I asked this question on Meta TeX SE and was asked to post it here too.

Some of the answers I review on TeX SE are not answers; they are comments. Normally this happens when a user does not have enough reputation to comment.

To make things easier for the moderators, wouldn't it be possible to add a change (answer) to comment button to the review page? Perhaps near the Recommend Deletion button?

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    Duplicate? Way to convert an answer to a comment? Sep 7, 2012 at 14:31
  • Also, I love your typo: I asked this question on meat.so too Sep 7, 2012 at 14:32
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    Wait...do you mean moderators or reviewers? And I'm against the possibility to do this easily...it would make a path to abuse the system (post as answer, it will be converted to a commment anyway). Sep 7, 2012 at 14:33
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    Moderators don't always convert answers to comments anyway. Personally about 99% of the answers I see are straight-up deleted. They usually don't make good comments. Also what @Unicornified Bobby said. Sep 7, 2012 at 14:35
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    I mean there could be an easier way to flag moderators that the reviewer found an answer that should be a comment. Simular to the way you can flag a answer on the review page to be deleted. Users without the reputation to comment questions or answers can only create a answer if they want to participate. Most of this first answers are woth to be comments and not to be deleted.
    – user195253
    Sep 7, 2012 at 14:45
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    "I would suggest you to keep in mind that meta.SO is a shoot first, ask later site. So please don't get disappointed about the user behavior there :)" Ouch....
    – Pops
    Sep 7, 2012 at 20:10
  • @UnicornifiedBobby: Not really: A button would make it much easier. Sep 8, 2012 at 21:08
  • +1; I support the feature request. What is needed is a button, which on click will raise a moderator flag. It SHOULD NOT be one that would take immediate effect. I'd like it to be a part of the review system.
    – kan
    Sep 9, 2012 at 4:44

1 Answer 1


I second this proposal because the current situation contributes to alienating new users including potential valuable contributors. (I even have heard complaints from “real-life” friends over this.)

Right now, a chain of events similar to the following is likely to happen:

  1. A new user has a valuable comment to make, but lacks the reputation to post it. This user has informed themselves and ensured that the comment is really appropriate as such.
  2. The user posts the comment as an answer with a remark like “please convert to a comment”.
  3. The posts lands in the low-quality queue for some reason, be it heuristics, well-intentioned not-an-answer flags or low-quality flags after downvotes.
  4. Well-intentioned reviewers read the remark, chose delete and select: “this is a commentary …”.
  5. The post gets deleted without any moderator (i.e., somebody who could actually convert the comment) seeing it.
  6. The user receives a delete notice, possibly combined with some downvotes and a comment that their answer should be a comment (which they already know).
  7. The user is left with the impression that the people operating this site were to stupid to read a simple remark or were too obsessed with not ever letting anybody with less than 50 reputation comment. The user probably leaves for good.

I thus propose (to flesh out the proposal):

  • Allow low-quality-posts reviewers to vote for comment conversion. I consider it slightly better to list this option under Delete, so reviewers get to see all the other options (and very lazy reviewers do not save one click).
  • Delete answers receiving sufficiently many delete and convert-to-comment votes (as before), but surface answers which received sufficiently many convert-to-comment votes to a moderator.
  • Give the OP a special notice that their answer was deleted but is waiting for a moderator to decide on conversion to a comment. Do not use a plain delete notice as it may have the same consequences as the chain above if the user never returns to find their answer being converted.

Note how something similar has been proposed some time a go by guess who.

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