I second this proposal because the current situation contributes to alienating new users including potential valuable contributors. (I even have heard complaints from “real-life” friends over this.)
Right now, a chain of events similar to the following is likely to happen:
- A new user has a valuable comment to make, but lacks the reputation to post it. This user has informed themselves and ensured that the comment is really appropriate as such.
- The user posts the comment as an answer with a remark like “please convert to a comment”.
- The posts lands in the low-quality queue for some reason, be it heuristics, well-intentioned not-an-answer flags or low-quality flags after downvotes.
- Well-intentioned reviewers read the remark, chose delete and select: “this is a commentary …”.
- The post gets deleted without any moderator (i.e., somebody who could actually convert the comment) seeing it.
- The user receives a delete notice, possibly combined with some downvotes and a comment that their answer should be a comment (which they already know).
- The user is left with the impression that the people operating this site were to stupid to read a simple remark or were too obsessed with not ever letting anybody with less than 50 reputation comment. The user probably leaves for good.
I thus propose (to flesh out the proposal):
- Allow low-quality-posts reviewers to vote for comment conversion. I consider it slightly better to list this option under Delete, so reviewers get to see all the other options (and very lazy reviewers do not save one click).
- Delete answers receiving sufficiently many delete and convert-to-comment votes (as before), but surface answers which received sufficiently many convert-to-comment votes to a moderator.
- Give the OP a special notice that their answer was deleted but is waiting for a moderator to decide on conversion to a comment. Do not use a plain delete notice as it may have the same consequences as the chain above if the user never returns to find their answer being converted.
Note how something similar has been proposed some time a go by guess who.