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I'm lifting this straight from Photography.se as I think they have a very good policy on this.

I'm guilty of this too, but if it becomes policy then I shall also refrain.

Many times, short answers are posted simply as comments.
This has a detrimental effect.

The one instance* that has particularly raised my ire on the subject today is that after I had already posted an answer, someone decided to post a comment saying essentially exactly the same thing. If my answer wasn't sufficient, the comment should have been on my answer, or posted as a separate answer.
Then the community could decide which was the better one.

This reasoning from photo.se explains my thinking entirely...

When someone insists on continually answering question after question in the comments to the question it comes across to me this way:

I'm too important to be expected to submit an answer and have the community decide where in the pecking order of multiple answers it should fall. My answers should always be at the top of the page, regardless of how the other users in the community view said answers, and should be sheltered from review and correction by the rest of the community.

Can we vote on making comments as answers directly against policy & removable as 'unconstructive' if they are not working towards establishing an actual answer by requesting further detail/refinement etc ?

*no names, no pack drill. I am not going to single out any individual.

Re: Why do people post their answers as comments? I am not interested in 'why' but policy on 'whether it should be allowed at all'. Link-only answers, to which that post mainly refers, have their own policy already.

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    The thing is, often what we put in the comments aren't actually answers at all, simply educated guesses to potential solutions. For example something as simple as "try updating drivers" or "running X or Y tool" aren't in themselves complete answers, just ideas... – rahuldottech Oct 8 '17 at 10:23
  • Ah - it was there, but had got scrunched in with the quote, sorry. – Tetsujin Oct 8 '17 at 10:29
  • Why do you need a new policy for that? There is already an existing policy that says comments should be used only to seek clarification or add more information. When you click Add Comment, you are even reminded to avoid answering in comments, so just flag such comments and let the moderators get rid of them. Could you please clarify why the existing policy is insufficient to deal with your case? – Masked Man Oct 8 '17 at 18:07
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    @MaskedMan, the comments vs. answers debate has been raging almost since the site started. All of the guidance I've found has been a bit ambiguous. Can you point to policy or guidance that says comments should be used only to seek clarification or add more information? – fixer1234 Oct 9 '17 at 5:45
  • If it's any consolation, I read your question here, then a few days later I was commenting on a question and subsequenly decided to convert it to this answer. – I say Reinstate Monica Dec 1 '17 at 3:03
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Well, if the comment as an answer is posted after your answer, flag it appropriately. My personal opinion is - if something's speculative, I tend to post it as a comment with the view of posting it as an answer once I'm sure. Its not great, but If I'm wrong, It at least shows one path that didn't help.

That said, if a comment's converted to an answer, all's fair. If someone else posts an answer based off a comment, fleshed out, its awesome too.

If someone posts too many comments that should be answers, so far we've been sticking to a quiet word. I can think of one user I fairly often have to remind.

So, comment suggesting it should be an answer, flag, and we'll deal with it as seems fit. Its certainly discouraged as far as possible.

  • I've flagged the specific one for a mod to look at - at least that way I'm not pointing fingers in public, which was not my intention. – Tetsujin Oct 8 '17 at 10:33
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I was going to post this as a comment...but...

If someone's too lazy to post an answer as an answer, that's their business. Maybe they don't realize it's a good solution? Maybe they've had too many answers deleted in the VLQ queue because of novice reviewers that think a single-sentence answer is automatically bad? Who knows.

If you see an answer posted as a comment, do what they should have done and post it as an answer.

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