I just came across this question. As soon as OP found the solution, they edited their question and added the answer instead of posting properly posting a new answer. Another user removed the answer from the question and posted it themselves. They gave credit to OP, but didn't change anything else about the answer.

Is this an OK thing to do? I am conflicted. On the one hand I feel like it would have been better to leave OP a comment and giving them the chance to post it themselves, but on the other hand the answer really doesn't belong in the question body and we often can't rely on them coming back to follow up on our requst.

In this post, the community came to the conclusion that posting someone's comment as an answer is acceptable and this situation seems quite similar.

A few clarifications by the user who posted the answer:

  1. I posted the answer only after a comment was made asking the OP to do so, which he did not.
  2. I commented multiple times that I will delete the answer at the OPs request. Why? because I have no idea if he'll ever look again at his post. So I'm trying to do this for the community.
  3. I have done the exact same thing in the past and have even received positive recognition for doing so from the older, high rep SO users.

--- related: Should I mark my answer as community wiki when I am posting in someone's name who does not have an account?


3 Answers 3


In general there's nothing wrong with this.

The important thing here is that questions get answers and if the OP figures it out themselves, that's great! Teaching them how to use the site is also really important. Sometimes it's easier to see the correct way to do things if someone shows you how it should look - takes the lead, if you will. It's worth noting that several hours before the answer was written, someone had encouraged the OP to write the answer as an answer, not an edit to the question.

On top of that, the person who posted the answer cited the source of their answer and (after you commented on their answer) they added a comment on the question that they'd be happy to remove their answer if the OP wanted to write their own.

This is a fair response. If you comment first and cross your fingers that the OP will follow through, the question may never get answered... at least this way, there is an answer that others can vote on.

It's worth noting that the OP themselves doesn't seem to feel that the technical solution is sufficient as they're hoping to understand why it behaves this way, as such, the answer as posted is likely incomplete without further information. If you missed it, this is the edit note when they added the working code:

Posted working code, still looking for answers about what JVM does and why this can't be done at the constructor or static method level.

I admit that I'm not versed enough in programming to know if this is a fair judgement but, it's possible that the question could have been edited to read something like

Adding this "fixes" my problem but I'm still trying to understand what JVM does and why this can't be done at the constructor or static method level.
[insert code block]

Whether or not that would have been acceptable is probably more of a question for Stack Overflow specifically (on their meta) than on the main network meta as it may risk invalidating the existing (though wrong) answer.

It's worth keeping in mind that, sometimes the solution to the problem isn't really the answer to the question.


I think that it is OK to cut an answer from within a question and to paste it as an answer as long as you acknowledge where the content in your answer came from.

I would generally make a comment on the question suggesting that its asker does the cut/paste rather than me, and to wait a few days before following up.

However, I am also comfortable with anyone who prefers to fix the Q&A at first visit.

The most important thing is that we end up with a clear question in the area reserved for questions, and a clear answer in the area reserved for answers.

Since the person performing the cut/paste into the answer ends up being either the original asker (who created the answer content) or the person who took the time to promote our Q&A format by fixing it, I think it fitting for either to be rewarded for their effort rather than it being made into Community Wiki where nobody gets to build their reputation and privileges.

On the rare occasion that I have noticed the asker also do a later cut/paste then I delete my answer, irrespective of how much reputation it may have gained me, and take as my reward that one more user now better understands our Q&A format.


I'd leave a comment on the post, asking that they remove their solution from the question and post it as a self-answer. I'd use a comment like below:

I noticed you found the solution to your problem, and have edited it into your question. However, doing so makes your question harder to follow for other users. Please remove your answer from the question and post it as an answer. This will make your question easier to follow for other readers.

In most cases, when I left such a comment, the author responded and did exactly what I told them to do. However, if they don't respond, I think you should edit the answer out and post it as a community wiki answer. This way, you won't get complaints from other users for claiming rep for a solution that isn't your own, but will still be able to put the solution into an answer, where it belongs.

  • 2
    I like the idea with the community wiki a lot, I would not have thought of that. But waiting for them to do it themselves in X hours/days would require me to keep track of posts I meant to edit. Doesn't sound very practical tbh
    – Neuron
    Apr 28, 2018 at 2:08
  • Why is this being downvoted? Apr 28, 2018 at 18:10
  • 2
    I didn't downvote it, but I assume it was downvoted by people who agree with PolyGeo who said the community wiki was not a good idea
    – Neuron
    Apr 29, 2018 at 8:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .