I've just browsed this question, that has no "answers", but actually the question is answered in one line as a comment, and the OP acknowledge it answered his question.

Hence, the right thing would be that the comment was actually an answer, and that this answer was accepted. What do you think is the appropriate behaviour if we see this case:

  1. Do nothing?
  2. Suggest to the answerer (as a follow-up comment) to post it as an actual answer?
  3. Answer the question ourself, possibly detailing a little more, giving credits to the actual answerer?
  4. Other?

I first guessed that 2. was an obviously correct behaviour, but then I realized that if the answerer didn't do it in the first place, it is probably because he didn't want to spend time on writing a nice answer (and dislike the idea of a one-line answer). Hence I don't see why he would be inclined to so afterward, and I guess would be more annoyed than anything else.

Any thoughts?


4 Answers 4


I recently came across a similar sitution but the OP and supplier of the comment hadn't been seen for months. I added the question as a community wiki, as suggested by someone here on meta, though I can't find that post atm :-/ .

I clearly marked why I had added the answer, and gave the commenter the credit. The answer is where everyone expects to find it, so it and the question are more useful. Also, I sleep easy as I don't profit from any votes off of somebody else's work.

Actually, full disclosure, I did eventually earn the Revival badge from this one, but I put that down to karma =)

  • 1
    Pretty good option, I'd say. Comments often tend to get lost. (I also prefer to add my answers as community wiki in cases when it's likely that those would be marked off-topic for SO.)
    – devnull
    Sep 11, 2013 at 9:36
  • 1
    +1 seems very appropriate. I think the bottom line is: if you think the answerer is likely to copy-paste the answer as an actual answer, ask him in a comment, otherwise, post a community wiki. I accept your answer because it proposes another alternative than the three I listed, and you'll benefit from the 15 rep more than Johnny ;-) (but both answers were as helpful) Sep 12, 2013 at 18:55

You missed "Flag it" as one of the options!

Pseudo-answers in comments are actively harmful. They evade the review system, edits, and downvotes. They are always listed above the top voted and accepted answers.

The degree to which they are tolerated depends on the culture of the particular StackExchange.

By all means ask someone to use the answer box, but don't be afraid to flag them either.

  • It's not that bad. Questions with many views get answers anyway before long, and for tumbleweed'ish questions - few people are harmed by the comment just staying there :-(
    – einpoklum
    Jul 12, 2020 at 22:59
  • 1
    @einpoklum: I vehemently disagree, and I gave my reasons. Jul 12, 2020 at 23:15

I typically do #2. If the person helps you out, there's no reason they shouldn't get the points for it. I've never had someone tell me they'd rather not get the rep instead of copying and pasting their comment into an answer box.

I've seen others also request the answerer posts their comment as an answer as well.

  • Thx for your answer :) Note: I am considering the case when I am not the one asking the question, so the guy didn't "helped me out", but "helped him out". Sep 11, 2013 at 0:13
  • Hit him up with the @ flag and I'm sure he'll copy it over. "Stealing" the points by copying his answer just seems cheesy to me. Sep 11, 2013 at 0:16
  • Ok, thx (and +1), I'll probably do that but wait to see if other opinions are out here :) Sep 11, 2013 at 0:17

Just do these things in sequence

  1. Do nothing - For a while (you be the judge of how much is a decent while).
  2. Suggest the commenter answer - When you notice the question after a while has already passed.
  3. Answer yourself once another while has passed since you suggested the commenter answer. With credit and everything.

I wouldn't mark the post "community wiki", as I don't think, after reading this post, that it fits the bill. But maybe I'm wrong on this point.

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