on these "resolved but unanswered" posts that could be used as a search exclusion? (Also added to the above list.)

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    I wonder if moderators can do the reverse and turn a comment into an answer. Otherwise it could possibly be closed as too localized if they can't get the OP to re-post that as an answer.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Dec 27, 2011 at 19:40
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    @animuson We can't.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Dec 27, 2011 at 19:55
  • 1
    The "Using EL functions" question has actually an accepted answer of the OP itself with the sole content "I cannot select a best answer so I will have to do this", however it got deleted instead of edited based on the comments.
    – user138231
    Dec 27, 2011 at 20:25
  • @Chichiray I cleaned that one up since the OP had left an answer to edit the comment into. Dec 27, 2011 at 21:55
  • How about this ? Question asked, a few comments posted to clarify, the OP then realizes he made a silly mistake, and admits it in a comment. However no answer, so the question hangs around as unanswered. We can't really claim credit for answering it (by reposting the "solution") because the solution was so vague, and the OP found it himself. Should it be flagged? Closed? Title amended to add "(solved)"? Jul 27, 2015 at 5:08

2 Answers 2


We discussed this on meta.serverfault a short while ago and decided that you should Steal comments that answer the question and post them as an answer. You can always tick the Community Wiki box if you're not comfortable earning reputation for someone else's work.

  • 58
    You answer a question by stealing my answer that was stolen from a comment. A N S W E P T I O N
    – Wesley
    Dec 28, 2011 at 19:35
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    As I posted under the question above, in this thread the OP realizes he made a mistake, so the question is unanswered, and the "answer" is pretty meaningless. What answer could you give in this case? "Make sure your software doesn't accidentally switch to bluetooth next time"? Such an answer just makes you look like an idiot. Jul 27, 2015 at 5:12
  • I would use a custom close reason, and / or ask the OP to just delete the question.
    – user147520
    Jul 27, 2015 at 5:20
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    This is my new hotlinked holy grail of references to people that bitch for posting answer-comments as actual answers. Oct 20, 2015 at 23:39
  • yes — this is an old answer, but i believe it deserves support: it seems to me that posting answers as comments is a way for some trepidatious users to test their answer free from the risks of downvotes or deletion. Now, I'm not going to judge them for doing so; I will say that if they aren't keen to later delete the comment and repost it as an answer, at the very least, then someone else should. Mar 13, 2017 at 3:47
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    Taking someone else's content and claiming it as your own? I can't think of a situation where this is the right thing to do. Regardless of what someone said on meta.serverfault or wherever. I really disagree with this answer. May 15, 2018 at 8:59

Answer-comments should be reposted as answers

— but this is no excuse for plagiarism. Give attribution.

I think everyone agrees that answers should be posted as answers, not comments. So by all means, let's repost other people's answer-comments as proper answers.

But: Copying someone else's content and claiming it as your own is something that has a name: plagiarism. It's plagiarism — regardless of where you found that content in the first place, be it in a comment, an answer, some other website, a book, a post-it note.

Plagiarism is bad, so let's not do it. In this respect, I fundamentally disagree with the currently accepted answer, which, in effect, advocates in favour of plagiarism in this particular case. Kind of an odd position; it's just not right, in my view.

Let's make sure not to claim credit for content generated by others:

  • Always give full attribution. "As stated in a comment by X (link to comment): ..."

  • As a graceful extra touch, consider making it a community wiki answer. That way there's no taking reputation credit for someone else's contribution. (Votes and acceptances on community wiki answers don't count toward anyone's reputation.)

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  • 6
    Great example to know when we should use community wiki checkbox. +1
    – Dwhitz
    Jun 21, 2018 at 14:54

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