2

Edit: Nevermind. This was a newbie question based on misunderstanding how the site works. Skip to the last edit at the bottom for clarification.

Much of the time, new OPs leave a question, get a hint in a comment or discover the answer on their own, and then never return. Those questions litter the unanswered questions pool. However, I have come across a number of questions where a new OP asked a good question, then discovered a good answer on their own and made the effort to close the loop by posting their solution. However, they lacked the rep to do it formally, so they had to leave it as a comment or embed the answer in the question, itself. These end up as bloat in the unanswered question pool unnecessarily. I think it would be good to encourage new posters to come back with an answer when they are able and willing to do so (it's win-win).

So my question is about the best way to get their answer into an answer. My understanding is that you don't gain any rep from accepting your own answer but you could benefit from any upvotes the answer receives. If that is correct, then a solution where someone else moves the information into an answer would not help the OP jump-start their rep.

I've seen some posts here about how easy it is to gain 15 points so it isn't a hurdle. That misses the point in this case. That encourages the situation where the question remains apparently unanswered until some future time when the OP will come back to it and clean it up, which might never happen.

If the OP has provided a good answer in the wrong place, it doesn't seem right for a scavenger to spend a few seconds moving it and then reap the rewards for the answer. It also shouldn't be a burden on someone in a moderator role to have to do all the cleanup work.

Is there a mechanism whereby a new OP can have their answer moved into an answer and get the credit for any upvotes? Can another user do that on their behalf? For those concerned about the 15 rep threshold, put any upvotes in the bank until the OP acquires 15 points by conventional means.

Edit: Right after writing this question, I saw that the example which triggered my question seemed to have a magical solution. Someone with 11 rep posted the answer to their own question. Is there an existing mechanism whereby a new OP can post an answer and it gets reviewed and approved for inclusion similar to edits made by someone with under 2K rep?

Edit: I asked this question when I was a relative newcomer on the site and apparently misunderstood the rep requirements. I would delete this question except Robotnik posted an answer with good advice. To set the record straight, users with any rep can post an answer. The 15 rep requirement is just to use the "answer your own question" button, which facilitates posting the question and answer concurrently. Nothing prevents a new questioner from posting an answer if they choose to, and the problem of questioners posting answers in the wrong place is a matter of educating them (and Robotnik's answer covers that).

  • Is this a real issue, or just a perceived one?  Can I answer my own question? says that users with 15 reputation can click the checkbox that says "Answer your own question" at the bottom of the Ask Question page, and then submit both question and answer together.  Alternatively, you may go back and add an answer to your own question at any time.  So it's my understanding that even a user with rep of 1 can answer his own question, just so long as he does it as a separate transaction.  (And there may be a delay involved; maybe a few hours.) – Scott Oct 8 '15 at 6:47
  • @Scott: I had forgotten about this question. Rereading it, it seems like you're right about it being just a perceived problem. I was a relative newcomer at the site when I asked this, and apparently misunderstood the rep requirements. I would just delete it, but Robotnik posted a good answer. – fixer1234 Oct 8 '15 at 15:44
  • Another piece of evidence: Setting up /29 public IP addresses on Windows was answered by its OP (joined 8 days ago, rep 3) a mere five hours after he asked it. – Scott Nov 14 '15 at 3:29
5

Here's what I do:

  1. Leave a comment on the question. The OP is notified automatically, and you can @name one additional commenter to notify. Usually I say something like this:

Hi <name>, good to see you found a solution to your problem! If you wish, you can add it as an answer yourself. This way it helps future visitors to your question. Plus, you might earn some more rep points!

Or if it is a commenter:

Hi @<name>, the OP has confirmed that your suggestion has worked for them. Would you care to add it as an answer?

  1. Add a Community Wiki answer. This way the question counts as answered (assuming one upvote), and you don't earn rep on it. Something like:

According to the OP/commenters this is what worked:

You have to blarg the snagglebeast BEFORE entering the temple. Otherwise it's too powerful.

  1. Add your own answer. If you think there is more info needed than what the OP or commenters have said, add it yourself and embellish on their findings:

According to the OP/commenters, you have to blarg the snagglebeast BEFORE entering the temple. Otherwise it's too powerful.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to wait until nightfall. the Snagglebeast can't see in the dark.

  • 1
    I do similar but the problem is that new OPs can't answer their own questions (requires 15 rep). – fixer1234 Oct 19 '14 at 23:55
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    15 rep isn't hard to get. Either the OP sticks around long enough to get 15 rep, or they're not coming back, in which case you move on to 2 or 3. – Robotnik Oct 19 '14 at 23:57
  • It isn't hard to get, but there are a lot of "unanswered" questions because the OP didn't get 15, or perhaps got 15 and it wasn't worth their time to go back and clean it up. My question was about avoiding that situation, keeping the question out of the unanswered questions pool where someone needs to find it after the fact and do your 2 or 3, and allowing the conscientious poster to get some credit. – fixer1234 Oct 20 '14 at 0:04
  • Nothing is stopping the OP coming back and writing the answer themselves once they've earned 15 rep. I've seen people leave a comment to the effect of "Hey, I've added this as a CW answer for you, if you post your own I'll remove it". The fact is most people with < 15 rep will either earn enough to post it themselves within a couple of days, or won't come back at all. The best we can do is upvote them for a quality question (something that isn't done enough I reckon - everyone is quick to downvote, but less so to reverse that vote or edit it into something worth upvoting) – Robotnik Oct 20 '14 at 2:46
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    @Robotnik I would like more info on the snagglebeast – Carl B Oct 23 '14 at 21:03
  • @CarlB - it enjoys games of scrabble, long walks along the beach and horror movies ;-) – Robotnik Oct 23 '14 at 21:44

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