RE: Take advice OF or FROM (the comment from Jim).

More than any other Stack I use, English.SE users have the habit of answering questions in comments. I've seen a lot of them over the time I've browsed this stack, the example from Jim, cited above, is just one example. I've seen it done by new users and veteran users alike.

A common habit is to not answer the question when someone has fundamentally already answered it in a comment. Regrettably, this is a disservice to the entire community as I believe comments are not equal to answers when it comes to search engines.

What is the preferred behavior when other users find these pseudo-answers that can't be downvoted, edited, flagged for quality by the community, or commented upon without cluttering up the question comment chain? Should we flag them for moderator attention (or another reason)? or should we ignore them?

  • Interesting, I didn’t know that answers in comments is typical of English.SE more than any other SE site.
    – user 66974
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 9:26
  • @user240918, while I find the behavior on all stacks, I find it here more often by a wide margin. I admit that this is subjective as my observations are but a single data point and not at all comprehensive.
    – JBH
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 9:28
  • Flagged as what? Such a comment is not irrelevant or rude or any of the other flag reasons. It is the most relevant of comments of all. Deleting is the opposite of what should happen. Made into a full-fledged answer, sure, by anyone. Or the question should be closed as genref, since that is what an answer-comment usually implies.
    – Mitch
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 15:15
  • @Mitch, I'm asking the community for that very reason. Flagged as what? Moderator intervention? Nothing at all? I'm grateful for Andrew pointing me to the older post (2013!) that explains the community's current policy on the matter.
    – JBH
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 18:21
  • As a new user, it's confusing. You can add comment here (after specific points earned) but initially no--the only way to comment on a post is scroll down and option to write a full page comment is presented. By the time you're here, the habit is engrained & feel this section is for those that manage/oversee the site & below comment section is for everyone else to comment. Humble observation.
    – Steve B053
    Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


No, comment-answers should not be flagged for moderator attention. This is a problem that can be solved by regular community members. Incorporate the information from the comment into a proper answer, then flag the comment as no longer needed.

Comments are not answers, so a comment should not prevent you from answering a question that meets ELU’s quality standards and is on-topic. If a question should be closed, leave the comment-answers until the question has been edited to correct whatever issue it had.

It only takes three “no longer needed” flags to remove a comment if people haven’t up-voted it, so up-voting comments compounds the issue by making them more difficult for the community to remove once the information in them has been acted on.

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