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While going through old unanswered posts, I noticed that quite a number of them are in fact answered by the comments to the question, usually because the question is based on a simple misunderstanding or has another very simple answer. In these cases, it is inappropriate to show them under ''unanswered questions'' (or to bump them with priority under the new random bumping scheme).

One cannot always simply change one comment into an answer since it may be the combination of comments that answers the question. Also, upvoting these answers would be too cheap a way to earn reputation. (I deliberately choose to answer in a comment when I think my answer is essentially trivial.)

Is it easy to create some way to generate (upon request) a dummy answer ''answered through comments'' that doesn't generate reputation but ensures that the activity lists and the users realize that the question is actually answered?

This wouldn't prevent others to write additional answers if they think the question hasn't been satisfactorily treated.

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To create a dummy answer ''answered through comments'' that doesn't generate reputation, that requires a given user-level or reputation to be written, that appears in a special log and that marks a question as answered would mean to develop a new post type, as submissions and reviews have been. I would need two or three months to develop such a feature. Therefore I propose a simpler solution:

• The dummy answer posts get created (as normal answer post type) by a new plugin, which can only be accessed by users with a given level or reputation.
• The plugin posts these answers using a robot user (with a name to be defined) that can't get reputation.
• The dummy answer appears in the recent activity list, as all new answers do, so that incorrectly marked questions could be called out.
• The creation gets recorded in the eventlog and appears, together with the name of the user that operated the plugin, in the revision history of the answer.

The question would then automatically get treated as answered by the system. However, using this simple solution, it would not be possible to create a list of such converted questions.

answered Jan 3, 2016 by (0 points)

I think this solution would be good enough, and a list of the converted questions would not be necessary in this case.

The list of converted questions would be in the list of answers under the user page of the bot user, wouldn't it? I agree this is good enough.

Yes, this is fine.

+ 2 like - 0 dislike

There should be a transparent log of such converts, or a publicly available list of questions that are marked answered in this way, so that incorrectly marked questions can quickly be called out. Perhaps all users with rep >= 500 should be allowed to mark a question as answered this way.

I was going to say that converting the comment to an answer is the best solution, but the problem is that this requires user permission, and doesn't work for answers formed in comment discussions (as opposed to a single comment answer).

answered Jan 3, 2016 by (1,955 points)

If the answer is in a single comment or otherwise easily converted into an actual answer, I still think doing the conversion (and assign the answer to the poster of the comments) is the best way if it is possible.

Just empty dummy answers are not that useful as such ...

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