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The first comment basically is the right answer. The question author goes on to comment to say if he does that it breaks a plugin he is using. The question author then goes on to say that he has switched to a different plugin and the question is now resolved. But because all this took place in the question comments there is no real answer given.

What do we do with such questions? Do we close it? Do we ask the question author to post his own answer? Do I or someone else create an answer based on the comments?

Personally I would vote for these questions to be closed. What are your thoughts?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In such cases I leave a comment asking to move solution to an answer. If that doesn't happen I close (usually as too localized, which such questions often are).

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I've asked myself exactly the same thing just this morning. IMHO, the question should only be closed for one of the listed closure reasons. I don't think question answerers failed to adhere to WPSE question-answering convention should be a valid closure reason. That said: questions still need to have valid answers as much as possible, and incorrectly "answered" questions have an adverse impact on WPSE.

One idea:

  1. Post a comment instructing commenter to post the comment-answer as a proper answer
  2. Wait some reasonable length of time (e.g. 2 days)
  3. If the commenter still hasn't posted the comment-answer as an answer, someone else do so, and instruct the OP to accept the answer if it is correct

If moderators had the ability to move comments to answers, then I would suggest doing so; but I don't think moderators have that ability.

I would also like to see moderators be able to accept answers for "abandoned" questions, but that gets a bit out of the scope of this question.

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Moving comment to answer - not possible so far. Accepting answers for others - not happening, that's what upvotes are for (system considers questions with upvoted answers answered). –  Rarst Jan 27 '12 at 18:51

This continues to be a problem, and one that is perpetuated by some of our WPSE community members with high rep. Posting answers as comments is detrimental to the site, as it prevents the OP from accepting a correct answer, and prevents the community from vetting the answer via up/down votes, comments, and edits.

Thus, I'm experimenting with a new tactic: for anyone with Rep of 3,000+ (i.e. anyone who should know better), I'm going to flag the comment, along with asking the commenter not to post answers as comments.

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Sometimes it is hard to say if a comment is an answer. Answers that don't answer a question prevent the work of the garbage collector. And we have already enough unanswered questions. So ask first to move. Flag later. –  toscho Apr 11 '12 at 16:48
    
I'm not going to call out names, but there are some users who absolutely should know where the line between "clarification question" and "answer" lies, and yet still persist in leaving answers as comments. These users should not have to be asked to follow site mechanics and conventions. –  Chip Bennett Apr 11 '12 at 16:52

I've found one of those cases and was about to do something, but decided to come to the Meta first.

And not sure if I'm being meta-meta, 'cause this very answer seems to be a question...

What if one answers the question and marks it as "community wiki"?
Would it be a valid solution for this problem?

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But community wikis are supposed to be used...fairly judiciously, no? It's probably better in the long run to correct the misplaced answer, and to continue to educate/encourage community members to use comments and answers correctly. –  Chip Bennett May 8 '12 at 16:15
    
I thought so, hence I didn't do that... and I was confused thinking that there could be CW Answers, but, now, after reading this (What are “Community Wiki” posts?) I have it all clear. Thanks for your input, I'll proceed as suggested. –  brasofilo May 8 '12 at 16:52

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