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If I write one of my usual answers, full of sparkling wit, startling clarity, and profound insights, but in my haste to translate my timeless wisdom to the printed page I somehow manage to misspall soemting, and this misspelling is pointed out by a commenter, I'll edit my answer to incorporate the fix.

If (not that this has ever happened) I make a technical error of some kind in an answer, and a commenter points that out, I'll likewise improve my answer based on their input.

But what's the etiquette if a comment adds good information? In the past I have usually just left those as comments, so as not to be taking credit for someone else's ideas. But today I got to thinking that comments are sometimes cleaned up and deleted, and in general, we're supposed to think of them as ephemeral things without the staying power of real answers.

If someone adds a good piece of information to an answer of mine in a comment, is it good or bad to subsume that comment as part of the answer?

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2 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

It's generally a good idea to incorporate the comment into your answer. You can give credit with a link to the user's profile. Comments that add value really shouldn't be deleted, but there are occasional slip-ups. Since it's really easy for a comment to be deleted (by design), it does sometimes happen accidentally. Better to be safe and incorporate useful information into an answer where it's more protected.

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OK, that's what I did –  Ernest Friedman-Hill Aug 6 '12 at 13:55
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The fact comments should be considered ephemeral doesn't mean all the comments are automatically deleted. The privilege page for the comment everywhere privilege says when to comment, and when not to comment; it is probable the removed comments are the ones that should not have been given as for that page.

That said, there is nothing wrong with incorporating what said in a comment. I personally would not do that if the comment is the first one given to my answer. If the comment is the nth comment, and it risks not to be seen from who reads the answer, then I would incorporate it in my answer, and give attribution to who wrote that comment.
I don't think that I should necessarily incorporate that comment in my answer; somebody else could write an answer basing on that comment, especially if s/he is able to give more details. The fact the comment is given for my answer doesn't necessarily means I am the one who needs to include it in an answer.

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