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Two comments with useful information were added to my answer.

I told users who posted them to feel free edit my answer and move this information there. It didn't happen and a third useful comment was posted, so I removed mine, because they were hiding this 3rd one.

I know I can edit answer and add the information from comments myself. However, there are a few problems with such an approach:

  1. If many comments have to be included, mentioning the source of each added piece of information will hurt answer's brevity and clarity.
    • Moreover, how should this be done? Should I only use the username or the username linked to their profile page or write something like This piece of information was posted by ... as a comment?
  2. The same information will appear twice - in the answer and in the comments - unless the original author removes the comment.
  3. Sometimes I know that the comment contains useful information, but I don't understand it well enough to write about it myself.

Why don't people want to edit answers posted by others?

When a user with edit powers is posting a comment to an answer, is a message displayed to remind about possibility to edit the answer?

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3  
Another question is, if you think this is important, why didn't you edit your question to incluse those answers? (Of course with mentioning the source. –  Toon Krijthe Nov 4 '10 at 9:12

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

My inital thought:
To my mind, users commenting on your answer with positive suggestions do so because they essentially agree with it, but rather than write a new answer with their minor tweak (which would be seen as a rude attempt to jump in and steal rep) they instead are helping you to make your answer exemplary.

To address each of your points:

If many comments have to be included, mentioning the source of each added piece of information will hurt answer's brevity and clarity.
- Moreover, how should this be done? Should I only use the username or the username linked to their profile page or write something like This piece of information was posted by ... as a comment?

Not sure if there's an offical line on this, but here's my personal thoughts:

I don't think it hurts brevity or clarity to just say "As per user_name's comment ...", and in the case of comments I have sometimes linked to the profile page (after all - their username could change), if I remember to. You can also use "... with thanks to user_name's comment" if a prefix to the information doesn't work well (for example, I think it's neater to postfix the notice if it sits within a list).

I've even used variants of "As per user_name's [answer] ...", and hyperlinked to another answer on the same question, if another user has beat me to something I wanted to say, but while my answer has wider scope I still need to say that for my answer to be correct.

The same information will appear twice - in the answer and in the comments - unless the original author removes the comment.

I don't see this as a real problem, comments are pretty low-profile and don't really get in the way that much even if they contain duplicate information.

And, it's best to place the details in the answer even if it does duplicate, because comments often get rolled up so some are not displayed - potentially hiding the information from unwary readers.

Sometimes I know that the comment contains useful information, but I don't understand it well enough to write about it myself.

This is a tricky one, and is a very good reason to not update your own post. Afraid I don't really have an answer here, possibly ask the person posting the comment to explain, edit or write a seperate answer and hope they do?

Why don't people want to edit answers posted by others?

I recommend reading The Great Edit Wars blog post and What is the etiquette for modifying posts?

From these the mains points for good editing practice are given as:

  • Fix grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Clarify meaning without changing it.
  • Correct minor mistakes.
  • Add related resources or links.
  • Always respect the original author.

Adding any extra information to a post (a question or answer) will in most cases change it's meaning and so is frowned upon.

When a user with edit powers is posting a comment to an answer, is a message displayed to remind about possibility to edit the answer?

No.

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I re-read The Great Edit Wars and What is the etiquette for modifying posts? and it seems that until now I didn't really know what the purpose of editing was. I thought it worked like Wikipedia editing, e.g. somebody posted an answer describing 2 ways of solving some problem, but I know 2 more, so I edit this answer and add them; then, a year later, version X.Y of the product is released and it allows to use yet another solution, so 3rd user edits the same answer and writes In version X.Y you can also do ... and so on. –  Marek Grzenkowicz Nov 4 '10 at 21:05

Suggestion: Make the edit link under the question bold, possibly colored...only for the OP, so it draws their attention to the edit button. It could be done without overkill, just enough to draw the poster's eye, hopefully more than the Add Another Answer button does...something like this:

Edit Link

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I don't always want to edit questions because (1) sometimes, the chronology is important, and comments are often more tentative in nature ("I believe your answer is incorrect because of [X]. Can you verify or disprove that?"), which doesn't belong in an answer, and (2) the site punishes me for it. Editing answers leads to them becoming CW'ed. And CW'ed questions do not earn rep.

The site is designed to discourage me from improving answers.

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Comments and answers are both important; the second point you have sounds ranty. –  simchona Jan 13 '12 at 22:40
    
It is ranty. But is it an invalid point? Jeff Atwood used to talk at length about how the site, with its rep and badges and built-in rules tries to encourage good behavior, and discourage bad behavior. Now the site has morphed into something that discourages improving answers. But what gives you the idea that comments are important? Ask a moderator, and you'll get quite a different message –  jalf Jan 13 '12 at 23:16

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