Once in a while, when one is venturing out of one's area of expertise, one may post a question and find it answered quickly and completely in the comments section. Perhaps someone has linked to a well-known open problem that the question is equivalent to, or it is a short but crucial hint that one did not think of, or maybe even a counterexample showing how the assumptions are false. The point is that the question was not necessarily a poor one, but it has been resolved completely and ought to be marked as answered. Sadly, there is no way to do so. And the StackExchange software will consider it an unanswered question and will keep bumping it up to the front page periodically.

What should be done in such a case?

As far as I can tell, the best the asker can do is to request the comment author to post their comment as an answer, so it can be accepted. However, if the request is not heeded, the question remains "unanswered". What is the best thing to do then? Leave it alone? Post the comment as your own answer and accept it? Delete the question?

What if it's someone else's question? –  Douglas S. Stones Nov 20 '10 at 2:44

2 Answers 2

up vote 45 down vote accepted

If the asker won't post the answer as an answer, post the comment as a community wiki answer and accept it.

Perhaps I ought do this for all the comments BCnrd has left on my MO questions. –  Akhil Mathew Nov 14 '10 at 20:11
@akhil it is also possible, though somewhat invasive, for a SE developer (not a SE mod) to assign ownership of a particular answer to a particular user. Sometimes I do this for posts that went to the wrong question, or other obvious mistakes. It's debatable whether leaving a comment that is a full and complete answer to the question is a mistake or intentional, however. Regardless, I'd definitely urge everyone to reply in comments urging the commenter to re-post as a proper answer. –  Jeff Atwood May 23 '12 at 5:18

I actually have a couple of questions like this. I tend to go about reasoning in my own confused way, though, so what I do, if no one wants to post an answer, is process the answers through my own brain and try to write a solution that makes sense to me, while remaining correct.

Then everybody benefits, because my solution will probably be simpler than an expert's, or at least will have more steps written out explicitly. I also get to solve the problem again, which I am remembering how to like after years of formal education!


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