I have seen a number of cases where a post was converted to a comment by a moderator, but not all of the post made it through. The last one being here. I have had this problem as a moderator myself, sometimes only later realizing that the content was truncated. As far as I can recall there was no warning given that the post was over-length for a comment. Therefore I am requesting:

A warning when a post is too long to convert-to-comment without truncation.

The statement given when convert-to-comment was implemented was:

NOTE this feature is designed to salvage "good" information from non-answers. It is not meant to be used to convert "thank you" answers to comments - they should be simply deleted.

Nevertheless both the comment and answer that I have received seem to either ignore or deprecate this purpose for the function. I am specifically wondering about this case: salvaging good information from non-answers. The suggestions to either leave the answer or edit the information into the question are not appropriate here.

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    So why don't you undelete the answer and delete the comment? – Shadow The Dragon Wizard Jan 27 '14 at 8:13
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    @Shadow I am referring to cases where the post is not-an-answer. If it were an answer why would one convert it to a comment? – Mr.Wizard Jan 27 '14 at 8:15
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    So we have Shadow Wizard and Mr. Wizard talking to eachother. Kindof suspicious if you ask me. – Cole Johnson Jan 29 '14 at 0:25
  • @Cole Heh. I wish I could claim Shadow Wizard as an alter-ego, along with his Reputation, but we're separate people. – Mr.Wizard Jan 29 '14 at 2:14
  • Just had this happen on a question of mine here: sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/72186/… – Matthew Steeples Feb 5 '14 at 17:57
  • @Matthew Annoying, isn't it? :-p – Mr.Wizard Feb 5 '14 at 17:59
  • Just convert to comment, undelete, convert to comment again, repeat as necessary, copy/paste the text of the later part of the post into the later comments by editing. – Double AA Dec 10 '15 at 5:28

If anything, we shouldn't be showing the button at all if the post is too long to convert. Comments simply aren't meant to hold information of lasting value, you should only convert that which could be ultimately absorbed into the receiving post, at which point the comment could be removed.

If there is lasting value in the post you're about to convert then it's better to turn it into a proper answer, or move the useful bits that it contains into the parent question. I realize that this isn't always possible, and that there are scenarios where either course of action just doesn't seem like the correct choice - but we're talking about a change to the interface that becomes a sort of suggestion by the system as to how the workflow should be structured.

I fully agree that we shouldn't be showing you a button that won't work - that's just frustrating especially since we know how long the post is, and how many characters can fit into a comment. I'm just hesitant to make a change that suggests that sort of workflow.

  • Tim, pardon me but I find this answer confusing. Perhaps you could clarify: "Comments simply aren't meant to hold information of lasting value, you should only convert that which could be ultimately absorbed into the receiving post, at which point the comment could be removed." How is the common situation of an otherwise helpful/reasonable comment that is posted as an answer because of lack of privilege to be handled? – Mr.Wizard Jan 27 '14 at 7:27
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    All you need to do is what is done with text messages that are longer than 160 characters - break it up into multiple messages. The worst that could happen is you have an answer broken into 50 comments, right? If you disallow converting >600 character answers into comments, gray out the option (or something like that) so I don't go insane trying to find the option in a menu somewhere, please. – W5VO Jan 27 '14 at 7:40
  • @W5VO Yes, following the existing 'disabled' style for buttons that won't work for some reason would be the way. That's how it currently works if an answer has comments attached. – Tim Post Jan 27 '14 at 8:27
  • @Mr.Wizard I suspect that you see more intelligent, well-written and genuinely helpful 'comments' posted as answers than most - but unfortunately that's a bit of a rarity. I really have a bad feeling about the UI basically saying "It's too long, go fix that and try again" which is what this basically implements. – Tim Post Jan 27 '14 at 8:28
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    But how should the situation be handled if not to fix it and try again? I apparently still don't "get it." – Mr.Wizard Jan 27 '14 at 8:32
  • "That's how it currently works if an answer has comments attached." Are you sure? I believe there is a check-box for migrate all comments on this answer as well. – Mr.Wizard Jan 29 '14 at 0:11

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