Assume a post on MSE is answered by someone in comment section and alternative approaches to solve the problem are not provided . There are two senarios:


Nobody will convert that comment to an answer and the post will be remained on unanswered list.


Someone else, by chance or on purpose write the similar answer as suggested by someone else in the comment. In this case the commenter doesn't get credit.

In order to solve the issue I think it would be a good idea to convert such comment to an answer on behalf of the original poster and the upvotes reward to that person's account. For this purpose I think it would be useful if users could report such comments to admins and after the approval convert it to an answer (for example under a name of the site bot).

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    $\begingroup$ Virtue is its own reward. If A converts a comment by B into an answer, then as long as A acknowledges B's contribution I think we're OK. $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2023 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ The "under a name of the site bot" might correspond to the "Community wiki" check box just below the answer edit box. Although I'll confess that I don't fully understand the rules for using it, and I've seen some people be rather strident that it's not supposed to be used merely to avoid snatching underserved rep points. $\endgroup$
    – JonathanZ
    Nov 26, 2023 at 23:48
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah in such circumstances, if I can't make any meaningful contribution of note to an answered-in-the-comments question, I just write up an answer appealing to that solution and noting who wrote it, and then just mark it as Community Wiki. At minimum it prevents me from earning unearned points, and gets the question out of the unanswered queues. $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2023 at 5:59
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    $\begingroup$ Meta Stack Exchange: Mark a comment as the answer to a question - it was marked as (status-declined). You can have a look other questions linked there.) $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2023 at 8:41
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    $\begingroup$ In this case the commenter doesn't get credit. To play devil's advocate, the creation of that situation is entirely the commenter's fault, so I'm not sure any sympathy is due. Anyone who authors such a comment should probably expect this to happen. $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    Nov 27, 2023 at 12:47
  • $\begingroup$ @rschwieb,If its entirely commenter's fault, How is the answerer a "devil" $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2023 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ Playing the Devil's advocate is an idiom that has nothing to do with one side being characterized as a devil. Although, one could say there was a suggested prejudice here that the answerer was doing something wrong in writing the answer. I was kind of pushing back against that. $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    Nov 27, 2023 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


There is nothing wrong with the second scenario.

If you write a comment which contains an answer, then you forfeit any claim to getting credit or points for that answer. If you wanted credit, you should have written an answer in the first place. Therefore, if an comment contains an answer, it is fair game for anyone to turn that comment into an answer.

The person making the answer does not need to make their answer a community wiki, because they are doing valuable work for the site, and are entitled to any points their answer would receive as a reward for that work. This applies even if they are copying the comment word for word (though, you should only do this if the original comment was really a completely well-explained answer on its own). I argue that this does not count as plagiarism. Think of comments on MSE as graffiti on a bathroom wall; comments are temporary, and the person creating it has no claim of ownership on their work.

My answer is essentially stating the same thing as rschwieb's comment. However, rschwieb cannot complain about me stealing their idea, because they could have made their comment an answer if they wanted to. ;^)

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    $\begingroup$ I agree that making such an Answer need not be marked as Community Wiki. However good scholarship means giving credit where credit is due. If a Comment contains the germ of the solution, mentioning this fact is commonly done on Math.SE. Ordinarily some expansion on the idea will be required, as you also note, and so I will welcome the opportunity to reward the answers that build on some comment of mine. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Nov 28, 2023 at 21:56

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