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This meta-question is similar to one already asked. But the older meta-question mentions the case of an answer only found in comments. I'm asking in the case of an answer actually posted, and when the OP clearly states in a comment that this answer is correct.

But just as almost happened to me recently, the OP forgets to check the correct place (or does not know how). And disappears.

Wouldn't it be a good idea to consider the answer as accepted ?

I am referring, in particular, to this question :

Children's sci-fi collection - Alien orthodontist

Which has been considered as a duplicate since yesterday, because I did accept the answer to my own question about one book of the same series. But the OP commented years ago that the answer (namely, the Dr Dillingham's series by Piers Anthony) was correct.

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  • Please let me know if my edit crossed a line, and either roll it back, or edit to improve.
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    Nov 24 '21 at 18:15
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    Dupe of When should comments be used to determine a dupe story-id?. It's been our stated policy for almost half a decade and our unstated policy for most of the life of the site. I'm not seeing any good reason to revisit it
    – Valorum
    Nov 24 '21 at 18:32
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    In fact, the only minor issue was when somebody foolishly used a bot to find all the comments with "+1" in them (regardless of any other content) and autoflagged them for disposal, leading to some comment confirmations being deleted.
    – Valorum
    Nov 24 '21 at 18:34
  • @AncientSwordRage I interpreted the post as asking (not your edited title but) whether the duplication should have gone the other way, given that the currently closed post is older and the Q&A aren't bad. The OP seems to be calling for more recognition of the older comment-accept as legitimate, not less.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 24 '21 at 18:50
  • cc @Valorum on above comment
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 24 '21 at 18:50
  • @Randal'Thor - Reading the original (pre-edit) post, it sounds like OP is more interested in learning why a specific action happened rather than wanting to re-explore the policy, in which case it's probably a dupe of Should we always close the newer question as the duplicate?
    – Valorum
    Nov 24 '21 at 18:55
  • @AncientSwordRage The point of duplicate was really minor in my original post. My essential point was whether the fact that the OP has plainly stated in a comment to one answer to his question that the answer is correct, but forgot, or failed to (because he did not understand that he had to )click on the "check" sign should not be considered as if he did click on it, to give the answerer the points he deserves (maybe not points to the "answeree") and close the question. The order of duplication would ensue naturally.
    – Alfred
    Nov 24 '21 at 21:35
  • @Rand al'Thor Yes, this is exactly what I meant
    – Alfred
    Nov 24 '21 at 21:38
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It's a bit unclear what you're trying to ask, but I think your query here is resolved by a combination of previous meta discussions and their conclusions:

  1. Is it desirable to have the community award "acceptance" to answers on abandoned questions? and Petition for acceptance of answer to question by vanished querent and Is there a policy about what to do if there's a user who refuses to accept answers?

    Result: community/moderators cannot "enforce" acceptance of an answer. That choice is only up to the original querent, by design, and if the OP doesn't accept an answer (even if they "should" and don't know how) then it won't be accepted. (Since today, though, accepted answers aren't pinned to the top in answer order, so acceptance sort of became worth a bit less.)

  2. Closing Story-Ident questions as duplicates (where there's no acceptance) and When should comments be used to determine a dupe story-id?

    Result: two story-ID questions are considered as duplicates when both answers are "accepted", either by green tick or by comment. When it comes to story-ID specifically (not in other tags), duplication is determined by OP confirmation of the correct answer. This confirmation could come either formally with a green checkmark or informally in comments.

  3. Should we prefer questions with accepted answers when closing identification requests as duplicate? and Should the presence of a formally-accepted answer count as one factor among many when determining "quality" for purposes of duplicate closure?

    Result: comment acceptances are equally valuable as green tick acceptances, for determining duplicate direction. We don't consider the question with a "formal" green-tick acceptance to be automatically a better duplicate target than the question with a comment confirmation of the correct answer. That seems to support your argument (if I'm understanding your point correctly) that you think the duplication went the wrong way and your question should have been closed as a duplicate of the older one.

  4. Should we always close the newer question as the duplicate?

    Result: age doesn't matter for duplication direction. You said in a comment that "The order of duplication would ensue naturally", and I'm not sure what you meant by this, but I guess you might be assuming that the newer question should naturally be a duplicate of the older one. It's not like that. As you can also see in the two meta discussions linked in point 3 above, duplication is determined by Q&A quality.

Coming back to your specific case, and applying the above general policies: both the newer and older questions have "accepted" (formally or informally) answers, so they're ready to be linked as duplicates. The newer question (yours) is longer and more detailed, and so is its answer, so that one becomes the duplicate target and the other one gets closed.

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  • My meta-question is about questions abandoned only after the OP had commented that the answer is correct, but has not ticked. And there is a lot of ambiguity in the remainder of your answer. For instance, in point 2, you write : " answers are "accepted", either by green tick or by comment." while in point one you mention refusal to accept, which is a different situation. If one just considers that a comment by the OP that the answer is correct is just as good as a green tick, than my meta-question is answered. The question should be closed and later questions would be dupes.
    – Alfred
    Nov 24 '21 at 23:01
  • My point was that in the case of Children's sci-fi collection - Alien orthodontist even though the OP had clearly stated in a comment that the answer was correct, before disappearing without ticking the "green tick" that was not enough to close the question. So this is in disagreement with what you write in point 2.
    – Alfred
    Nov 24 '21 at 23:04
  • @Alfred If this doesn't answer your meta question, then I really don't understand what you're asking. What do you mean by "that was not enough to close the question"? The question is closed, so evidently it was enough to close the question.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 24 '21 at 23:06
  • It should have been closed years ago, not yesterday. Or did I miss something ? Was it already closed day before yesterday ? I had the feeling it was only closed after I accepted the answer to my question. Maybe I was mistaken... Then I am sorry I raised the meat-question indeed.
    – Alfred
    Nov 24 '21 at 23:08
  • @Alfred Closed as what? A question can't be closed as a duplicate unless there is a duplicate target (in this case, your question, which was posted only recently).
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 24 '21 at 23:09
  • Isn't a question closed when it gets a green tick ? I mean, it is answered. There is a green rectangle about the number of answers. Did the old question show a green color ?
    – Alfred
    Nov 24 '21 at 23:13
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    @Alfred No, being closed means a question is either a duplicate or somehow a "bad" question (off-topic, unanswerable, not a question, etc.), and it blocks the question from new answers. Getting a green tick just means that an answer is accepted by the OP, but more answers can still be posted.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 24 '21 at 23:14
  • OK, so that was a misunderstanding. And someone decided that my question was the better one and that the other should be considered as the duplicate. Thanks for that !
    – Alfred
    Nov 24 '21 at 23:16
  • @Alfred Yes, exactly.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 24 '21 at 23:16
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    But I am a rather nitpicking person. I don't think my question and the other one are duplicate at all. The other question was about a series. The answer was either the set of all short fiction about Dr. Dillingham, or the fix-up novel Prostho Plus containing all of them. My question was about just a specific short story, namely Monarch. I did mention I had the feeling it belonged to a series, but mentioning just the series, without mentioning Monarch, would not have been the answer I was waiting for.
    – Alfred
    Nov 24 '21 at 23:20
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    @Alfred Yet again, there's a previous meta for that issue too: What constitutes the same answer for story-identification questions? (albeit without a very strong consensus for any answer)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 24 '21 at 23:38
  • A problem with comment-acceptances is that they can be ambiguous. In this case, it's not clear to me that my answer to that old story-ID question should be considered "accepted" so that the question can be closed as a duplicate. The OP was not after a Dr. Dillingham story per se, but a certain collection of sci-fi stories for kids, one of which was a Dr. Dillingham story. It's not at all clear that either of the books I mentioned is the one the OP was looking for, or was accepted as such by the OP.
    – user14111
    Nov 25 '21 at 10:39
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The old question (which I answered) should NOT have been closed as a duplicate. The OP was not looking for Piers Anthony's Dr. Dillingham series; he was looking for a certain collection of sci-fi stories, ONE of which was about a space dentist, and we agreed that that was a Dr. Dillingham story. I suggested the anthology Young Extraterrestrials but the OP never commented on that.

The old question should not have been closed because (a) it has no accepted answer and (b) the anthology Young Extraterrestrials is not "Monarch", does not even contain the story "monarch", it has a different Dr. Dillingham story.

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  • I personally agree with user14111's point (b), namely that the questions were really different. So the question he answered should indeed not have been considered as a duplicate IMHO. However, about point (a) I still believe that a clear comment accepting the answer is just as good as clicking on the check mark. People who are not familiar to this forum, or absent-minded ones, like me, who forget where this check mark is, should maybe be "punished" by not getting their points for accepting, but that should not deprive a "comment-accepted" answer to give points to the person who answered.
    – Alfred
    Nov 25 '21 at 23:26
  • @Alfred (Un)fortunately, there's no way of giving someone rep to someone through comments. You're not being punished for it and at the end of the day 15 rep really isn't that much. I just wouldn't worry about it too much.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Nov 26 '21 at 8:56
  • @TheLetahlCarrot Well, if one cannot give rep through comments, then both arguments of user14111 are valid: not only the answer to the question he answered is not quite the same as the one to my question, but also, if the OP's comment is not enough to give him the 15 rep, then certainly it should not be enough to close the question as a duplicate, since there is a doubt whether the answer was really accepted !
    – Alfred
    Nov 27 '21 at 17:51

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