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If an answer is posted to a user's question that contains only a very small suggestion and then a request for more details, is it appropriate to downvote? To me, this seems like it should be a comment.

What brought this to my attention was a question that I posted a comment on. Another user posted my comment almost verbatim as an answer (it was only 2 sentences).

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If it's an honest attempt to comment on an answer or the question (someone who's new to the site and doesn't understand the way things work or have enough reputation to comment), I might recommend just flagging the answer. If you can, use an "other" flag and write in the description which post (question or answer) they were trying to comment on.

It's not much work at all for us to then convert that to a comment. For people who legitimately are trying to comment, and not just dump entirely new questions or "did you get an answer for this" in answers, this seems like it would be a little more gentle for a new user who can't comment yet than having their answer downvoted.

In the case you describe, it sounds like they've gone the other way and tried to convert a comment into an answer. If there's a kernel of an answer there, but it's a little lacking right now, comment that they need to flesh out what they are saying. If they don't and it's just a bad answer to the question, feel free to vote it down.

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It's useful to downvote it if you think it is something that should be deleted. If it is scored -1 or lower 20K users can vote to delete it which saves moderators needing to be involved ever.

In that specific example I'd suggest downvoting and leaving a (friendly) comment asking them to expand on the answer. (No need to mention the vote). If they do improve it then you can remove the downvote and even upvote if you found it helpful. If they don't then it continues to exactly match "this is not useful" and makes further action simpler.

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If it seems to be more of a comment and does not provide a valid answer, I think it would be proper to downvote the answer. Make sure to include a friendly comment asking them to improve their answer.

You may also consider flagging the answer for the moderators to take care of it. There is an option to flag the answer as "not an answer".

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