I notice that a lot of comments are really answers to questions - or at least could be considered answers to questions - should "one" submit a comment instead of a question when "one" is a little unsure of the answer? Is this a better use of comments than blurting out the answer?

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    I'd prefer if users erred on the side of commenting instead of posting one-liner or unsure answers. Or even better, I'd prefer if they just didn't do anything if they don't have anything useful to add
    – Ivo Flipse
    May 31, 2011 at 21:08
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    I do this constantly... but it's usually because I'm too busy to write out a detailed answer (and I use alot of screenshots). It's also because I want to make sure the person gets help if they need it (that's priority one). And if someone else, possibly me, has the time later to write a well worded detailed answer, more power to them... May 31, 2011 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


I believe the Stack Exchange team's official stance on this is, "comments are for clarification, answers are for answering" [citation needed]. I often see perfectly valid answers in comments, which should really be answers. It's OK to go back and make your answer better later, and if you want to encourage others to spice it up, it's OK to make it community wiki and add a comment encouraging others to help flesh it out.

Remember, Stack Exchange is all about providing answers to questions. The reason comments are a privilege reserved for those with at least some reputation is because it's seen as an auxiliary feature. Comments are great for clarifying, and in some cases are good for "have you tried..." comments which could become answers, but if you know the answer to the problem, post it as an answer. That's how it's supposed to work.

That being said, as Ivo mentions, if you don't actually know, it might be better to post a comment with a suggestion. There's a fine line though between "somewhat unsure" and "making it up as you go along". It's alright to give an answer even if you aren't 100% positive. It sort of comes down to a balance in quality - one-liner answers which don't add anything probably shouldn't be said as a comment or an answer, but a brief answer can still be very useful.

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    our official policy is answers posted as comments are eligible to be "stolen" and reposted as real answers, with attribution if desired. Jun 1, 2011 at 7:26
  • That's what I would have thought. Jun 1, 2011 at 9:54
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    What about trivial answers? Sometimes what answers a question is so trivial, it doesn't seem to rise to the level of an answer. I post it as a comment because it would be almost embarrassing to claim it as an answer.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 3, 2015 at 20:41

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