What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 131 Stack Exchange communities.

Possible Duplicate:
Why do some people answer in comments?

There seems to be a trend lately of people answering SO questions in the comments under the question. I don't mind seeing discussions under other answers, but when I see an answer masquerading as a comment under the question it gets under my skin.

How can we stop this behavior?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by random, alex, fretje, Ladybug Killer, ChrisF Jan 20 '10 at 12:42

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.

21  
We can't, at least not very well. –  mmyers Jan 20 '10 at 4:07
1  
Cleverly done there, mmyers. –  Rob Farley Jan 20 '10 at 4:13
2  
@mmyers: +1 for illustrating exactly my point. –  ceretullis Jan 20 '10 at 4:15
1  
See also: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4217/… –  Shog9 Jan 20 '10 at 4:17
    
I would like to accept @mmyers comments as answer. –  Graviton Jan 20 '10 at 5:47
    
you could copy their answer from the comment and steal their credits..yeah! epeen. –  bastijn Jan 20 '10 at 8:56

6 Answers 6

There are already badges that encourage proper behaviour. But now we also see badges that seem to encourage better commenting... so, choose your poison.

Perhaps when you see it going on, ask the 'answerer' (or even the asker) to write an answer that describes the scenario in the comment, so that it can be accepted and better found by search engines. Once this happens from time to time, the people that do it (like mmyers on this question?) might stop doing it quite so much.

And yes, I was tempted to write this in a comment instead. ;)

share|improve this answer
2  
Comments can't get downvoted, so I guess by leaving a comment, people feel like if they are wrong or the answer isn't popular, the worst that could happen is it being flagged. The other obvious reason would be that it is easier to post a comment, as answers take formating. –  Tyler Carter Jan 20 '10 at 5:31
1  
Do people really worry about answers getting downvoted? Doesn't stop me... ;) –  Rob Farley Jan 20 '10 at 7:02

Do we want to stop that? If people decide to give up their reputation - fine. Means that someone else can just copy/edit/paste as an answer or that the asker can put it in as an answer and accept.

The new @ system might be helpful to remind people that they should put answers as an answer.

Funny how we spent the last year or so educating to put comments into comments and not as an answer, and now we need it the other way :)

share|improve this answer

No, because six word answers suck

share|improve this answer
2  
You can always build up a comprehensive answer from multiple answers and comments, you are in fact encouraged to do so. –  waffles Jan 20 '10 at 6:27

I'm sure I've done this a few times, but it's because I initially just have an idea that is best phrased as a question, e.g. "how is Foo configured?" or "did you try installing Bar?" -- it's not always obvious at the beginning that this might be the seed of an answer, rather than just prodding the OP for more information.

We can discourage this issue getting worse by not adding support for more commenting features, like better formatting and line breaks, automatic notification of responses*, more support for code blocks etc. Perhaps the length limit should be lowered? I've rarely come close to hitting it as it is.

*okay, I was just making a funny there!

share|improve this answer

Comments are free text, you can't stop people putting answers in there. Well at least the good thing is there's an answer, and it sure beats adding plain comment as answer.

share|improve this answer

I want an answer to my question. If it takes the form of a comment, i won't really care, as long as it solves my problem. The information is still there, in the community.

One reason might be the fear of being downvoted into oblivion; maybe people aren't sure it will work, have an idea though, want to help but don't want to lose rep because others dpn't like their spelling or their brief answer.

share|improve this answer
    
Such a fear would reflect a misuse of voting; only unhelpful and/or wrong answers should be down-voted. Neutral answers or answers which are of small help should be left alone, and good answers up-voted. –  Lawrence Dol Jan 20 '10 at 6:46
    
If your English is bad or you're not 100% sure of your answer, posting the answer as a comment might just save some of your hard earned rep points. –  alex Jan 20 '10 at 7:15

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