What do you think about promoting an answer via a comment on the question? I have seen this a few times, but just came across: Python Remove last 3 characters of a string

noctis's answer is best. just saying.

We could assume that the comment was written because the accepted answer is not the most upvoted, and they are hoping to get the user to accept the other answer. However, my understanding is that the recommended approach is to leave a comment on the accepted answer, pointing out any issues and mentioning the preferred answer.

While it is benevolent, the author doesn't try to justify the comment at all. Would you flag this comment? And, regardless of the example, what are your thoughts on promoting answers this way?

  • 1
    If a reason is left as to why a certain answer is best then I don't see any problem with it. But without adding those details, such as in the linked comment, I think it's a useless comment. However, IMHO, I don't think it's worth flagging. It should probably just be ignored.
    – codeMagic
    Mar 2, 2014 at 5:04
  • Leave a comment if you think the question is worth downvoting. I don't learn anything from losing 2 rep.
    – Honest Abe
    Mar 2, 2014 at 6:02

2 Answers 2

  • It doesn't seem wrong to leave a comment stating that a particular answer is better or best. The OP could have perhaps added the reason for saying so but not adding that doesn't really make it a useless comment. (Many might find it obvious given the different answers.) That said, the comment doesn't seem like anything to be flagged.
  • It's not uncommon to see an obviously flawed (not necessarily incorrect) answer being marked as the accepted one. One could chose to downvote the not-so-correct accepted answer and probably leave a note there. At the same time, one might want to tell the OP that the chosen answer isn't quite the best choice.
  • What would constitute as wrong, spammy, chatty would be someone commenting "Hey, check out my answer", "My answer is better".

In this specific case, the note isn't spammy. It correctly says one of the answers is better:

>>> foo = 'Bs42\tfoo bar'
>>> foo.replace(' ', '')[:-3].upper()    # Accepted answer
>>> ''.join(foo.split())[:-3].upper()    # Other answer

You would see that the accepted answer doesn't really remove the whitepsace whereas the other one does.

  • Someone points out the white-space issue via a comment on the accepted answer; and the votes indicate the community's opinion of what is "best".
    – Honest Abe
    Mar 2, 2014 at 20:30
  • @HonestAbe Have you heard of the "herd effect"? Community votes aren't always the right indicator. That was another reason I mentioned that the comment in this case, at least, wasn't wrong. It's not wrong to tell that people have probably been wrong in their judgement in a given case.
    – devnull
    Mar 2, 2014 at 20:35
  • The "herd effect" doesn't apply in this case and the unsupported claim "x answer is best" wouldn't educate the herd even if it did. This is a case where the question used phrasing that was overkill (they actually only cared about spaces); therefore, I don't see any reason for the accepted answer to be changed. Arg... this example is getting in the way of the general discussion I was hoping for (lesson learned).
    – Honest Abe
    Mar 2, 2014 at 21:01

I wouldn't flag a comment that said something like that. Users can leave whatever comments they want. It seems that users that would leave a comment like that on the question are just trying to help people who view the question. So that these new visitors do not waste their time trying the poor answer that was accepted and can instead go straight to the best answer.

If I were to flag a comment such as that, it would be because I noticed 2 things :

  1. I thought the user was definitely wrong about that answer being the correct one.


  2. I went through their account and I saw a pattern of this sort of behavior where it seemed that they were intentionally or unintentionally misleading people into thinking poor answers were the best answers.

I would then flag one of their comments, and use a custom reason, explaining that this user is a troll, causing harm to the site, etc. I'd link to a few examples and then let SE employees/mods take care of the situation from there.

If the user didn't have a pattern of this, I would just reply to his comment with my own comment stating why I think he/she is incorrect.

  • Flagging comments is not about whether you think they are correct or not. It's to say the comment is not appropriate: abusive, chatty, not constructive... Generally, flagging is not to be used to state correctness - this is what up/down votes are for.
    – Szymon
    Mar 2, 2014 at 8:49
  • Ok, when both are true, it makes more sense.
    – Szymon
    Mar 2, 2014 at 19:58

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