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Comments incorrectly submitted as an answer instead: what should we do?

New users are treating the site as a forum by replying to answers with another answer. I think we should make it clear that if you want to reply to an answer you should do it in the comments. Perhaps we should have something that stops users from answering their own questions or at least make it clear how the site works.

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marked as duplicate by fretje, ChrisF, Diago Feb 22 '10 at 16:00

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.

    
dupe: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/21549/… –  fretje Feb 22 '10 at 15:31
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Have you got any specific examples? If I come across any I post a comment explaining that SO (or SU) is a Q & A site not a forum –  ChrisF Feb 22 '10 at 15:32
    
I don't think it would be a good idea to prevent users answering their own questions. Sometimes, it's quite useful, as when a user gets no useful answers from others and then finds the solution to his/her problem on his/her own. In that case, the user would post an answer to his/her own question and then, when the site lets him/her, accept it as the answer s/he was looking for. Others looking for a solution to the same problem can come by later and see what worked for that user. –  RobH Feb 23 '10 at 3:32

3 Answers 3

I am in the habit of making this clear.

Your tools are

  • downvotes (applied to the offending "answers")
  • comments (I usual put these on the answers as well, but that means that when the user does delete them the comment is lost to other new users.)

I usually start with a comment and check back in later to apply the downvote if the situation hasn't been corrected.

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A button to elevate it to a question would be nice. Even leaving it with forward and backlinks to keep context would be great too. –  Matthew Whited Feb 22 '10 at 17:33

It's already done. Try to answer your own question, a pop up asks if you're really sure and says that you should use comments instead.

Also the behavior you're describing is not really widespread.. I would even say it's quite rare.

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I see this behavior daily. –  Christopher Parker Jun 19 '10 at 0:06

I think this comes from simple unfamiliarity with how things work here, and a quick comment usually sorts it out once and for all (for that user).

The point is good, though: A simple note along the lines of

Please do not add answers to your own question to communicate with users. To react to an answer you receive, please use the "add comment" function below that answer. You can edit your own questions at any time.

for users with < 100 rep would make a lot of sense.

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It is already done. Try to answer your own question. –  Andreas Bonini Feb 22 '10 at 15:50

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