The answers to some questions, even when you know them, do take a time to be written down. While you're doing it, someone's doing the same thing and when their answers appear in the thread, you get the corresponding notifications. So, continuing your writing, you can correlate your answer. And it's really good because hardly anyone wants to be pointed out that their answer partially duplicates someone else's version.

With the comments it's absolutely different — you can't second-guess that they, appearing at the time you're answering, may contain the thought you're setting forth, or you're just about to do it. It is really frustrating to have had your answer posted and find out that what you took time and effort to create as a readable piece of work, had already appeared, without your knowing about it, in a form of a brief answer or a clearly understandable hint to it.

Everyone can understand that sometimes, there may appear a question which, as it was put, needs a bit of clarification, or the answer can be easily found on a certain resource. A brief, qualifying remark or a helpful link to a resource would be fine then, but not a short answer to the question (or to a part of it). It shouldn't appear anyplace other than in the "answer box". This is not only my personal opinion but also the proposal to be considered and provided for by the rules: No answers, direct or indirect, in comments to the questions.

What do you think about it?

  • 6
    I'm not understanding why it matters. Everything under the site is licensed under Creative Commons and there is no reason why you can't take a comment and turn it into a real answer. I understand that it's annoying that people might wonder if you "stole" the idea, but this is a collaborative site not a game show. Good explanations in answers are more valuable than comments, even if the comments were first. Here is a related discussion: meta.ell.stackexchange.com/q/709 I see comments as inspirations for answers, not as substitutes for them.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 26, 2016 at 19:00
  • @ColleenV - Thanks for a most encouraging comment. From now on, I'll be looking at comments the way you said one should.
    – Victor B.
    Jul 26, 2016 at 19:14
  • 5
    Not only are they not substitutes, comment answers are detrimental to the site and should be turned into answers and deleted. If you see a question with no answers that is answered in the comments, please, feel free to answer the question yourself, even if you use the info from the comment to do so.
    – Catija
    Jul 26, 2016 at 19:18
  • @Catija - I don't think I'd be able to silenсe my conscience if did so even if I knew the answer. What others might think of me (a reputation score hunter! LOL) is the first thing to stop me from doing what may seem to be a paraphrase of the others' thoughts. Thanks awfully for sharing your opinion.
    – Victor B.
    Jul 26, 2016 at 19:40
  • 2
    You can always post the comment that answers the question as a community wiki answer. If you concerned about looking like you copied someone's answer, then this seems like a good way to go, especially if it was a high quality answer in the comments. I thinking posting these community wikis is good because it prevents other people, especially new users, from post low quality answer, which can be just as annoying as comment-answers.
    – Em.
    Jul 29, 2016 at 4:50


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