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Sometimes, a question is perfectly solved by suggestion or actual resolution given in "comments" under it. In such case, how to mark that answer (comment) as "Accepted Answer"? Due to this, the question remains unanswered even if solution is provided in comment.

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marked as duplicate by hims056, Martijn Pieters, Time Traveling Bobby, Al E., Lance Roberts Aug 19 '13 at 14:34

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5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The problem is that answers should not be posted as comments. These "non answers" discourage others from posting the same information as a proper answer and the information cannot be voted on or accepted. The question remains, essentially, "unanswered."

This is becoming increasingly common on many of the newer sites and it should be discouraged, not rewarded (by moving the comment to an answer).

In practical terms, I would like to see the answer properly posted. I try and encourage these users to re-post their comments as answers, but failing that, someone really should take it upon themselves to use the information to provide a proper answer. When comment-ers see their information usurped, it might stop the behavior the next time around.

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As has been discussed before, there are many valid reasons for posting comments rather than answers. If a comment turns out to be sufficient for a question, then it should be easy to mark that comment as the answer. Stackexchange sites are supposed to be about quality information. Not forcing people to use the site in whatever way you think they should. This feature would make it easier to get/identify quality information, and it has no downsides. We need more ways to get good answers given how people do work, versus how they should. –  Awesome Poodles Feb 5 '11 at 4:26
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Agree that it should be discouraged. To avoid this bad practice, may be what we can do is, allow the questioner to mark a comment as "Accepted Answer" but by doing this, the author of that 'useful comment' will not get 100% increase in his reputation (even if his comments were accepted as answer). May be he will get only 50% or no increase in reputation at all. This will make him think twise the next time to give his solution as Answer rather that a Comment. –  Anil Feb 7 '11 at 5:26
    
@Anil: Comments are a very lightweight mechanism by design. They only allow 600 characters, there's little formatting, they can't be edited or updated, there's only token voting (no down-voting, no vote changes), there's no comments-on-comments, on and on. I don't think the developers will beef up that entire system to accommodate accepted answers. But if "accepted comments" still makes sense the way you envisioned, you should post it as a [feature-request]. –  Robert Cartaino Feb 7 '11 at 17:00

The usual practice is to leave a comment for the author letting them know that they can have the accepted answer if they turn the comment into an answer themselves. If the user is a regular visitor to the site they will be notified. This happens rarely enough IMO not to need a general feature.

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+1, this is how I think it should be handled. I normally give them a certain amount of time (normally about a week) and if they don't post the comment as an answer themselves then I post it as an answer myself and accept the answer. –  The Unhandled Exception Feb 4 '11 at 17:24
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You say the usual practice is to leave a comment for the author, but I've only ever seen that once. But I have seen comments that turned out to be the answer several times. It should be easy for users, especially newbies, to identify the answer that helped them most. few will think to leave such a comment. Being able to check someone's remark as the answer is a great feature, with no downside. –  Awesome Poodles Feb 5 '11 at 4:30

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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I have a few times wished that as the "owner" of a quesion I could convert a comment into an answer. Maybe it should be allowed for quesions askers with over a given rep.

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I think diamond moderators can convert answer to comment, perhaps they can do it in opposite direction as well. In such case you should flag the question for moderator's attention (with some description) and they will maybe convert comment to answer. But it is just assumption ...

Edit:

Are we talking about ideal world or about real one? In ideal world everybody will follow the rules and best practices and diamond moderators will not be needed at all. Many times I have seen valid answers in comments because answering a question required discussion (in comments). So at the moment it would be really nice if diamond moderators have this tool to turn comment(s) into answer with some restrictions. I can imagine rules like:

  • Owner of the question must flag that comment for further attention.
  • It will first notify user who posted the comment so he will be able to write it as answer. (Generally the same approach as posting comment like @User: Post this comment as answer).
  • If user doesn't turn the comment into answer within several days (let say two weeks) it will notify diamond moderators
  • If diamond moderator turns the comment into answer it will not be placed as answer from original user but as answer from Community user (or from original user but he will not receive reputation for such answer).

I believe it could make the site more tidy.

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At this time, Mods cannot convert comments to answers. –  Al E. Feb 5 '11 at 3:15
    
@Al Everett: As stated in answer it was just assumption. –  Ladislav Mrnka Feb 7 '11 at 8:31
    
Sure, I get that. I was just confirming it. –  Al E. Feb 7 '11 at 14:13

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