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On multiple occasions, I have realized that good and correct answers are provided directly via comments. Thus, leaving the question unanswered or/and loosing out on good answers, as the user tends to delete the comments later on.

For example this, where even other Stack Overflow users agree. Is there a solution to this?

I don't have anything against any specific user. I just wish all good answers are kept for future references, not deleted via comments.

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Annoying isn't it? Comments are the poor cousin of answers as they are difficult to spot, hard to search, and are not subject to the voting peer review process. A sort of etiquette where you ought not copy comments into an answer of your own formulation has also grown up over the years.

So considering all this, when I spot a comment that clearly has the potential to be a valuable answer, I tend to

  1. Prompt the user with a comment to the effect of "Please use the answers section for answers"

and if that fails to solicit a response,

  1. Copy the comment into an answer of my own, and mark it community wiki.

  2. Flag the comment as obsolete.

  • .@Bathsheba - Yes, it's annoying. I have used suggested method 2 earlier, but since I was new to Stack Overflow, didn't mark it as community wiki. Instead, I gave credit in the answer section here. For method 1 and 2, either the commenter deletes the comment or never responds. – Chetan Arvind Patil Jul 27 '17 at 15:22
  • Note that I've applied the fix to the comment you've cited in your question. Already an expert has edited the answer, and it has an upvote. The comment is yet to be removed, but the mods will do that. – Bathsheba Jul 27 '17 at 15:26
  • .@Bathsheba - Shouldn't the comment I responded to be kept as it's? Else, the comment I wrote is redundant too. May be in future if someone reads comments like mine, they may consider avoiding answering in comments. – Chetan Arvind Patil Jul 27 '17 at 15:30
  • @ChetanArvindPatil: I don't think so. We are all involved in building a Q & A repository, and leaving too many comments lying around doesn't help that. – Bathsheba Jul 27 '17 at 15:34
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    -1 for posting as an answer, and not answering in comments – Servy Jul 27 '17 at 15:37
  • @Servy: Classy. – Bathsheba Jul 27 '17 at 15:38
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    @Bathsheba - This happened again here. – Chetan Arvind Patil Aug 8 '17 at 16:56
  • It's important to turn to the question to check if 1 works or not. This can be a cognitive burden. I wish we had a convenient built-in reminder in Stack Exchange. – Ooker Aug 11 '17 at 18:11
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There a lot of low quality questions on Stack Overflow (among other Stack Exchange sites). A good portion of those questions are well-intended but really lack in research effort. It's fairly common for users who don't judge the question as adding anything to the community (i.e. not worth being preserved for the long-term) to not post an official answer but to still be helpful to the OP via comments.

  • .@faintsignal - Your argument mainly applies to new users and we shouldn't be unfair to them. It takes time for users to adapt to Stack Exchange's need of well researched question. There is a reason why edit options are present both for the question and the answer section. Veteran users can help by editing if they see it is a new user, rather than getting away with answering in comments. – Chetan Arvind Patil Jul 27 '17 at 22:41
  • @ChetanArvindPatil I'm not sure how you conclude that users who help out an OP in comments are being "unfair to them". I've seen plenty of posts where a veteran and novice have productive back and forth in comments leading to the OP better grasping the question topic. In fact, on stacks such as SO, this is actually more helpful than some answer posts which simply spoon-feed a solution without helping the OP build their skill set. Further, if the post is significantly lacking in research effort, how do you intend to remedy that by editing the question? – faintsignal Jul 28 '17 at 2:37

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