# Should the comments be used to guide someone to the answer?

Currently I am trying to guide a user get to the answer of her/his question by asking successive questions. I believe this technique in general can be a good way to help someone learn, as opposed to giving a quick answer. However should this happen in the comments or in chat?

PRO: it shows a step by step guide to the answer

CON: the discovery process is mainly useful for the original OP

As an aside: this is assuming the final answer will be posted by one of us as the accepted answer, so people from search engines can quickly get the definitive answer if they want to.

edit: forgot the link to the question that sparked this question: Maximum Likelihood Estimation of winning points

• Is the question at issue [self-study]? Can you link to the question? – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 1 '16 at 16:06
• Oops, forgot to add the link. The question here isn't self-study and it is debatable now if a direct answer wouldn't have been better here. But in general: does such a 'Socratic approach' belong in the comments or in the chat? – dimpol Nov 1 '16 at 16:11
• A few guiding comments can be useful in particular circumstances (e.g. where you feel that the best answer might come from the asker), but outside of self-study (which is really for that kind of question - and which the linked question probably should be seen as) it's probably not the usual case. However, when it turns into an extended one-on-one it's heading more into "chat item" territory. The aim should be to end up with some form of answer, either from the OP or from the person giving guidance and hints (or failing that, from a third party). – Glen_b Nov 1 '16 at 20:57
• +1 for asking; but my opinion is you shouldn't,because comments were designed to be temporary: i) they clutter the site (visually and statistically, the latter because some questions end up getting answered within comments leaving the Q officially unanswered), ii) remove attention from answers; and iii) can't be downvoted. It is much more important that a Q/A to be helpful for a broad set of the community than a specific user. The Stack Exchange site is about building a high quality repository of information, so we generally don't want to fragment it. – Andre Silva Nov 4 '16 at 14:31
• If one still wants to provide a step by step approach the chat would be more appropriate, because the process of getting there would be very specific to OP, not the community. – Andre Silva Nov 4 '16 at 14:33