Possible Duplicate:
Certain links get broken when automatically converting trivial answers into comments

I just wrote a single sentence answer to a post on meta, which was automatically converted to a link. OK, I'm not happy with that, and I even posted that answer twice because I didn't notice where it went.

But a real problem was that the syntax of comments is not the same as the syntax for links. In my case, the answer used the footnote-style markdown for links, the way the editing toolbar does it. This format is not available in comments. So in this case, the conversion broke the formatting of my answer, rendering it with all the square brackets visible. Not a nice thing to do, in my book.

Possible ways to fix this, in order of decreasing preference:

  1. Don't auto-convert answers
  2. Ensure that answers and comments use the same markdown syntax
  3. Auto-convert syntax appropriately

Given the fact that the presence of links in an answer might be a huge contributing factor to it being marked trivial, I consider this breakage of links particularly severe.

  • 1
    Like @Dennis, I agree with #3 only, so I'm torn on how to vote here. If you make #3 a separate feature request, you'll certainly have my vote. That said, I think we'll be better served in the long run if we motivate folks to not post links as answers in the first place.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Jul 23, 2012 at 1:30
  • @AaronBertrand There's an open bug report if you want to vote for it. Note that the moderator convert-to-comment functionality already attempts to handle this, so I don't see why the auto-conversion can't try to as well.
    – Tim Stone
    Jul 23, 2012 at 2:51
  • @TimStone, thanks for the pointer. I guess I'll delete my question now, as the problem is duplicate, and I can add my set of possible solutions to that question as well.
    – MvG
    Jul 23, 2012 at 8:39
  • Hmmm… I thought that instead of deleting the message, I might get it closed as a duplicate. So users looking for this might have more chances of finding one or the other question. However, the flag I set was deemed helpful but the question remains open. Does that mean that mean that mods consider it relevant enough to keep it open, or did they read my previous comment and wait for me to delete it myself. If I only knew…
    – MvG
    Jul 23, 2012 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


Don't auto-convert answers

This has been brought up several times before (most recently, here).

It might be OK to disable this for Meta, but I think that it solves more problems than it creates on SO. Normally, an answer containing barely more than a link to a related post is a comment, not an answer.

Ensure that answers and comments use the same markdown syntax

Markdown syntax is deliberately different for answers and comments, but that's not the real issue here.

The square bracket syntax requires a newline before the URL declaration. There can be no newlines in comments.

Auto-convert syntax appropriately

That sounds like a good idea. Forced conversions really shouldn't break anything.

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