The answer

No, "anon" stands for "anonymous"



is less complete but otherwise having same content as the first comment

No. Anon is already the standard abbreviation for Anonymous, and an official announcement should not be labelled as having been written anonymously.

given 15 minutes before the answer.

I assume the comment was made since the question is general reference and will likely be closed as such, but the person answering it would have had a hard time not seeing the comment and to me it looks as a rep grabbing exercise.

Do I need to take action when I see such answers?

  • 4
    I'm not clear what possible action you might be thinking of, even if it happened to be a question that wasn't likely to be closed as General Reference. You don't necessarily know the "plagiarist's" motivation in any given case, but surely if someone recognises a pertinent comment and copies it into an answer that adds value to the site just as much as copying an entry from, for example, OED - which often gets many upvotes, simply because it's often the best answer, with or without the poster adding much of his own additional text. Whatever - I don't really see a problem here. Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 18:10
  • I would post a link to somewhere else but not bother posting an answer that was a copy of the first comment in the question. So no action needed then...
    – mplungjan
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 18:25
  • 2
    But I don't think it's safe to interpret upvotes for comments as pari-passu with upvotes for answers. I've sometimes copied John Lawler's comments into answers where it doesn't look like he's going to bother posting an answer himself. If for no other reason than that the OP needs an answer so he can "accept" it. Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 18:36
  • ...I thought it was a bit steep when someone cut&pasted an entire (quite lengthy) answer of mine, which then started getting upvoted instead of my own. I raised a mod flag which was ignored first time around, so I raised it again. I don't know what happened after that, because I lost track of it. Presumably because I didn't care that much anyway. Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 18:38
  • 3
    I have sometimes been asked to post my comment as answer. That is how I would like to be treated. Perhaps even have the comment converted to answer with up votes intact like we ow have answers converted to comments
    – mplungjan
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 19:00
  • 11
    Comments are often way too short to be real answers. If you want to write an answer, write it. If you post a comment and someone "copies" it, you didn't stake your rep on it in the first place.
    – user10893
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 19:15
  • 5
    What @simchona♦ said. I've sometimes posted a comment that turns out to be the "right" answer, but that I wasn't sure about and didn't have the time / inclination / ability to verify or expand myself. It's all very well the OP asking me to convert it to an answer, but what does he know? (given he asked the question in the first place). I don't mind if someone else uses my comment as an answer, but I'd much prefer it to be expanded and supported with references. Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 20:36
  • As this one certainly wasn't.
    – mplungjan
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 21:33
  • 6
    As far as I'm concerned, imitation is flattery. And I don't care whether people copy and paste what I've said, as long as they don't change the meaning and then blame it on me. Nobody's paying me to do this and my feeling is that the more people know how fascinating grammar is, the better. And if I answer something in a comment, it's because I don't want to go to the trouble of writing an essay about it; anybody who does is welcome to do so. I don't come here to compete for "votes" or "acceptance"; I simply enjoy answering questions. Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 2:20

3 Answers 3


When I post just a Comment it's generally to ensure that OP gets some sort of an answer even if the question is closed. I may choose, if I have the time and the interest and enough to say, to create a real Answer; but if I don't choose to do so, what I have posted as a Comment is free for anyone's use, to build in, to build upon, to build out.

  • I am ok with that, but the the answer has to be better or contain more information. In this case there was ZERO added value and that irritates me.
    – mplungjan
    Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 5:18
  • 5
    @mplungjan Well, it's in bigger type! ... Yes, I agree. But I think it's also worth noting that the Answerer assumes the risk, which a Commenter does not, of being downvoted for providing an incomplete or even erroneous answer. Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 10:01
  • In this case it was correct - which is why I do not want to vote down - hence this question on Meta.
    – mplungjan
    Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 10:27
  • +1 - this is exactly my own position on the matter! Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 22:19

I don't see any action that should be taken. In the specific case, the question is so simple that more than one user would give a very similar answer.
The answer is not a copy-and-paste of the comment; if it were, I would expect the user to give credit to the user who wrote the comment. I would not down-vote the answer, as voting is for the post, not the user who wrote the post; down-voting should not be a punishment for the user, but a vote for the correctness/quality of the post.

If something should be done is to close the question as general reference, if the question is really a general reference, or for any reason that applies.


Recommended actions:

  1. Encourage the commenter to post an answer the next time around.
  2. Copy the comment and post it as a community wiki answer.
  3. If somebody else has knowingly or unknowingly copied said comment and posted it as an answer, treat it as a genuine one. If the original commenter complains, refer to point 1.
  • 8
    I think that if someone is willing to "spruce up" the comment a bit (ex. give more research based on that jumping off point), they could post it as a non-CW answer.
    – user10893
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 18:21

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