Possible Duplicate:
Promoting comments to answers
Allow asker to upgrade comment to answer

I find the following case quite common:

  1. Asker create question that may be confusing or poorly worded
  2. User creates a comment that's "if you mean this, then A, else B" -- one of the two may be an answer.
  3. Asker says, yeah it was the second. Thanks!

Ultimately, this creates a lot of noise -- questions having good answers are seen as unanswered, or worse, answered correctly in comments and incorrectly as an answer.

Is there a user level that can "promote" comments to (accepted) answers? Is there a proper way to let a user know they should move their comment to make it an answer?

Clearly there are several related questions and answers here, but I am not sure that any of them is this specific question. I suppose this is a meta-meta-observation :-). Anyway, just looking for a pointer on how to handle these cases properly. Is this a feature request?

  • 2
    Maybe it's just not worth being a question?
    – user7116
    Mar 24, 2012 at 0:59
  • Perhaps, but the issue is signal-to-noise, right? Another alternative would be to demote (seems antithetical to SO ideals). Mar 24, 2012 at 1:02
  • @AnthonyPegram -- agree, it's a dupe. While I don't agree with the community's 7 down votes on the question, the accepted answer seems right. But I may not yet have achieved sufficient level to do anything more than implore users to Do The Right Thing. I am just a young Paduan :-) Mar 24, 2012 at 1:08
  • @tharrison My version got 15 upvotes, if that helps Mar 24, 2012 at 3:00
  • @tharrison - I asked the question that Anthony is marking as a dupe, so I agree in theory with this, but in practice it simply doesn't make sense. To allow any random user to post an answer on behalf of someone who merely commented is ridiculous. Why should the asker have the right to dictate whether the commenter is downvoted for a comment? From my understanding, even moderators are discouraged (if not unable) from "upgrading" a comment to an answer, so why should we let less careful people to the same? Again I agree in theory, but in practice it just doesn't make sense.
    – M.Babcock
    Mar 24, 2012 at 4:30

2 Answers 2


This is what I recommend:

  1. You edit the clarification into the question
  2. You ask the commenter to post the comment as an answer, via a comment
  3. Commenter answers and flags the comments for cleanup

Even better, the commenter would have got notified of the clarification and gone straight from 1 to 3. Better yet, the OP would do the edit themselves. Best, the question is clear in the first place :P

  • 1
    It's all about the non-ideal situations. As a relatively new user, it took me a while to understand basic protocols. I see many users who are clearly not "getting it" -- indeed, this is the fundamental problem that SE/SO has worked to address (it's not another forum or group, thank goodness!), and as SE becomes even more dominant, it will become even more difficult to deal with. Mar 24, 2012 at 1:13
  • +1 I like the utopian progression in the last two sentences :D Mar 24, 2012 at 3:50

It's a good question, but I don't see this as being a problem.
The badge/reputation system seems to be motivation enough for people to post good answers.

Erring on the side of more answer-comments as opposed to comment-answers is A Good Thing.

  1. We don't waste time trying to clean up crap answers.
  2. Reason number two is not here, I would rather put it in a comment.
  3. Leaving just comments motivates question-askers to write clear questions: a good answer is better than a comment if for no other reasons than improved formatting and larger font.

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