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On this question on Super User …

How to Copy Mac files to external NTFS hard drive?

… there is a comment:

Yes, it is possible. Check out this question: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/447/… – user98776

The interesting thing is that:

  • The user has 1 reputation
  • There was no migrated / deleted answer
  • The question itself was not migrated
  • The user is registered
  • The user does not have any associated network account, therefore no network profile
  • The mods don't see anything obvious.

enter image description here

Why were they able to post a comment?

2
  • 2
    Maybe they posted an answer and a moderator converted it after it was flagged?
    – Verbeia
    Sep 22, 2011 at 12:48
  • 2
    No, there is no deleted answer on the post, I would have been able to see it.
    – slhck
    Sep 22, 2011 at 12:48

2 Answers 2

17

We've made some improvements to the automatic "trivial answer converted to comment" functionality to make it less likely that y'all will be confused by low-reputation users being able to post comments. Because conversion from answer to comment in this case occurred before the answer was created, there was no post history event to show the source of the comment, and no deleted answer.

From now on, when a comment has been created due to being converted from an answer, the field next to the comment icon will show the text "converted from answer". While we can't backfill this, it will be visible on all future cases where trivial answers are converted to a comment.

Here are the mod-converted and system-converted history events in a screenshot so you can see what the new text looks like. You can tell them apart because the mod-converted to comment will be paired with a deleted answer, while the system-converted will have only the comment itself.

post history showing two answers converted into comments. The first answer was converted by a moderator and the second answer was converted by the system.

In addition to this, we also updated the warning message for the poster so they are more likely to realize what happened to their answer when it got converted to a comment by the system. This links to the deleted answers help page, which we'll be updating with a brief explanation of what happens when an answer is converted to a comment.

Toast notice with the text "Your answer has been automatically converted to a comment. Learn more"

I know that I've been confused when these automatic conversions happen and we've run into mods who are, too, so we hope this improvement will clarify things for people going forward!

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This could possibly be an effect of Answer appears automatically converted as a comment.

Trivial answers containing a link to another question in the network are automatically converted to comments on the question.

This would explain it, although I would have thought there would be something visible to mods that this had happened.

9
  • Well, if that's by-design, then it's 1) the first time I've ever seen it and 2) confusing as hell. I'd much rather downvote or flag such an "answer".
    – slhck
    Sep 22, 2011 at 12:52
  • 5
    @slhck how so? by itself it isn't really an answer (I think we all agree on that), and would have attracted lots of flags/"this should be a comment" comments - the system merely detected that and cut through all that fluff. In most cases it saves time... unless it prompts a meta question, of course ;p Sep 22, 2011 at 13:01
  • Well, it certainly happens more often on SO, so I see where you're coming from! I've just never seen it :) @mar
    – slhck
    Sep 22, 2011 at 13:12
  • 2
    @MarcGravell So this conversion doesn't leave a deleted answer behind like a conversion-by-moderator does?
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Sep 22, 2011 at 13:22
  • obviously it does not, which is the main point of confusion (for me, at least)
    – slhck
    Sep 22, 2011 at 13:31
  • The answer for that question also reports, "After some internal discussion, when we convert an answer auto-magically we'll do the "linked answer" fade + a one time message to the poster only. This will not survive navigating away from the page, by design."
    – apaderno
    Sep 22, 2011 at 13:31
  • 2
    @Adam no, it does not. ONLY a comment is saved to the database. Sep 22, 2011 at 13:58
  • 3
    Lets destroy it quickly... SE is becoming self aware! Sep 22, 2011 at 15:08
  • Wow. Can they edit the answer after the convert? In that case, they could create an comment & edit instead of just writing the comment. Jul 15, 2013 at 9:16

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