A rather new user self-answered their question. Yet not by adding and answer, instead the question was edited. See this example: Symfony 2 FOQElasticaBundle search on multiple Entities

My first feeling was to edit their answer out of the question into its own answer. Yet that would mean that I would post the answer and perhaps recieve up/downvotes on it. This made me think that this could be considered as copy-catting and rude.

Would it be rude?

Another approach would be to comment on the question to educate the user to post one's answers as answers.

How should we deal with this kind of answers?

  • 1
    I moved the "answer" to an actual answer, and marked it Community Wiki, so that I don't gain any reputation from it. – user102937 Oct 12 '12 at 15:58
  • Hrm, so we're not closing this as a dupe anymore? Well, in any case, I posted my answer here, but it's pretty similar to George Stocker's answer below. – Pops Oct 12 '12 at 16:12
  • @PopularDemand: The other question (and its answers) lean too heavily on marginal question quality, which is not the case here. – user102937 Oct 12 '12 at 16:19
  • I just re-read it, and I still think the question is primarily about answers in questions, with quality being a minor side note. That said, I don't have strong feelings about it, so okay, whatever. – Pops Oct 12 '12 at 16:28
  1. Sometimes as a moderator I'll actually post a comment to the OP asking them to post their solution as an answer.

  2. Other times I'll simply cut and paste their solution into an answer, mark it community-wiki, and state that it's from the OP.

It is low priority, compared to everything else that can be moderated; but when it's necessary, I'll do it.

I invite you to also try steps 1 and 2 yourself, without involving moderator action (if you have enough reputation to edit a question).

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    If you don't have enough rep to edit a question you can always propose the edit and earn some more rep :-) – voretaq7 Oct 12 '12 at 15:48

Generally on Server Fault we leave a comment encouraging the user to re-post their answer as an answer (especially if it's a GOOD answer).

If they don't then after a few days I would say it's acceptable to post a (Community Wiki) answer with their solution, more detail if you have it, etc. so the question can have an upvoted (if not accepted) answer and look more like we expect on Stack Exchange.

(Generally I agree with Robert Harvey - this is pretty low on the priority list - but I do prefer for the posts on the site to model our Question-and-Answer format for new people who come to the site from Google and may not understand that we're not a forum)


When you self-answer your own question in the answers, there's no guarantee that your answer will rise to the top, since checkmarks on self-accepted answers don't get priority. So there is a case to be made for summarizing the solution in the question, if the solution is just going to be buried in a sea of incorrect answers.

If I'm coming to Stack Overflow from Google, and I find something that helps me solve a problem, I don't particularly care if the information I need is at the top of the page or at the bottom, as long as I can easily find it in the post.

I'd be much more concerned about other users posting "I have the same problem" or asking a new question in the answers, because that just creates noise that makes it harder for me to find what I am looking for.

This doesn't happen very often, and when it does, I'm more inclined to thank the OP for his effort than I am to pedantically point out that he put it in the "wrong" place. Never discourage someone from being genuinely helpful.

Just something to think about.

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    But what if I wanted to vote on the answer, separately from the question? – Martijn Pieters Oct 12 '12 at 15:30
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    When I am coming from Google to solve a problem, often I get a pretty good understanding from the question title itself without reading the whole question. Then I scroll down to the answers. Having an answer in the question is counter-intuitive in the way a q&a site should work. – k0pernikus Oct 12 '12 at 15:33
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    @k0pernikus: In my experience, the titles often have little to do with the actual question being asked. – user102937 Oct 12 '12 at 15:41
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    @RobertHarvey What do you mean? Regex problem isn't descriptive enough for you? NAZI. – George Stocker Oct 12 '12 at 15:46
  • @GeorgeStocker That would of course be descriptive enough, if only we didn't have the highly descriptive "problem" disallowed from titles. :p – Bart Oct 12 '12 at 16:59

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