7

People often post quick answers as comments. This completely makes sense if you're not sure whether you're correct or if you don't have the time to make a complete answer.

However, I've noticed that sometimes a good answer in a comment can discourage people from posting an answer. No one really wants to "steal" the answer from the commenter. Here's an example that I ran into while browsing the unanswered questions list:

Replacing rear hub, beginners advice required

What's the right way to deal with such situations? Do we just hope that someone will eventually write a more complete answer, or is it just overkill to worry about it at all?

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  • 1
    Is there a way for mods to convert it to an answer? – jimchristie Aug 5 '13 at 20:26
6

I've come across this before and have mixed feelings on how to best handle the situation.

Most times though I upvote the comment and ping the commenter with a reply like this should be an answer. This approach depends on how active the commenter is though. For instance, if I see a question that is some months old accompanied by an answer-comment from a member that has been inactive for a while then I generally will derive a complete answer from the comment with a link of attribution to the comment so that other visitors may clearly see the answer (example for context).

Most times though, I try to get the OP of the comment to provide the answer because that seems like the right thing to do.

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4

I've done exactly what you're describing: leaving a comment that answers the question. When I've done that, it's because I don't have time for a proper answer. What I'm hoping will happen is that my comment may be enough to help the questioner, that it may help somebody else with writing a full-fledged answer, or that I might have time later to write up a full answer.

Upvote the comment, of course. If it were me that left the question, I'd be happy to see somebody else post a full-fledged answer. Maybe give me credit with a link to the comment (hover over the date to get the link), if it seems appropriate. Ideally, provide more details in the answer than what's in the comment.

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3

I wanted to bump this as I've been seeing an increase in active posters who are providing answers or partial answers as comments. I'd like to point out that even a partial answer is helpful. Since only answer can be accepted, I can understand why someone might not want to just add something in, but hopefully upvotes will show that it's also important.

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