I'm trying to figure out what to do about questions that have been solved, yet have no answers. I don't mean just no upvoted/accepted answers, I mean none at all.

It usually happens because the OP figures it out himself, or someone in the comments gives a "hint" that gives it to them. The question stays open, because nobody bothers to write up an answer.

In some cases, the OP will edit the question with an ugly "SOLVED: " header in the title and write a paragraph that shows the solution, but still no "answer".

For instance, search for [your-favorite-tage-here] answers:0 "solved".

Now, I could:

  1. Vote to close some as too localized, because frankly, a lot of them are. The problem with that is that most of these questions are old and stale, and the close vote will just wither away.

  2. Flag for moderator attention to handle the above point. This feels icky to me, don;t ask me why. Seems they have enough on their hands, and I'm just trying to do some peripheral cleanup without adding to the mod workload.

  3. Answer the question, based on the solution(s) given. This implies also editing the "answer" out of the original question to make it look right. Seems "proper" at first glance, but this will also bump an old, basically useless question to the front page. Of course, it'll make myself look like a necromancing rep-whore at the same time, but whatever.

  4. Leave it alone. Does having these questions around really matter?

What is the right thing to do here?

  • 2
    #3 is the correct answer. Questions need answers, nothing wrong about bumping an old question with an answer. – yannis Mar 11 '13 at 1:26
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    Follow-up: If a question is too localized, should I answer it and vote to close? Since it's been bumped to the front page, the vote may not wither away. – Geobits Mar 11 '13 at 1:32
  • @Geobits: nah, just flag for moderation or post to the close cabal chat room. – nneonneo Mar 11 '13 at 1:35
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    Ironically, you answered this by editing the answer into the question, just as you agreed you're not supposed to! – David Robinson Mar 11 '13 at 1:46
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    You could always make your answer Community Wiki to not look like a "rep-whore". – cpast Mar 11 '13 at 1:50
  • @cpast Ah, I hadn't thought of that. – Geobits Mar 11 '13 at 1:52

Writing it up as an answer is fine; sometimes an answer which draws together the salient points of the discussion is helpful.

I used to worry about the lost rep to people who commented a solution but I found that generally it's because they don't feel like writing it as a full answer, so it's OK.

Don't worry, we won't think any less of you for plumping for the necromancing rep-whore option; it tidies up the site a little. If you feel guilty then go for community wiki, but if you added something good, take credit.

Feel free to close instead if that's the better cleanup solution.

SOLVED is indeed ugly and reminds me of forums where they do this to questions when they get bored of them.

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  • +1/accepted for answering, editing, and cw. The perfect solution :) – Geobits Mar 11 '13 at 3:22
  • Writing a proper answer for these questions is a good thing, but doesn't resolve the underlying problem that the OP is never going to mark an answer as accepted, and thus the question will remain in the "unanswered" pile for all eternity. – Spudley Jun 10 '13 at 9:02
  • @Spudley The unanswered list only includes answered questions if they aren't upvoted. They won't remain in the unanswered pile for eternity unless the answer you add is so poor no-one votes it up, ever. In this case, it's appropriate that we treat it as unanswered. You can clear it from the list by (a) upvoting an existing answer or (b) writing an answer that gets upvoted. – AndrewC Jun 10 '13 at 15:01

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