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I have a question and have seen others to which the best and most relevant answer (at least the one that solved my particular problem) is placed in the comments to the question as opposed to the answers: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/879608/asp-net-mvc-controller-parameter-not-being-gathered-from-form

I would like to recognize the commenter as the person who correctly answered the question, but there doesn't seem to be any way to do that. The only thing I could think of was to ask the commenter to repost his comment as an answer, but I cannot figure out a way to contact him. In the meantime the question is sitting unanswered and I am getting other "answers" (leading me to believe that people are not reading the comments and answers already posted before trying to answer it themselves).

How are we supposed to do this?

Edit: Note, I don't want to accept the comment as an answer(I agree completely with the answers to this question that comments are comments and answers are answers and they should stay that way). I do wonder if there should be some way to contact people in a reasonable manner (comments on their profile that they must opt in to receiving in email?).

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"I agree completely with the answers to this question that comments are comments and answers are answers" - I disagree completely,(and I think you did when you asked the question), and putting brief answer in a comment is increasing in popularity it seems. I used to have a high answered percentage which is now creeping down as often the best answer is left as a comment –  wheresrhys Feb 7 '12 at 9:32
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Perhaps the increasing popularity you mention is a result of the fact that brief answers are automatically turned into comments -- I added an answer that was "see <link to duplicate SO answers>" today and noticed it was demoted as a comment. I may just not have enough reputation yet, but this seems like a decision that the community should make, not the system. –  Tom Harrison Jr Mar 15 '12 at 0:06
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After all those years, it is still a dissatisfying situation, not only with one's own questions answered in a comment - worse yet, quite often I see questions answered and the answer even acknowledged in comments; so, when one searches for answers, the present answer is easily overlooked, and when one searches for unanswered questions, many false places are visited. Really, it should be possible and officially encouraged to mark a comment as to be promoted (by a moderator) to an answer. –  Armali Aug 13 '13 at 7:55
    
... or, equally good for me, and what has also been suggested, to mark a comment as to be regarded as an answer for the matter of filtering, without converting it and so without the implications of scoring. –  Armali Aug 13 '13 at 9:51

5 Answers 5

up vote 29 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, you can't, and this is by design, so I wouldn't expect it to change any time soon. If you want people to stop answering, you could always post an answer yourself that quotes the comment and mark it accepted. I'd also recommend upvoting the comment so that it sticks out.

Regarding your comment about contacting other users, it's been implemented!

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Is there anything I can do to increase the reputation of the person who wrote the comment? Also I don't seem to be able to upvote comments. At least I don't have anything that I can click on to do this. –  user130221 Jul 1 '09 at 18:54
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You could go into his profile and upvote a few of his other questions and answers. Just a few though - there are checks in place for vote fraud that detect one user upvoting another user a lot. –  Kyle Cronin Jul 1 '09 at 18:57
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Kyle: I don't think that is an appropriate way to say thanks. You would spoil other answer threads with your merciful upvoting. I would motivate the commenter to re-post the comment as an answer. And if there's no reaction, quote it, like you said. –  please delete me Jul 3 '09 at 7:20
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Upvote his comment, post your own answer quoting his comment and offering to change your accepted answer to his if he posts as an answer? –  Blorgbeard Jul 3 '09 at 13:02
    
@Kyle Cronin is converting comment to answer and then accepting an option? I had an issue where 1 guy posted commend as a valid answer on an open bounty question on the next day. I asked him to repost as an answer, but he didnt do it so i had to answer my own question: stackoverflow.com/questions/7256140/… –  Janis Veinbergs Sep 12 '11 at 7:32
    
@Janis no, no mechanism exists to convert comments to answers –  Kyle Cronin Sep 12 '11 at 7:42
    
@Kyle (confirming @Janis) My concern is not leaving my answered question open. Re: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/189614/… I tried to consolidate the comments into an answer but was unable to check off the question as answered. You can't click the check mark on your own answer. I left them there to more formally credit the comments I up-voted. –  DHorse Jul 21 '13 at 15:52

Please, no. When i leave a comment, i do so because i want to leave a comment. If i'd wanted to answer, i'd have posted an answer... or edited an existing answer to include my suggestions.

Let's keep the two forms of communication separate...

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Yes, it changes the game if comments can be answers. And as a corollary, what about those forum style answers some still post - it would be nice to put them as comments, but I'd hate for someone to abuse that just to get my answer out of the list and into a comment somewhere. –  Jeff Yates Jul 1 '09 at 18:14
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I think it is more an issue of the person doing the asking wanting to close the question because your comment was the answer. Awkward. –  DHorse Jul 21 '13 at 15:58
    
Sometimes someone's offhand comment, perhaps a guess, is completely sufficient as an answer. –  Phrogz Apr 24 at 15:58
    
Then they should be encouraged to post it as one, @Phrogz. Or someone should do it for them. –  Shog9 Apr 24 at 17:12

I think there's some merit to this.

People may end up answering a question with a comment for a number of reasons:

  • They ask for more details via 'have you tried....', and solve the problem more by luck that design
  • They give an answer that is valid, but unpopular, and don't want the downvotes
  • The solution is trivially easy, and a comment feels more appropriate than a one-line answer (which could be seen as low-quality).

I'm probably guilty of all 3.

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@downvoter I'm happy to improve if you can explain the objection. –  Phil Lello May 1 '11 at 22:51
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I didn't downvote, but I also object. When you write "I'm probably guilty of all 3", you seem to acknowledge yourself that one can do it for those reasons, but that they aren't good reasons. I'm all for a strict separation: Keep questions to questions, and answers to answers. (Maybe someone downvoted since you posted the very same answer twice?) –  Hendrik Vogt May 2 '11 at 11:59
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Yes, I posted a duplicate answer to a duplicate question. I'm not sure how this is wrong, because it means the answer is there whichever question people read. –  Phil Lello May 2 '11 at 16:58
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@Phil: I didn't say that's wrong, but somehow it is wrong, only that you can't do the right thing, namely vote to close the duplicate question. –  Hendrik Vogt May 2 '11 at 17:32
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I don't have the rep to vote to close. –  Phil Lello May 2 '11 at 18:19
    
@Phil: Well, that's what I wrote, "you can't do the right thing" here. (Me neither!) –  Hendrik Vogt May 3 '11 at 7:44
    
@Hendrik Ah fair enough, I misunderstood (I was in a bad mood) –  Phil Lello May 3 '11 at 19:11
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Another reason to post a concise comment instead of an answer: Occassionally I don't have time to post a full answer, but I want to point the OP (and other potential answerers) in the right direction. I also don't want to discourage other users from providing better / more detailed answers; my thinking is that unanswered questions are more likely to get attention than questions that already have an answer posted. –  Dr. Wily's Apprentice Jan 12 '12 at 17:00
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@Hendrik Vogt "I'm all for a strict separation: Keep questions to questions, and answers to answers." But as long as the content is user generated the site is always vulnerable/blessed with people misusing/evolving the use of features on the site. When there's an increasing number of users using comments to leave what is in effect an answer (even if perhaps they didn't see it as an answer themselves at the time) it's not really practical or engaging with the user base to just say "but that's the comment section!" –  wheresrhys Feb 7 '12 at 9:36
    
@wheresrhys: But would it be more practical to let people mark a comment as the accepted answer? I don't think so. And I'm all for friendly education of new users about how the site works. –  Hendrik Vogt Feb 7 '12 at 9:42
    
@Hendrik Vogt - It wouldn't be less practical (aside from on the technical side maybe, but I think the developers have a healthy attitude to doing things that are hard to do if it makes the site more user friendly). And as I roughly said above, allowing flexible treatment of the content submitted is sensible when users demonstrate repeatedly that they will submit content that doesn't neatly fit in the category they chose to put it. And it's not new users we're talking about here - leaving an answery comment is more typical of established users who aren't chasing ranking so much any more. –  wheresrhys Feb 7 '12 at 10:00
    
@wheresrhys: Well, if you talk about established users, then a simple "can you please post this as an answer" should do. I wouldn't want to even encourage answers in comments. –  Hendrik Vogt Feb 7 '12 at 10:22
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@Hendrik Vogt But the point is that this is the existing approach and it is a) inefficient even when it does have the desired result b) can still end up being ignored, leaving the question marked as unanswered when there is a perfectly good answer connected to it, but in the wrong place. It's generally better practice to observe how your users are using your software (rather tan how you intended them to) and to adapt it to match these patterns, than to expect them to change their behaviour. A (the?) golden rule of usability. –  wheresrhys Feb 7 '12 at 10:37
    
@wheresrhys: Well, then we disagree on this point. Do I have to mention that Jeff Atwood will also disagree with what you say :-)? Concerning questions that are left unanswered: You can always post a community wiki answer citing the comment. –  Hendrik Vogt Feb 7 '12 at 11:57

A comment's a comment, not an answer. Allowing these to be "accepted" destroys a big part of the SO concept, which is the ability for others to edit an answer and make it better, or keep it up to date (source: Learning from Stackoverflow)

If there's a great comment you want to accept, I would (and have) added a comment saying "@Bob: Correct! Could you please post your comment as an answer so I can accept it?".

If there's no response in a day or seven, you could post it yourself (community-wiki'd) and accept that (albeit after 48 hours). It can always be deleted when the comment'er posts their own answer

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The problem is that as it stands Bob won't be notified of comments on your question, only of comments on his own questions or answers. –  Benjol Jul 22 '09 at 11:33
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@Ben: now it works =) –  Andreas Bonini Aug 7 '10 at 0:08
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And why marking comment as an answer, cannot move the comment as a regular reply first? "A comment's a comment, not an answer." This is ideology, not a technical solution to a real-life problem. –  greenoldman Jan 26 '11 at 6:36
    
But how do I, the person asking the question, mark my question as answered. I found all of the comments and answers in this particular post to be valid. Moving comments to an answer to my own question would only get me down votes so that is OK. And I had no problem crediting the folks on the thread. Difficult, I'm going to go back and try flagging it. –  DHorse Jul 21 '13 at 16:08
    
I was able to flag it but I don't like that. Now I'm bothering a moderate to click the answered check mark for me. Really bad. By the way, my question was about how to improve my question before submitting it to SO. Sort of a special class. Found at:Re: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/189614/… I tried to consolidate the comments into an answer but was unable to check off the question as answered. You can't click the check mark on your own answer. –  DHorse Jul 21 '13 at 16:12
    
Note: A) (Through direct reference to the post) it was answered on a different thread. B) It was answered in the comments. C) There was no need to post it on SO, the technical answer was provided here on meta-SO in the comments. D) I was told to never delete my own questions. Difficult... –  DHorse Jul 21 '13 at 16:17
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So I should wait 48 hours and then check it off. Yuck, that's 48 hours of making others look at it in hope of helping. Oh well. –  DHorse Jul 21 '13 at 16:20

And what about the possibility, given to the authors of the comment and of the question and to some high-rep guys to change a comment into an answer? The author of the question should do it with the automatic checking.

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