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This question is in some ways the inverse of Add a feature to migrate a comment into an answer .

A mistake I see many new users make on their questions is to respond to comments on their questions by posting an "answer" which should be either a follow-up comment or, if it's longer (e.g. adding sample code) as an edit to their question. They do this because they do not realize they can edit questions.

I participate on a different Q&A site which runs an open-source Q&A site framework, and it has (for users with enough rep) a "repost answer as comment" button:

screenshot of "repost as a question comment" button

For SE the above might not work as-is, since many (non-)answers could be too long to be a comment. There could be both options: for short non-answers they could be re-posted as a comment. For longer non-answers it could automatically append an edit to their question with some appropriate text indicating where the edit came from. Something like:

Updated (dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm via migration from answer):

[text of non-answer follows]

This can be done manually of course, but I see this problem often enough that it might be helpful to have an automated approach.

Or, if nothing else, perhaps a tool-tip/flash notice to new-users when they are about to post an answer to their own question that they can also edit their question to provide new information.

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    Yes - there is a flag reason and mods can do it. – Script47 Oct 17 at 10:49
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    @Script47 Making it possible for a non mod to do this (perhaps after it has had enough NAA flags) would streamline things, though. – Raedwald Oct 17 at 10:59
  • @Raedwald sure, no doubt about that but I was just answering the question in the title. – Script47 Oct 17 at 11:03
  • @Script47 I know there is a flag, but is there an automated way for even a mod to do it? Regardless, as someone who has edit privileges but not yet full moderator privileges I can edit somone's question to include the contents of the answer, but I can't then remove the answer. I agree deleting answers should require higher privileges in general, but maybe as part of a migration it should be okay. – Iguananaut Oct 17 at 12:06
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    It's indeed a two-click automated action for moderators. – Glorfindel Oct 17 at 12:29
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Moderators already have a two-click automated action to convert an answer to a comment and (if the author of the question posted the answer) to an edit to the question. They probably have this because they can single-handledly decide to delete the answer as well. Otherwise you'll get situations where the information is in two places, potentially leading to separate back-and-forth comments, which is rather confusing (especially to new users). So I think it's fine to have this remain a mod-only ability. (But maybe ♦ moderators on larger sites can convince me otherwise.) Other users can just flag them as Not An Answer, or perhaps more importantly: post a (polite) comment teaching the author that they should do something else than posting a non-answer. The AutoReviewComments userscript has a few standard comments which are applicable for these cases.

Or, if nothing else, perhaps a tool-tip/flash notice to new-users when they are about to post an answer to their own question that they can also edit their question to provide new information.

This already happens: on other user's questions, the box to write your answer is already visible below the question; to answer your own question, you first have to click the button and then you get a popup:

enter image description here

  • "This already happens: on other user's questions, the box to write your answer is" Ah, thanks. I guess it's been long enough since I've answered one of my own questions that I've never seen this. Which raises the question, "How do so many people miss that??" We may never know... – Iguananaut Oct 18 at 8:57

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