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A recent meta discussion about closing questions that were answered in the comments and then turned 'zombie' led to the suggestion that people could answer as a community wiki (properly citing the comments of course).

This could lead to answers that will probably never be accepted, in the case that the OP left Stack Exchange.

Can mods 'accept' answers for users, but more importantly, should they?

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    Briefly: 1) No. 2) No. – Mari-Lou A Jul 2 '17 at 19:00
  • @Mari-LouA thanks :) I'm asking for NVZ to answer.. (see the comments on his answer to the original question) – marcellothearcane Jul 2 '17 at 19:01
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    I know because I once asked a mod if he could override, unaccept a bad, terrbly sexist and offensive answer that was accepted by the OP. The answer was clearly wrong, and offensive, and yet it remained at the top. Nothing can be done (I think) unless the OP returns and changes their mind. – Mari-Lou A Jul 2 '17 at 19:03
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    @marcellothearcane LOL. Anyone can answer any question. I may be too tired to write anything today. – NVZ Jul 2 '17 at 19:04
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    @Mari-LouA If it was that bad, couldn't the answer be deleted? or doesn't that work for accepted ones? – marcellothearcane Jul 2 '17 at 19:05
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    I just went to check, the offensive, and terribly sexist answer, unbelievably so–you have no idea, was awarded a bounty. That answer did, eventually, get deleted, and -10 in downvotes, so maybe I'm misremembering events. But i do remember it was visible for months, it just made my blood boil whenever I revisited it. And I think, I'm not sure, that the OP accepted a different answer. Yes, maybe because his question, which was not sexist, was attracting a number of DVs too. – Mari-Lou A Jul 2 '17 at 19:09
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    @marcellothearcane Mods (cannot or) simply do not delete an accepted answer (no matter how stupid that answer is) – NVZ Jul 2 '17 at 19:10
  • @Mari-LouA Fun day, that was. Ha! – NVZ Jul 2 '17 at 19:17
  • The nostalgia's lost on me! @NVZ, I notice your comment on it: 'If I were you, I'd take the hint and delete my incorrect answer (which now you can't unless OP unaccepts it).' which possibly sheds some light on mods (not) deleting accepted answers... – marcellothearcane Jul 2 '17 at 19:26
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    @marcellothearcane Found this: meta.serverfault.com/a/5250/347004 It's confirmed. (I knew it, but now with proof) And this: meta.stackexchange.com/a/60214/309993 – NVZ Jul 2 '17 at 19:27
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The question of whether moderators should mark an answer as accepted is moot, because they don't have that capability.

But actually, no, they shouldn't do that anyway. The acceptance is a mark that the answer helped the asker. If no answers succeeded sufficiently well, then it's not up to moderators to decide that they did.

It is true that old questions can be bumped to the front page if no answer has been accepted and no answer has been upvoted. I have often thought that it would be good to stop that happening, and a mod "don't bump" checkbox would be nice. But another way is to upvote an answer. If no answer is worth upvoting then I suppose it's arguable that a better answer should be provided, and the bump is a means of getting one.

However, it's certainly not up to moderators to decide that an answer should be accepted, and even less so if the only available answers aren't all that good.

  • Do downvotes count in stopping bumps to the homepage? – marcellothearcane Jul 2 '17 at 19:41
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    I don't think so, and why should they? They only go further to say that a good answer is required. – Andrew Leach Jul 2 '17 at 19:45
  • what about on the original question though? surely that would indicate 'this question is low quality, but not bad enough to be deleted'. – marcellothearcane Jul 2 '17 at 19:47
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    @marcellothearcane Yes, Community doesn't bump questions that are negatively scored. See this FAQ. – Laurel Jul 2 '17 at 23:33

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