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Low-rep users are getting around the 50 point minimum by posting their comments as answers. Comment-answers are pretty common (example from a few minutes ago), so is there any way to deal with them before the user presses the Post Your Answer button?

Almost all of the comment-answers are short and contain a sentence or two. I'm not sure what percentage of the low-rep users write decent 30 character answers, so maybe a nice message should remind them that their comments shouldn't be posted as answers:

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I'm guessing that these new users are getting frustrated that they can't post comments. Maybe displaying a dummy add comment link that brings up a popup that says that they're X rep short of comment privileges would let them know that they cannot make comments yet?

8

This is primarily handled by the low quality posts queue.

Posting a comment as an answer has a rather high probability of being automatically determined by the system to be a low quality post, and as such will end up in that queue. Users can then judge if it's actually appropriate or is in fact not an answer (while also looking for other factors).

There is also a minimum length requirement which would address certain issues such as your particular example.

Since it's really hard to automatically determine if a post is really a clarifying question or an answer it doesn't prevent the posting of it automatically in all but the worst cases, it just ensures that it gets attention from qualified reviewers who can act on it if appropriate.

  • And even if it is missed by the system to put in the LQP queue, when someone posts a new answer, it gets bumped, so it is highly likely someone will see it, especially on an old post. – psubsee2003 Jun 10 '13 at 19:50
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    @psubsee2003 For a new answer to an old question there's also the Late Answers queue, which is primarily designed to catch these types of answers. – Servy Jun 10 '13 at 19:51
  • yeah, forgot about that review queue, I don't go in there much. My point was psots do get bumped so someone will usually see it. – psubsee2003 Jun 10 '13 at 19:52
  • What's worst ? Preventing users from commenting in fear the spam or filling the low quality queue with fake answers ? – ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd Jun 10 '13 at 20:07
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    @ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd Allowing the spam in comments would be far worse. We only get maybe a few dozen non answers a day. A spammer can easily post hundreds of spam comments in a few minutes. On top of that, there's no good way of reviewing the spam comments. We can find and fix non answers easily, but there's no queue for comments to detect spam. – Servy Jun 10 '13 at 20:20
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    @ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd - Servy's point isn't a hypothetical, as we've had a rare few spammers who got to the point where they can post comments (some due to robo-reviewers before audits were in place) and they indeed spammed comments. These comments lasted for months in certain cases, because there's no review or search mechanism for new comments. Also, many of the non-spam comments would be of the "I'm looking for this too" variety, which adds nothing to the original question. For the rest, I can convert good non-answers into comments in a couple of clicks when flagged. – Brad Larson Jun 10 '13 at 20:58
  • Thanks I haven't though about that. – ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd Jun 10 '13 at 20:59
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That's easy, instead of being able to post 2 word answers (I know that one is just for example) have it run answers run through a filter. Like for example

-if it's the first answer and the question is multiple sentences don't allow 1-5 word answers

-don't allow new users to only answer 1 question every day for the first 3 days

these are just simple business rules but you can always get more involved. I'm not talking about huge leaps and bounds I'm talking small updates to make everything run smoother.

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    There's a 30 character minimum limit, not including hyperlinks. All new users posts already go through a review queue to be double checked, it they're answers to an older question they go through 2. Lastly the question is bumped to the front page in the hope that someone will re-read it and (try to answer and...) notice the answer that isn't one. There's a fair bit done already :-). – ben is uǝq backwards Jun 10 '13 at 20:18

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