I answered a question and my answer was (pick one)
- converted to a comment
- added to my question as an edit
Why was this? Why was my answer not acceptable?
What is the definition of an acceptable answer on StackOverflow?
The following is a slight modification of my post on meta.gardening. Consider a hypothetical question:
When should I post a comment and when should I post an answer?
If your response is: then it should be: Corrective action Flag as NaA 1 Can you post your comment on the If you wrote an Yes code? question answer, delete it and leave a comment instead. If you don't have 50 rep, please wait until you do. 2 Have you fooed the baz? " " Yes 3 What version of X are " " Yes you using? 4 I've had the same " " Yes problem since version X.1 5 You missed a comma, " Flag question as No which is causing "Too Localized, the error Fix my Typo." 6 This was discussed in " Vote to close as Yes this question and answer duplicate. [internal link]
7 The accepted answer comment on the Write a better answer No is incorrect or no answer of your own or notify longer accurate. the answerer.
8 You cannot do that an answer Link to documentation No in X because it if possible. doesn't support Y. 9 This is what you're " " No doing incorrectly. [Explain]. Here's how it should be done [code] 10 Try this: [code] " Improve the answer. No Explain why you think that's the solution. If it's a code only answer, use comments to explain. 11 This is the problem: " If it's an external No [Explain]. In a link, it helps to related answer/blog document the key points post, I/they discuss here so that the crux blah [link] which might of the post is available be of interest even if the link goes down. Do it yourself or leave a comment for the OP.
12 See here: be heavily The answer must be Depends [external link] improved improved as described above, else it will be deleted. Downvote if link is tangential to the question. Write a new answer with details and then flag as Not an Answer. Also flag if the link is broken.
13 I've tried these a new question If you have +75 rep, Yes solutions and it consider placing a bounty doesn't work on to seek a better answer. [operating system]. If not (or if it's How should I modify the different enough), solution to make it work? ask a new question.
14 Thanks man, deleted Glad it worked, but Yes this worked!!1! seriously, just upvote it if you have the reputation.
15 Sir, I am having a deleted with Do not encourage these Yes similar project extreme users to ask new questions - this is due prejudice they're most likely tomorrow. Can you going to be closed. please send me the code for your project at [email]
Why should they be that way?
The first three responses are clearly asking for more information and don't answer the question. Fourth is merely a "me too" statement – adds nothing of value. If the only problem with the code is OP's clumsiness or if it's a dupe, they should be closed as "Too localized" or "Exact duplicate" respectively. If the former, the question should also be deleted (either by a mod or by 10k+ users). While #7 is helpful, it still doesn't answer the question. It is good practice to let the OP know that things have changed. If they don't respond, downvote and either move on or write a better answer if you know.
Responses #8,9 and 11 are what we'd like to see on this site. They are to the point, precise and informative. If you're referencing an earlier answer (could also be an external link), provide a crucial summary so as to make the answer self sufficient. This is important for two reasons: having the summary helps in the case of link rot (i.e., external links are dead because their site shut down) and to not have to make people click through a whole bunch of links just to get to the answer. They can proceed if they like what they see. It always helps to link to the relevant documentation/authoritative sources (quoting the important information) in your answers. Remember, in all these cases, you should cite the source(s) that you quoted (it is a good practice to make it explicit that you're quoting yourself). Feel free to edit them in an answer (not yours) if the OP hasn't done so, for after all, this is a collaboratively edited site.
Responses #10 and #12 are curt, and perhaps the most contentious of all. These are quite tricky as they do in fact answer the question, but not in a way that is considered a good answer. Moderators and frequent users generally try to encourage these users to expand on them or quote relevant parts. True, it is tempting to just leave a link and walk off as in #12. However, remember that the answers that you're leaving are not just for the person who asked the question, but for practically anyone who visits that page. If you're not willing do that, then it probably is a good idea to not post that link in the first place. #10, while technically the solution to the question, gives no indication or explanation as to why that is the solution. Beyond this, there is nothing much that can be done other than let the votes speak for itself. However, if you flag these as "Not an answer", you better be prepared for a loss in flag-weight. The only time it's acceptable to bring these to a moderator's attention is if the link is dead and there's nothing to indicate what might've been there.
Responses #13–15 are self explanatory, but please, do not encourage users who post #15 to ask questions here.
Why was my answer converted to a comment and why was I encouraged to post my comment as an answer?
Often when your responses belong to #1-#7, they don't answer the question and the moderators move the answer to the comments, where they belong (till the OP responds/updates their question). At times, when the answer is good, but falls a little short of being a great answer, moderators might nudge you to improve on certain sections or provide a little more info on the topic.
As for why answers/good info in comments is a bad idea, see this post by Robert Cartaino:
Ok great! So when should I use chat?
If you need to have extended discussions with the OP in order to get things clarified or to work out a solution, then you should consider using the chat instead of a back-n-forth in the comments. This way you can talk to your heart's content and still leave the question clutter free. You can also collaboratively work on an answer before writing it up.
Chat is an informal environment where pretty much anything is allowed and the only moderation done is for spam and offensive content. You can discuss off-topic questions, alternate endings for the Star Wars trilogy or exchange pleasantries.
Hope this little guide helped clear some of the confusion that has been floating around on this topic.
An acceptable answer is any answer that directly addresses the question asked. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/how-to-answer provides information on how to post a good answer. Note that an incorrect answer that directly addresses the question asked is still an answer.
An answer is not any of the following:
Any answer that doesn't directly address the question asked, or falls into one of the above "Not an Answer" categories, is subject to deletion.
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?