What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 129 Stack Exchange communities.

This question already has an answer here:

I was browsing through some StackOverflow posts, and I noticed that often, comments had small bug fixes indirectly unrelated to the question. However, in some of these cases, the small bug that the commenter thought had nothing to do with the question turns out to be the right answer. My question is: When you have a tiny bug fix that you are not sure will fix the problem, do you put it in a comment or do you answer the question.

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Bo Persson, Second Rikudo, Martijn Pieters, gnat, Toon Krijthe Mar 4 '13 at 22:29

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

4  
Not a duplicate, asking what to do in this case, and similar ones –  scrblnrd3 Mar 4 '13 at 20:41

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

To the best of my knowledge, if you have a small bug fix, you should put it in the comments. I've seen too many people out irrelevant fixes in answers. If you have no way of knowing whether it's actually an answer, it's better to give it the benefit of the doubt and put it in the comments, as you won't get downvoted/flagged if its completely unrelated.

I've seen this a couple of times, and if it turns out to be the correct answer, just put it in an answer. Sometimes the asker or community will suggest this if its the correct answer.

In short:

  1. Don't put it as an answer if you don't know it's an answer
  2. If it does turn out to be an answer, you can post it as an answer.
share|improve this answer
4  
No, flagging the mod about comment being an answer does not help. –  nhahtdh Mar 4 '13 at 20:56
    
@nhahtdh, edited. –  Bernie Mar 4 '13 at 21:25

If you notice that a comment is correct, you can reply to the comment-author and recommend that they post an answer.

If you have a tiny bug fix but are not confident that it will solve the whole problem, post it in a comment. If it turns out that it was the correct answer, you can move it to an actual answer. However, don't hold it against anybody that posts the answer before you -- you gave them a proper hint!

Sometimes I am 90% sure that my 1-liner answer is correct, but getting 100% confident may take 20 minutes which I may not have. If that's the case, I'll just slap down a comment and begone content that I may have spent 10 seconds saving somebody hours of trouble.

share|improve this answer
    
And while yes, someone else in the community can take your comment and turn it into an answer, the community is pretty good about giving someone the time to convert their comment to an answer if they got it right first. At least that's been my experience as you can see from the question I linked in my answer. –  MCeley Mar 4 '13 at 21:36
    
@MCeley Agreed! –  George W Bush Mar 4 '13 at 22:11

If you're trying to obtain more information from the asker or you're suggesting smaller fixes that you don't believe to solve the problem as a whole, leave a comment. If your minor fix or request ends up answering the asker's question then you can always form a proper answer from the comment information. I've run into this situation before over on Arqade and the community is really good about pointing out an answer in the comments and letting you know to make an answer out of it.

Example of a comment that ended up being turned into an answer.

Only post an answer to a question if you believe what you're going to post will answer the asker's question. If you're trying to get information or you're suggesting small fixes that end up not answering the question, the community will either flag your post, downvote it, or comment to expand your answer or maybe even a combination of those things.

share|improve this answer

I comment for the following reason:

  1. Need more info

  2. My answer doesn't completely solve the problem.

  3. Redirecting it to a post in SO that answers the current question

I post it as an answer if

I know my post will solve the question posted. 
share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .