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I recently mod-flagged a comment under a question:

You haven't mentioned which version of Windows you are running. Have you got Sticky Keys enabled?

Importantly, the OP commented immediately saying "thanks, it was the Sticky Keys". In the flag explanation field, I explained that the comment should be converted to an answer, because, while it is phrased as a question, it is offering a solution that can very easily be edited--in answer form--to more of an 'answer' or suggestion, like:

You haven't mentioned which version of Windows you are running, but check to make sure you don't have Sticky Keys enabled"

This sounds more like an answer and yet doesn't change the intent or content of the message.

The flag was declined. This seems like a clear case where the answer was given in a comment and that answer solved OP's problem, and I feel this action is warranted to award the answerer due credit and to prevent a useful question with a useful answer from being eventually Roomba'd.

Could the declining moderator please explain why they declined the flag?

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    It's always Sticky Keys! – Burgi Jul 25 '17 at 15:00
  • Also the OP self-answered and it turns out you can't convert fake internet points into cash so I'm fine with not getting the credit. – Burgi Jul 25 '17 at 15:02
  • @Burgi Well there go my plans getting rich slowly... – TylerH Jul 25 '17 at 15:03
  • If anything was actually an answer, it was the OP's comment definitively identifying it. Either person could have posted an answer once the problem was identified, and the OP did. If neither had, any user, including you, could have posted an answer just to close the loop on the question, citing the comments as evidence. This is something that can be handled easily by regular users, it didn't require moderator intervention. Moderators are exception handlers, they do things that require privileges you don't have. That's why a flag was declined. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Jul 25 '17 at 15:08
  • Similarly, once you have the rep to VTC, you should VTC yourself rather than flagging (same principle). – fixer1234 Jul 25 '17 at 15:12
  • Turning comments into answers is not the job of mods. This can be done by any user. – Der Hochstapler Jul 25 '17 at 15:20
  • @fixer1234 ironically that should be an answer... – Burgi Jul 25 '17 at 15:26
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    @Burgi, yeah, but Tyler wanted an official answer from a mod, so speaking of ironically, I couldn't steel myself to do it. – fixer1234 Jul 25 '17 at 15:36
  • @fixer1234 I agree with everything you've said, but there are a few obvious things that might need to be pointed out. First, the question was from 2015, and the OP didn't post an answer until this meta Q was posted. It's not likely they ever would have done so otherwise. Second, as I mentioned in my question, I didn't post the solution as an answer because I was hoping the moderator could use the system to convert an existing answer-as-comment to an answer-as-answer, which is a much more graceful method. Third, I'm well aware of the VTC system... notice I'm ~2700 rep away from that privilege. – TylerH Jul 25 '17 at 16:15
  • To you and to @OliverSalzburg No, any user cannot convert comments to answers. As it turns out, not even mods can. – TylerH Jul 25 '17 at 16:15
  • @TylerH, as Mokubai points out, mods can't convert a comment to an answer. Somebody needs to write an answer, and writing answers isn't a moderator function. You could have created the answer yourself. If you wanted to first encourage the OP to do it, or the commenter, you could leave a comment for them, and then create the answer if nothing came of it. Your intentions were good, just misguided by a misunderstanding of the system's capabilities. The site relies on community moderation by volunteers like yourself, so kudos for the effort and for trying to do the right thing. :-) – fixer1234 Jul 25 '17 at 16:46
  • BTW, you've got some serious rep on SO, so your low rep here is only because you haven't graced us much with your presence. – fixer1234 Jul 25 '17 at 16:48
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Your flag detail stated

This should really be converted to an answer as it solved the asker's problem.

There was a couple of reasons here.

The first is that Moderators cannot convert comments to answers. Frankly I don't see a reason for us to need that power either, we can't force people to post an answer and we shouldn't even if we could.

Secondly you, or indeed anyone, could have posted an answer stating "OP confirmed that Sticky keys was the problem" without needing moderator intervention.

Thirdly, the comment on its own was useful. Lacking any ability as per my first point, or activity per my second, there was no reason to delete it.

Fourthly, comment flags are an "all or nothing" affair. The comments either get deleted or the flags get dismissed. There's no way for us to give feedback saying why something did or did not happen like with "normal" flags.

There was nothing for a mod to do so nothing was done and your flag was declined as a result.

  • I was under the impression that the ability to convert between answers and comments went both ways. It's a surprise that you can't convert comments to answers. Thanks! – TylerH Jul 25 '17 at 16:16
  • We can convert non-answers to comments, or convert clarifications posted as answers to edits on a persons question, but we can't convert things to answers. We can basically say "this definitely is not an answer" but not "this definitely is an answer". It feels right that way though, moderation is largely janitorial and exceptions, not pushing "correct" answers around. It's more beneficial to be able to quickly clean up things that are obviously not answers than the few things that actually are. – Mokubai Jul 25 '17 at 16:39
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    9/10 of my comments that could be answers would make HORRIBLE answers so it's a good thing moderators can't convert a comment into an answer. If a submit a comment that is an "answer" it's because I don't have the linking details that would make it a good answer or I believe another literal (I.e. Duplicate) answer wouldn't help the community – Ramhound Jul 25 '17 at 17:51
  • @Ramhound I agree that this isn't a regular thing that should be done. It only made sense in this case because of the combination of 1) it was the only answer provided 2) it solved the OP's problem 3) the question was old and might have been roomba'd (deleted) if even one person had passed by and downvoted it. Obviously it is a moot subject though, as it's not even a feature moderators have! – TylerH Jul 25 '17 at 20:38
  • @TylerH As pointed out if you thought a comment answered a question, expand on the comment, then submit an answer yourself. Be sure to quote and cite the comment. – Ramhound Jul 26 '17 at 23:00
  • @Ramhound As pointed out I didn't want to do that because it superseded the answerer's position and would have appeared cheap. – TylerH Jul 27 '17 at 14:00
  • A user who submits a comment hasn't answered a question – Ramhound Jul 27 '17 at 22:55

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