I just went through the close review queue and found the following questions which are typical of a problem I've been seeing recently:

Neither question has any upvotes, both have close votes, both have answers in the comments, both have thank you messages from the OP stating that their question has been answered (by said comments).

Am I right in thinking that a question should either be answered or closed, but not both? I see users, often with very high rep providing answers in comments.

I keep hearing the same arguments against answering in comments:

  • Comments bypass the quality controls because they can't be downvoted
  • Comments can't be accepted as an answer forcing the next user to read the comment chain to find the answer (something that annoys me about most non-Stack Exchange Q&A sites because most comments are irrelevant to the answer)

Also, from what I've seen, if the question has been correctly answered (either in an answer or a comment) people are less likely to post an(other) answer.

Is there any reason why these arguments are invalid on English.SE? Is answering in comments acceptable? If not, how do we encourage users to stop doing it?

  • A couple of years old now, but relevant here: Answers in comments. See option 3. (Some numbered options have since been deleted, so 10k rep is needed to see what they were)
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Feb 15, 2020 at 8:00
  • 1
    I've really got to agree with english.meta.stackexchange.com/a/11335/73636. Much more fleshed out than what I wrote above.
    – CJ Dennis
    Feb 15, 2020 at 8:30
  • 1
    The answer by @AndrewLeach was up-voted two and half times more than the answer with which you agree. Lawrence's answer was also slightly more popular than that answer. Yes, it is acceptable (to this statistical majority) to fully answer questions in comment, on occasion. And if that is possible, then it probably conveys something about the kind of question that was asked.The main difference between EL&U and a good many other sites is the very high traffic experienced. And ways have been devised of dealing with that very high traffic.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 15, 2020 at 13:21
  • 1
    @NigelJ I don't have the privelege, so can you share how many votes AndrewLeach's answer received in total?
    – JRodge01
    Mar 5, 2020 at 20:21


Browse other questions tagged .