This has been mentioned before, but a long time ago, and got closed for a rather confusing reason (converting comments to answers is not an "exact duplicate" of converting answers to comments), so I'm going to bring it up again.

I think it makes sense to have a user (not asker) option to convert a comment they posted on a question to an answer on the question, if it turns out it led to the asker figuring out the answer. We've all seen askers reply to comments with "@foo Hey, that was it! Post that as an answer and I'll accept it"; why not make it simple for the user to do that? It seems trivial to implement, and there's no formatting issues like there is going from answers to questions. I'm not sure how it could be "abused", because you need less rep to answer a question than to comment on it. I don't know if the answer's post time should be the time of the comment or the time it was converted; I think probably the latter. I also don't know if the comment should be deleted, left alone, or replaced with a link to the answer; again I think probably the last

  • 5
    Ironically, even though said question might've been wrongly closed as a duplicate, this would be correctly called a duplicate of said question. Deja vu~
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented May 11, 2010 at 16:20
  • 3
    I'm not sure whether to upvote this or downvote it. The problem exists, but I disagree with your solution. It avoids the real issue, which is people posting answers as comments in the first place. What we really need to do is change that user behavior. Regarding the UI change, I'm upvoting tvanfosson's and Josh K's answers.
    – Pops
    Commented May 11, 2010 at 18:23
  • 3
    @Popular What we need is to educate users not to post questions that can be answered in a comment.
    – nb69307
    Commented May 11, 2010 at 19:00
  • 1
    @Neil, well, comments do allow 600 characters. I'm sure there are legitimate questions that can be answered in that much space, though I don't have a perfect example handy.
    – Pops
    Commented May 11, 2010 at 19:19
  • @Neil: What about bounty? I don't have any tool to promoting good comment to answer. Other/arbitrary answer gets the price but for me it's not valuable. :(
    – dariol
    Commented May 11, 2010 at 20:19
  • @dario Could not understand a word of that. And I'm very anti-bounty.
    – nb69307
    Commented May 11, 2010 at 20:39
  • IMO there should be a feature to vote to convert an answer to a comment. I've never seen the opposite to be completely true. And it is hard to believe a limited space for comments can contain a decent answer for a question. We don't need more sand, we need pearls.
    – BrunoLM
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 2:30
  • 2
    @PopularDemand: I mostly see this happening when the comment really wasn't a full answer, it just lead the OP in the right direction. "It could have something to do with X, have you checked that?" and it turns out the OP hadn't and they figure out the answer themselves, but that clue was what got them there. Promoting that to an answer would give it new life and the chance to be edited into a proper answer for the next person to find even if it didn't start out that way.
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 19:51
  • 2
    Since the asker determines what solves the question, what exactly is wrong with the asker being able to single out a comment as a "comment that answered my question" by just pressing a button to award the +15 reputation? Add a requirement that the asker 1) confirm that this is what they want to do and 2) embellish the comment if necessary. Additionally upvotes to the comment could be promoted to upvotes on the answer. This solves the "include code on every page view" debate raging below.
    – JoshDM
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 20:18
  • 2
    I generally post comments because I'm afraid of a downvote -- or the answer is extremely short. I think that's the price you pay for leaving comments instead of an answer. That's why I think a conversion is unnecessary.
    – Dave Chen
    Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 5:03
  • 2
    Not really @Mr.Wizard; this is asking for a convert-to-answer feature the one you link is asking for an "accept a comment" feature. Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 9:41
  • Why should the asker or any other user get to determine if my comment should become an answer? I probably posted a comment because I didn't want to post an answer. And sometimes when the OP asks, "Can you post that as an answer? It solved my problem," I usually do. No automated tool necessary, and nobody deciding for me whether I should have posted a comment or an answer.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 18:25
  • 2
    @AaronBertrand Can you post that as an answer?
    – BLaZuRE
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 18:49
  • @BLaZuRE no, but if they implement the feature, maybe you can!
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 18:58
  • Here is a good real-life example where a comment was actually a good answer: How to bootstrap trust in an on-premise environment? - Information Security Stack Exchange. As others have pointed out, the problem with me cut'n'pasting is that then the commenter doesn't get credit for the answer. Commented Mar 6, 2022 at 18:04

8 Answers 8


We already have a similar feature. It's called "cut/paste/delete" -- as in cut the text in the comment, paste it into the answer box (submit it), and then delete your comment. It seems unnecessary to make this more convenient for what would, I'm sure, be a rarely used feature.

  • 8
    "It seems unnecessary to make this more convenient" is the part that confuses me. Yes, this is of course mostly possible with the existing interface (editing a comment to point to the answer isn't if it's too old), but it would literally be one link next to a user's comments, and it...well, makes it more convenient -- is that not a good reason to implement something? People act like the interface is on the brink of collapse and adding a link next to your comments would somehow greatly complicate things Commented May 11, 2010 at 17:13
  • 2
    @Michael It's not a good reason. adding a feature means that we have to download the extra HTML/Javascript for every single SO page we access. And of course someone has to spend time implementing the feature. For a feature that will be rarely used, this seems wasteful and pointless.
    – nb69307
    Commented May 11, 2010 at 17:19
  • @Michael -- first the UI is already pretty dense. You'd be talking about adding a new button to every comment on the page that would be used in what? 1%? fewer? cases. Second, there is a trade off between the amount of work something takes and the benefit to be gained -- never saying no to a feature turns everything into Microsoft Office. Sometimes, less is more. Third, the little tiny button is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of developing the feature. It may be easy but its not trivial. I could easily see it getting complicated if you needed to edit before submitting for instance.
    – tvanfosson
    Commented May 11, 2010 at 17:22
  • "You'd be talking about adding a new button to every comment on the page". No, just your comments, you can't promote someone else's comments. The Javascript is (I assume) in an external script file that gets downloaded once, it's not in every page, so it's just the HTML for the link next to your comments. As for implementation, this seems like selecting from the comments table, and inserting the same fields verbatim into the answers table. If you want to edit, you can edit the generated answer afterwards, just like any answer Commented May 11, 2010 at 17:27
  • 2
    @Michael - still doesn't make sense to me to spend development effort on it.
    – tvanfosson
    Commented May 11, 2010 at 20:46
  • 3
    @tva That's fine; there's a difference between "that feature would be bad" and "that feature isn't worth taking the time to write" -- I'm trying to make sure this is in the second category and not the first, as I think most of the objections raised in the past aren't issues at all Commented May 11, 2010 at 23:20
  • 5
    I'm all for the ability to flag a comment as to be promoted to an answer, and not only oneself's comments, but also someone else's. We don't need a new button for this; it can be one of the options of "flag".
    – Armali
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 9:08
  • But the commenter doesn't get the credit.
    – Bohemian
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 21:52
  • "...and then delete your comment." Except that it isn't my comment. 99.999% of the time I'm looking at an answer somebody else posted in comments that basically stopped everybody from actually answering the question because nobody wants to make the commentor feel cheated. The consensus after all these years seems to be, "copy&paste and let the commentor feel bad or make it community wiki if you feel bad about them feeling bad." I'm OK with that rule. But the comment will never get deleted.
    – JBH
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 10:41

I think there has been a large uptick in people using comments for answers in recent month. This is just speculation -- I have no numbers to back it up. It may be entirely innocent, but it may also be because comments are shown right below the question, so that even if an answer is no good, it is top billed above any actual answers.

  • -1. I may be wrong. But, I suspect this should be a comment on the original meta post, not an answer. Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 10:32

If we were to institute this system it is important that it does not lead to a wide array of too-short, or not truly constructive answers. There is a difference between an sufficient answer and a good answer, sometimes.

However, there is not always a difference between and answer short enough to be a comment and originally posted as such, and a good answer.

In the true spirit of democracy, preventing comments from ever becoming answers necessarily limits, in some cases, perfectly adequate and acceptable and constructive answers from being noted as such.

To allow the benefit while mitigating any potential harm, it is then necessary to put some checks or limits upon any such process of comment-promotion.

We already require self-answers to exist for 24 hours prior to their being capable of being accepted as the correct answer. And we already have structures that allow multiple votes to constitute a change, such as closing questions or opening closed questions.

If we were to allow comment promotion under the same principles it may work: Require 24 hours to pass between promotion and admissable acceptance as the answer, and allow downvoting to cancel out a promotion, say 5 downvotes or demote votes would send the answer back to a comment.

  • This whole answer seems to forget that users can already post answers, whenever they want. We don't need some complicated system of checks and balances to prevent people from posting comments and converting them to answers -- they could just post an answer and be done with it. This is for the rare situations where someone posts a comment and the OP says that it solved their problem Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 22:58
  • 1
    And in those cases where it really is a worthwhile answer and the OP deems it so, it is reasonable to include a system that allows them to promote the post and mark it as their answer. Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 2:16
  • Well yes, that's why I posted the request, but there's no need for stuff like requiring 24 hours, or allowing downvotes to undo a promotion; I don't see what the benefit of those are Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 2:41
  • @michael this was kind of my concern, that it encourages "comment style" answers that are not true posts. We do not want to grease the skids on that. Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 6:33
  • The situations where someone posts a comment and the OP says that it solved their problem are not rare.
    – Armali
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 9:14

Why do we need to further complicate the UI to save them a copy / paste?

  • 17
    Because I don't want to steal someone else's answer, while I strongly do want an (in a comment) answered question to be filed as such.
    – Armali
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 9:11
  • 2
    {1} What @Armali said. I came to meta.SE to seek out this issue, because although I'm very new to all this, I see that English.SE has some issue with answers being in comments. And I want to help, but the UI doesn't give me an easy solution. Sure, I could probably write a Greasemonkey script (or something. I've never tried that) to snag the comment that I've identified as being a strong answer candidate, grab the appropriate username to list in the answer, and paste it into an answer. But I don't see the advantage of doing it this way relative to building in the functionality.
    – Mathieu K.
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 5:30
  • {2} The only problems I can think of are (1) jokers promoting irrelevant comments to answers, and (2) people promoting comments that the commentator didn't want to have promoted.
    – Mathieu K.
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 5:31
  • Because copypasting comments containing Mathjax is far from trivial. Commented Dec 26, 2023 at 17:32

THE VALUE in converting a comment to an answer LIES IN THE (PROPOSED) ABILITY of the OP being able to do so. This would allow an OP to convert the comment to an answer & immediately mark it as "the accepted answer". It wouldn't hurt if this was done in one-step: convert & accept.

I've just went through a sequence of "unanswered questions", all of which DID in fact have an answer, while the individual who posted the answer hasn't chosen themselves to "cut & paste", in order that the question be able to be closed out as accepted. Some ELSE could certainly do so... but that would violate ethics...

Going back and familiarizing myself further with past discussion on this issue: this seems to be exactly what "JoshDM" proposed... as a comment. Josh, I'd convert that to an answer, if I could (though admittedly, I'm not the OP..)

  • How would that "violate ethics"? The person posted it as a comment. That means they didn't want to post an answer. If anything is an ethical violation, it's you converting their comment to something they didn't want to post (or they would have done so). If you think a comment contains an answer, and you want to use this to post an answer of your own, you should feel free to do so. (Also remember that there's no big rush to "close out questions as accepted". This is not a forum.) Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 5:55
  • 1
    According to this part of the question: "I think it makes sense to have a user (not asker) option to convert a comment they posted on a question to an answer on the question, if it turns out it led to the asker figuring out the answer", I believe you might have misinterpreted this feature request. Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 6:45

I like the idea, but I think the current behaviour (gotta copy-and-paste it into an answer manually) has benefits too. I propose a behaviour that has a bit of both:

  1. Click a link next to the comment you want to promote into an answer (who gets to do this? Probably anybody with a few dozen rep points)
  2. It copies it into an Answer text box, giving attribution to the commentator. (Maybe like: "From a comment by @x.")
  3. Flesh out the answer if you can.
  4. Submit.

I copy/paste my comment here :)

What about bounty?
I don't have any tool to promote good comment to answer. Other/arbitrary answer gets the price but for me (for person who ask) it's not valuable.

  • 5
    Then reply to the person who posted the comment and tell them you'd accept it if it were posted as an answer. I'm sure they'll happy to spend the 10 seconds necessary to do a manual copy-and-paste to get the 100-550 rep.
    – Aarobot
    Commented May 11, 2010 at 20:39
  • This is different from what I was saying anyway. I specifically said it's a user tool and not an asker tool, because there are dangers associated with allowing askers to promote any comment they feel like; it was one of the objections brought up the last time this was asked Commented May 11, 2010 at 23:17
  • @Aarobot: Unfortunately he doesn't make it and not valuable answer gets the price. :/ Remember that answer should be valuable for me - for person who ask for something and I should decide who takes the price.
    – dariol
    Commented May 12, 2010 at 20:49
  • if none of the other answers are any good at all then you can always self-answer and accept that. TBH I think this is just a side-effect of the contested bounty auto-acceptance feature; if it's changed so that bounties are automatically awarded but that the answer is not actually accepted then this basically becomes a non-issue.
    – Aarobot
    Commented May 12, 2010 at 21:23
  • @Aarobot: but this is so unnatural :)
    – dariol
    Commented May 19, 2010 at 11:34

There are some simple situations where a brief comment turns out to be the correct answer, eg.

  • Did you connect the grounds? (electronics)
  • Try a new USB cable (Arduino)
  • You need to initialize local variables (programming)

And we see, quite often, another comment:

Doh! That was it! Thanks!

But the question remains technically unanswered, the OP disappears, he got his answer, he acknowledged it, he is happy. But as far as SE is concerned no-one "knew the answer".

Now other people can copy/paste the answer, but then they get the credit, and not the person who made the comment. You can be nice and say "As xxx said ..." but that still doesn't transfer the credit for the answer. You might even be accused of trying to get cheap rep by levering off other people's comments/answers.

There could be two useful ways of dealing with this:

  • The OP could promote a comment to an answer.
  • A moderator could convert a comment to an answer, thus giving the rep for the answer to the person who actually gave the correct answer.

It's particularly tough, when deciding whether to comment or answer, if you aren't sure of what the issue is. If you say, as an answer, "try a new USB cable", then someone pops in and flags it as "not an answer". So to cover yourself, short, exploratory answers, are best given as comments.

  • 6
    No. There is no form of answer that should appear in comments. If people are flagging short answers as not an answer, you need to reeducate the site about what naa means. You can certainly consider down voting short answers as not containing sufficient info but they should not be deleted. And, if they are short enough to get auto-added to the low quality queue, they should be cleared out as "looks ok" because they are not low quality.
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 14:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .