Problem: I have on occasion run into "answers" and comments that are better suited as questions, and seen other SO folks pile on the response with bluntness about asking a question instead, adding even more noise. (Maybe this is not a significant problem?)

Example: Here is a much tamer one: What is the best type of shoe to wear for crossing deep rivers? Terms like "hijacking" presume some active antisocial intent, when maybe just an over-exuberant possibly new user just wanted to ask for help, especially from some specific person who sounds like they know what they're talking about.

I know related discussions exist, e.g.

Can we have some option of convert a comment to a question

Function to convert an answer to a new question

Convert non-answers into new questions?

Request: But in light of https://stackoverflow.blog/2018/04/26/stack-overflow-isnt-very-welcoming-its-time-for-that-to-change/, rather than rely on community comments as a means of educating users on how to behave yet adding more noise, how about giving moderators the power to sandbox such comments and await the users to return and post a proper question? You could also add this as a flag reason, too, so regular users can push such answers/comments into a moderator queue.

Upon sandboxing, notify users appropriately via email or the next login that this happened and make it easy for them to clean it up and post, with a back reference to the original question. The notification can give a uniform nudge message on proper behavior as well, rather than relying on SO users possibly hammering them with a cudgel in public. 🍻

Update: Perhaps I should have tagged this as discussion, rather than a feature request. ^_^; I was hoping to see alternative suggestions to the problems raised as well, but fear the status quo may be what the existing community will settle for as it's the easiest answer...

  • 3
    I very strongly doubt that it's possible to post a comment that even remotely resembles a proper question.
    – yannis
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 10:38
  • @yannis Did you look at this? But regardless, I'm really just asking for a nicer way to clean up comments while simultaneously educating newish users without all the pitchforks, and potentially allowing more thoughtful questions to be submitted later. Thanks for weighing in!
    – qix
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 10:43

1 Answer 1


or also let moderators decide to promote directly to a new question if it is the rare fully formed high quality question

In the eighteen months I've been moderating on Physics I have never encountered one of these unicorns. I see no need for a tool to deal with them. I think that a (single, not piled-on) polite pointer to the [ask] page is the right approach, combined with removing the errant post if it's really in the wrong place.

And even if there were such a tool, and I encountered such a question that had just been posted as an answer or as a comment, I'd be reluctant to use it. I have a kind of hope that askers of questions will return at some point to consider their answers, and that seems unreasonable to expect from a new user to a Q&A community who hasn't noticed the basic fact that it's a Q&A community.

  • Thanks. I think my parenthetical sentence there is distracting from my core request for a better way to address what your suggestion is also hinting at: a (single, not piled-on) polite pointer to the [ask] page is the right approach, combined with removing the errant post if it's really in the wrong place. I'll edit that sentence out if it seems people keep focusing on that.
    – qix
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 11:04
  • I wasn't distracted by the parenthetical that I quoted: on reading your title question and first paragraph, "I've never encountered a misplaced question that needed this treatment" was my first reaction. If you hadn't written the line I quoted, I would have written something very much like it. Your point about being considerate when redirecting is certainly valid, but I think that's a cultural issue rather than a technical one.
    – rob
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 11:31

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