In this question the real beauty of the accepted answer is in the detailed comments that the respondent left in response to probing questions (also in the comments).

Would moving those responses (and maybe even editing them for punctuation, capitalization) into the actual answer be an acceptable edit or should we prod the respondent to do it themselves?


I made the edits including adding a few words to make it flow as if it were the original response and added a comment saying I did that.

4 Answers 4


Totally acceptable. Give some credit to the commentators and all, but go ahead and do it.

  • 3
    They're all under a CC Attribution license, so attribution is required.
    – pgs
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 17:26
  • That's what I mean by "give some credit." Anyway, the comments are still going to be there, and the short form of the CC-BY clause says "You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor," and I take for granted that a comment on an answer can be considered an addition to the answer, so I take the permission as given to just say "as commented by several people below" and not having to mention every single one of them by name.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 17:37
  • Even when merging comments from others, I often only mention that in the revision comments. Do you think that's not enough, as for attribution? (I most often merge comments from the original author into their own post, so then attribution doesn't apply. Still then, just in case the comment is deleted or not seen by others, I mention that in the revision comment too.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 5:43

By all means, edit it. You're making a stronger answer out of it, and you can always reference the comments themselves. Don't bother prodding the author to do it; just take care of it yourself.


I had an interesting experience doing this.

In my post, byte + byte = int… why?, I was asking why math operations on bytes were implicitly upcast to int in C#. Eric Lippert posted some pretty good insights in the comments section. [Eric is a senior developer on the Microsoft C# compiler team, by the way.] So I posted his comments as an answer.

The original comment was very well received (33 upvotes) but, when posting it as an answer, it got railed on pretty good. I'm not sure why there was such a change in attitude from the original comment to an answer post. I can only imagine the answer got undue attention being called out and re-posted by the original poster (me) so people reacted defensively.

Whether I was justified or not, I ended up deleting the post. It just didn't feel right that he wasn't there to defend an answer he did not actually submit.

  • I also think you should have posted it as wiki so you wouldn't get reputation for posting someone else's words.
    – mmyers
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 15:53
  • 1
    Yes, that would have been a good idea. I didn't think of that. There were specific requests in the comments to repost it as an answer and I waited a long time to give the author a chance to repost. But since, I ended up reposting it, it should have been posted as a wiki. Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 15:58
  • In this case I was appending the comments from the same respondent's answer into the body of his answer so the authorship didn't change. He should get rep for his detailed response. It just should have all been in the answer and not in comments. Kudos go, too, to the questioner who kept asking for clarification.
    – Rob Allen
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 16:02

Is it acceptable for someone to move an author's comments into their answer?

Generally yes, but be reasonable about the timing, otherwise it can be seen as aggressive.

Using your as an example, if several weeks had elapsed since Remus and Scott had their comment-discussion, then it’s safe to assume that they have moved on and forgotten about the question/answer. In that case, there’s nothing wrong with adding the extra information from their comments into the answer (and certainly nothing wrong with making the grammar/flow fit).

However, you merged the comments into the answer only half-a-day later. Perhaps Remus was already going to add it, but had not gotten around to it because he had gone to bed/work. In that case, your jumping in like that might feel intrusive. It may have been better at that point to suggest that Remus do it himself. If after a few weeks, he still hadn’t, then it’s open season.

  • Ironic about the "reasonable about timing" since the question is three years old ;) A "few weeks" is a far longer time than I think is reasonable to wait. Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 2:31
  • @Dave, >the question is three years old so? Has the issue become extinct. >A "few weeks" is a far longer time than I think is reasonable to wait. Fine, one week. Even the library gives you a week to pick up a hold before canceling it and offering it to the next person in the queue, because they realize that not everybody does everything the same or on the same schedule.
    – Synetech
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 2:39
  • Chill--you see that smiley face? You know what it means? Although I'd say the question was satisfactorily answered, yes. IMO a week is also more time than necessary. YMMV. No reason to get upset--AFAIK I'm allowed to disagree. Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 3:04
  • Hmm, strange. o.O I didn’t notice any exclamation points in my answer or comment.
    – Synetech
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 3:10
  • Tone is more than punctuation. If I misinterpreted, fine; I'm okay with that too. Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 3:17
  • I disagree about waiting, and I often merge comments within minutes. If the commenter is at a computer to post a comment, they could also have edited their post. So, if they didn't, then I don't expect them to do it a later time either. (Of course, if the comment is not definitive, like still open for debate, then things are different, but then I would never merge a comment into a post.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 5:39
  • @Arjan, and how do you know when the discussion is complete? Jumping in and merging comments during the discussion is definitely intrusive. Imagine if you did that in person. In this case, Rob merged the comments only 14 hours after the last comment. Just because there was a lull in the discussion does not mean it was complete and ready to be packaged.
    – Synetech
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 16:41
  • That might be true for that very specific example, if it's indeed a discussion and there's no definitive outcome. (Though even then one could consider taking only the author's comments?) But it's not true in the general case, I feel. Very often a question asker or answerer does not merge their additional information into the post. Let's help then, I'd say.
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 16:48
  • @Arjan, my point is that you need to be sure, one way or another, that they are not doing it. So long as it's clear they have moved on, then there's nothing anyone can complain about; otherwise it might be a slight. (Have you never been in the middle of doing or saying something and had someone (parents, spouse, friends, etc.) suddenly step in and do something/start talking and then say that they thought you were done. It can be pretty frustrating, and possibly even insulting.)
    – Synetech
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 18:32
  • I don’t know why you were so stubborn to down-vote. I didn’t say it was not acceptable, just that you should be reasonable when doing so. :roll:
    – Synetech
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 6:32

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