While reviewing "Low Quality Posts", often I used to see answers in 2 categories

  1. Answers referring to a 3rd party site or other questions in Stack Exchange.
  2. Answers referring some sort of suggestions or clarification.

[Sometimes these answers escapes from Answer appears automatically converted as a comment]

So I used to go for "Recommended Deletion" options marking these answers as

  1. This is commentary on another post, not an answer
  2. This is link-only answer(not a spam)

Though they're not welcomed, Sometimes these links and suggestions are helpful in solving problems.

Therefore I have a suggestion, instead of deleting these 2 types answers can we convert them into comments for the question itself?

Here is an image for good understanding of my thoughts,

enter image description here

I'm completely aware that users with 10K+ reputations can see these answers and users with less than 50 reputations can't comment to other's question. But somehow we should try to implement this feature

  • 5
    That would be really useful +1
    – 911
    Apr 3, 2014 at 6:58

2 Answers 2


No, please no.

Here are all the link-only answers from my first page of recent flags;

My problem is that if we converted all of these answers to a comment, they would be forever pinned above all the other (better, non-link-only) answers on the question, below the question.

Every question shown above has other answers to the question; we don't lose a solution to a question by removing link-only answers 9 times out of 10. By persisting the link as a comment however, we do introduce noise, in the worst possible place on the screen.

The only situation I'd consider converting the link-only answer to a comment is where the link-only answer is the only answer to a question, however:

  1. Deleting the only-answer would add the question to the /unanswered page again, and give it the exposure of getting answered by someone else (properly)
  2. Whilst the question would lose a solution in getting deleted, chances are, Stack Overflow would have another question with a solution on it (don't we love duplicates!)
  3. The Internet will have a solution; that link had to go somewhere.

... and all of this taken into account, it takes a really good (?) link-only answer in a unique situation for me to want to see it converted to a comment, rather than simply deleted.

  • worth noting that this place being "worst possible" is because comments aren't condensed
    – gnat
    Apr 3, 2014 at 9:07
  • 1
    Following your reasoning, the current automatic and moderator answer to comment conversion are both a really bad idea ... and so is commenting in general (???) ... or comments are just in the wrong place / displayed incorrectly (... which really doesn't make sense as a reason here IMO) - either way, either this is not representative of SE, or they're just contradicting themselves again. May 17, 2014 at 21:15
  • @Dukeling: I would go as far to say yes, the automatic conversion is a bad idea. I've seldom seen moderators convert link-onlys to comments; more-often-than-not they just delete them outright, so I wouldn't drag that functionality into this. In terms of whether it's SEs representation opinion or not... see here and here.
    – Matt
    May 19, 2014 at 9:38

I've been thinking about this.

I would like to see this implemented, but only for link-only answers, and not for answers that should be a comment on someone's post.

Reasoning behind this:

  • Often link-only answers are a solution to the problem. Deleting those answers in-review deprives the question of a possible solution, and means losing information. That's not good. Currently, that's what happens when answers are deleted in-review.
  • Currently the post gets deleted. There's no situation worse than that one as the information is lost (anyway for everyone not registered or with less than 10K reputation). Converting the post to a comment solves that problem. Matt has raised a point about answers converted to comments cluttering the comments section, but there are two possibilities: the link-only answer does address the question or the link-only answer does not address the question.
    • If the link-only answer does address the question, I wouldn't define converting it to a comment as "cluttering the comments section", as I wouldn't really define a link that addresses the question as junk.
    • If the link-only answer does not address the question, then you're choosing the wrong reason for the deletion, and you should rather be choosing "not an answer". When you're voting to delete an answer because it's a link-only answer you should be implicitly stating that that is an answer, although it only contains a link. If you're not implicitly stating that, then the post falls out of the definition of "link-only answer": it should be deleted as "not an answer".
  • Another point that Matt raised is that the question wouldn't show up again as unanswered. I'm not sure why that would be the case, as the proposal is to make the option still delete the answer along with posting a comment. That is, plainly as it is right now, simply additionally adding a comment containing the content of the answer under the question. The question would show up again as unanswered, as the only answer would be deleted: the only difference being that then someone more diligent could pick up the comment and make a proper answer out of it.
  • On why not implementing this for answers that should be a comment on someone's post: I agree that sometimes it could be useful to convert those answers to comments as well, however doing that properly faces way more complications: under whose post should the NaA be converted as a comment? What if two reviewers vote differently, should there be a voting system like the duplicate system to decide under whose post the NaA should be converted as a comment? That just looks too complicated. IMO we should pass on that, at least for now.
  • If assignment a comment to one of answers/question is not trivial to implement, it doesn’t mean that it is not a good idea. However it could be moved to different question/change requests, that will described the process of assigning(e.g. just paste “share link”) Oct 13, 2018 at 12:22

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