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I've often noticed that a question is answered in the comments section of the original post on English Language Learners. I haven't noticed this on other Stack Exchanges so I was wondering what the explanation might be. Are users reluctant to post full answers because they aren't confident of the information they are giving? Could it be that answers are criticised more often because grammar discussions tend to provoke arguments? Has anyone else noticed this?

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    Sure. There are many reasons for this. (1) An answer is something "official" and people want to be able to write one at a certain level/quality. People may not have the time to do their research (i.e., post reference materials and source links) and so they may just opt for a "yes/no" type comment-answer. (2) Comment-answers take less time and effort. (3) Comment-answers cannot be voted down. (4) One can post a comment-answer without having to worry too much about grammar and spelling. (5) Don't want to take a stance.
    – AIQ
    Oct 4 '20 at 0:53
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    @Kentaro I did not say "comments are for answer" - I merely gave an answer to OP's question in title. And I wrote my answer as a comment-answer ...
    – AIQ
    Oct 4 '20 at 6:25
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Speaking only for myself, I sometimes answer in a comment because I don’t know the formal terminology/rules to justify it, just what “sounds right” to me as a native speaker. Or because the answer is so glaringly obvious (to me) that it’s not worth writing a full answer even when I could.

OTOH, sometimes I’ll see an interesting comment and turn it into a full answer if I’m bored and/or think it can be more generally useful.

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Only going by personal experience, I would say your suspicions are justified that Answers are too easy to contradict. Proper grammar can differ quite a lot from one region to the next. Regardless of authoritative publications. And yes I am leaving myself as a target here because I have already broken 4 Answering rules...

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  • What rules have you broken?
    – AIQ
    Oct 4 '20 at 1:00
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    It's opinion.. anecdotal.. doesn't show sources... or effort to research...
    – user19179
    Oct 4 '20 at 1:04
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Are users reluctant to post full answers because they aren't confident of the information they are giving?

Well..as I remember when I wrote the previous answer, I was a bit agitated by some personal issue so I would like to update with more calm manner. I, the ELL, sometimes or quite often to make an "answer" since as you obviously see I am not the native speaker so unless the OPs' question is too basic or has glaring errors I tend to make my personal answer at the comment line.

But your question is about the answers from native speakers not the ELLs like me. I don't think they are "Are users reluctant to post full answers because they aren't confident of the information they are giving?", as you say, or rather as far as I have been observing the patterns of the native speakers' answering for more than 4 years, I think they seem to tend to make comment-answers when the nature of the OP's question is a bit too easy to understand as they see their own language. I won't say they are "lazy", but for sure it is better they are written in the answer form unless they are questioning about the OPs' questions. Well..this only can be done via mod's encouraging the answers, so from now on I personally hope moderators pay due and kind attention to them. Thanks.

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  • That's a broad brush you're using.
    – Davo
    Oct 13 '20 at 21:04

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