Sometimes I see questions that have a comment from the OP saying they have found a solution and there is no more need for help, often without explaining what it was (common reasons are mistyped path to file, wrong variable or method name and such). There is no answer posted by the OP, and rarely they are likely to return and post a proper one.

What should be done in such case?

Recent examples: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/14410191/xna-texture-wont-draw-to-screen and XNA Viewport Offset (Microsoft Shooter Tutorial)


Three of several choices are:

  1. Leave a comment asking the OP to make an answer out of the comment (suitable if it's a useful answer to others.)

  2. Vote to close if the answer is not likely to be useful to others.

  3. Write your own answer based on the information in the OP's comment (if it's likely to be useful to others). (A fine example)


If the OP doesn't add a solution (or the solution is trivial, e.g., a typo), I'd vote to close the question. If the OP adds a non-trivial solution to the question, I'd leave a comment asking him/her to add a (self-)answer instead. In the latter case, I'd also flag the question for moderator attention and add a custom text ("Questioner edited his/her own answer into the question"). (For SE sites with heavy moderator workload, a better approach might be to immediately add a CW-answer yourself.)

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    Flagging for mod attention seems like an extreme step. If the OP doesn't respond to your comment and there is an answer in the comments or editted into the question, just add the solution yourself (don't forget to mark the answer as CW since it isn't your answer) – psubsee2003 Jan 19 '13 at 12:23
  • @psubsee2003 Adding a CW-answer is a good idea, but flagging an "answer-as-part-of-question" IMO is simply the counterpart to the standard "non-answer" flag. – lockstep Jan 19 '13 at 12:29
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    @lockstep: The point is that you don't have to burden the moderators with more workload; instead, you can clear it up yourself. :-) – Martijn Pieters Jan 19 '13 at 12:31

If it turns out that there's actually nothing to answer — e.g. if the question asks "Why does this code not do X?" and it turns out that the code does do X, but the OP had a typo in a different part of their code — then I would vote to close the question as "too localized".

The description of that closing reason says (emphasis mine):

"This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, see the FAQ."

Failing to do something because you had a completely unrelated problem somewhere else is, IMO, definitely an "extraordinarily narrow situation" whose solution is "unlikely to help any future visitors". As I wrote in another answer to a similar question recently:

Nobody's ever going to search for, say, "How to parse XML in Perl?", find an answer that says "Just fix the typo in the file name," and think "Oh, wow, that was my problem too!"

If you don't have enough rep to vote to close, you can still flag the question; the "too localized" option is hidden behind "it doesn't belong here, or it is a duplicate" when flagging, but it's there. Besides ♦ mods, 10k+ users can also see questions flagged for those reasons in the flagged posts review tool, and can vote to actually close them.

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