18

In this question

Make system sounds louder than device

A couple different people helped the OP discover the solution to his problem in comments.

In cases like this, is it best to just suggest to the commenters that they should submit their solution as an answer, or would it be okay to submit an answer myself?

I've noticed there are some users who prefer to leave viable solutions in comments, for whatever reason, but I don't want to step on toes.

  • 3
    If I have a good idea but am not confident about it, I'll just leave a comment. If someone says the same thing as an answer and it ends up getting accepted, I'm disappointed that I missed out on the reputation but it's my fault for being a wuss. – Joel Taylor Sep 19 '13 at 20:01
  • 4
    Related: meta.superuser.com/questions/6822/… – Der Hochstapler Sep 19 '13 at 20:46
  • 2
    I was on my phone at the time so I didn't have the abilities to write up a well constructed answer so I left a vague at best comment. This was at best maybe ~2 mins work if someone wants to put in the 5-10 mins to constructed a good answer I would support it and upvote it even if it was based of a solution I posted in a comment. So I'm backing techie007's answer on this – 50-3 Sep 20 '13 at 2:28
  • @50-3 Okay, I wasn't sure what the general attitude was towards this, if there was one. – Moses Sep 20 '13 at 2:29
  • 1
    Another thing I just wanted to add remember Sportsmanship if your answer is based on someones comment just preface it with "to expand on blah's comment" then give a detailed answer. If Blah has under <500 rep and just starting out maybe take some time to review their previous answers and up/down vote where applicable just so they get some feedback and recognition for the times they have put in the effort – 50-3 Sep 20 '13 at 2:44
  • 3
    Also, note that comments are ephemeral, so it's a VERY good idea to have answer content in actual answers for this reason alone. This is by design, in order to avoid requiring search engine visitors to sift comments to find the information to solve their problem. – Jonathan Garber Sep 23 '13 at 12:46
  • I tend to leave comments where I thing I know the answer, and want to prompt progress. I don't expect points for it. Good example superuser.com/questions/647618/… I posted my thoughts, and it resolved it. I took the request to make it an answer and got the 2 votes and a solution check. I say if you see an answer, as the poster to make an answer if the substance is there. – Austin T French Sep 23 '13 at 13:40
19

Answers should be quality. Things like references, proper formatting, etc. should be included to aim for quality (goes for Questions too IMO).

Sometimes I'm not inclined to leave a quality answer, so I just leave (what has turned out to be) an answer in the comments alone. I helped, the user likes it.

If someone else wants to come along and write a detailed answer with nice links, formatting and spell-check, etc., based on the comments (or just the same knowledge) then more power to them -- and I hope they go edit 50 more questions or answers to improve on them in the same ways.

Just don't be a jerky and pirate the answer from the comments 2 seconds after they show up. :)

On the flip side -- I don't think I've ever actually done it to someone else's comments (maybe?). When I see someone has left the answer in a comment I'll usually add a comment @ them, saying "you should make that into an answer".

In the end, I believe the goal of the Stack Exchange sites is quality Questions and Answers, not Comments. So an Answer is better than a Comment - regardless of the author.

  • 2
    I have found a great number of solutions to questions are really simple solutions. When I have the time to post an answer with a complete explaination I do. If I don't have the time to post a full answer, I make the solution known, anyone at that point is more then welcome to literally post the same content provided they take the time to make it a full complete answer. Telling somebody to run a command as an answer seems sort of silly and a little like a forum post, which Superuser isn't a forum, so I tend to stay away from those types of answers. – Ramhound Sep 20 '13 at 13:42
  • 5
    I think the most important detail of your answer is "Just don't be a jerky and pirate the answer from the comments 2 seconds after they show up." If you want write a good answer to an unanswered question that was solved in the comments, then make sure the commenter who provided the solution has time to post the answer for themselves. – Drew Chapin Sep 27 '13 at 1:10
8

Answers are answers , comments are more often searching around for what the answer might be. If you can formulate a good answer for anything, do it. If it stepped on anyones toes, you would know, because they could have answered it already. Including the Questioner this time.

There is even a goofy badge thing https://superuser.com/help/badges/19/enlightened for those who are quick on the draw but still correct in the answer.

On that one, if you finish it, I can rmove my comment at least, and clean it up a bit.

1

Just because someone else got selected to have the answer before you got a chance to review and response, doesn't mean their answer can't be improved on. If you have something to contribute, then contribute. Nothing rude about it at all. Anyone who considers that rude is more important about their vanity than solving a problem. Be part of the solution and post an answer. It doesn't matter if it's in the comments or not.

1

Aside from what techie007 pointed out, I would suggest that you try your best to make sure the person who answered in the comments has a chance to post an answer. In some cases a user will post a comment when they are unsure if they are correct. However the person who asked the question may have indicated the success, but the user who posted the answer has not yet seen the reply.

We can see time stamps, and we can see how long it has been since a user has been online. Thus if it appears that the answerer has had plenty of opportunity to notice the confirmation, then posting the answer your self will be fine - they do not seem inclined to do it themselves. However if it would appear that they would not know that they were correct yet, give it some time.

In cases where many users helped, the original poster may wish to post an answer - since they put it all together. So again check that they have had ample opportunity to do so.

Aside from all that, you are probably fine.

Remember that one goal of SE sites is to be a resource for other. The original asker may be gone, having gotten what they needed, but others may come along and need the same info. A well written answer is going to be a better resource for them than a bunch of comments. So when in doubt, post a good answer - it's for the good of the community.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .