There is a number of 'unanswered' questions which are not going to generate any further discussion because they have been answered succinctly in the comments. This is irritating when browsing the list of 'unanswered' questions. What can we do about this?

Would it be possible to implement some feature that lets moderators/users mark a question as 'answered', even if there have been no formal answers (so long as the question has been satisfactorily answered in the comments)? (Or transform a satisfactory comment into an answer, etc.)

  • $\begingroup$ meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/1148/… $\endgroup$ Dec 16, 2013 at 6:35
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak That question is somewhat different: it asks what to do if your question was answered in comments. $\endgroup$ Dec 16, 2013 at 6:53
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    $\begingroup$ Just answer the question? Reputation doesn't mean anything, but if it bothers you to gain rep from other users' answers, make it CW. Or, ideally, expand the comment into a fuller answer. Either way $\endgroup$
    – davidlowryduda Mod
    Dec 16, 2013 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ @mixedmath In retrospect, this wasn't clear from my question, but I meant to refer to questions with no accepted answers. $\endgroup$
    – Newb
    Dec 16, 2013 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ Ah yes. In fact, so had I. $\endgroup$
    – davidlowryduda Mod
    Dec 16, 2013 at 23:47

3 Answers 3


The procedure used by the Crusade of answers, which specializes in trying to reduce the unanswered questions queue, is a synthesis of the aforementioned strategies:

  1. Consider if there is a legitimate reason to vote to move/delete/close the question.
  2. If not, ask the commenter using the @ feature to convert his/her comment to an answer.
  3. If there's no response from the author after a day or two, write a CW answer attributed appropriately.
  4. Even though the question has an answer, it will remain in the unanswered queue as long as its solutions have $0$ (or fewer) total votes each. So, one can then visit the Crusade of answers and drop a message requesting readers to evaluate a CW conversion. If it's OK it'll get a vote or more and be resolved!

Often I leave a note at the comments: " @who_already_answered : Would you consider posting your comments as an answer?"

Usually this works well. I guess people sometimes feel uncomfortable with posting answers that they feel is too trivial.

I think it is a matter of building a culture/habit. If people keep asking posters to place answers in the answers, this problem will diminish.

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    $\begingroup$ Another option is posting the answer yourself, possibly as a community wiki. $\endgroup$ Dec 16, 2013 at 2:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "I guess people sometimes feel uncomfortable with posting answers that they feel is too trivial." Speaking as someone who has posted answers as comments, it's mostly this or when I'm 99% sure the question should be closed instead. That being said, I would turn my comment into an answer in the former case if people ask. $\endgroup$ Dec 18, 2013 at 18:58

This was discussed before: see Close/flag questions as answered and the posts linked there... and the posts linked there... Concerning the feature request about marking a question as 'answered': it will not happen. SE considers comments to be transient "napkin notes", not something on par with answers. If a question deserves an answer, there should be an answer posted as such. If it does not deserve one, it should be closed and deleted.

Do no hesitate to rework another user's comment into an answer (with attribution): this is in the spirit of the Creative Commons license under which all content is posted here.


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