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There are times when the answer is provided in the comments. Either implicitly, or sometimes, after several back and forth, it becomes explicit.

When it becomes obvious that the OP's question is answered, does it still make sense for the commenter to provide a separate answer? Or only if the OP asks for it? Or is this per the commenters discretion? What is the policy on this?

marked as duplicate by amoeba, Community Dec 27 '16 at 13:41

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Network policy is to answer in answers rather than in comments. You're not supposed to actually answer the question with a comment.

We do tend to tolerate partial answers in comments on CV, especially when they're intended as hints/guidance -- somewhat more so than many other SE sites and likely a good deal more so than originally intended. [Some SE sites are very strict on this, straight out deleting any comment that remotely looks like even a partial answer.]

Even though we're a little more tolerant than the average of comments that would be partial answers here (and sometimes with good reason, I think), if a full answer (or a nearly-complete one) appears in comments, it should instead be posted as an answer.

We have enough problems with unanswered questions as it is. Speaking for myself, I think we should encourage the turning of comment-answers into proper answers by any available means.

[math.SE is a bit nearer to us in tolerating part-answer/hinty comments, though there's a tendency there to encourage conversion to an answer when it comes close to an answer... and they don't have as much of an issue with low answer rates as we do.]

If the poster of an answer-as-a-comment does not make it an answer within a pretty short time (a couple of hours seems plenty to me), I would encourage anyone who sees it to simply do so themselves.

Appropriate credit should be given if you post an answer that relies on a comment in any substantive way, though it's possible that two people would give very similar responses without the poster of an answer even having read the comment-answer (so we should try not be overly critical if credit were occasionally seemingly omitted; comment-posters can hardly complain when that happens).

However, if you do post such an answer, responsibility for its content is then yours, not that of the commenter.

If you don't want the responsibility and/or the reward (as meagre as it usually is), there's always the possibility to make the answer community wiki (if you have the privilege, you can simply click in the box under the bottom right of the edit window before you click "post answer" -- and if you don't have the privilege you can always flag and ask a moderator to do it)

  • 3
    +1, but in my opinion, conversion to CW should only be used when one wants to invite others to edit and complete/improve a partial answer. This is what CW was designed for. It should not be used to avoid the 'reward', because: i) it misrepresent what CW is, can cause confusion when OP does not want radical edits in his/her post; ii) the 'reward' is fair to users helping putting the information where it should be; iii) it can help refrain experienced users answering in comments; let someone else provide an answer. – Andre Silva Dec 27 '16 at 11:47
  • @AndreSilva "invite others to edit" was precisely my intent in mentioning CW above. If you're in the position of wanting to put up an answer from comments but you're not confident enough to take the responsibility for some parts of it (as when a comment-answer from a high rep user contains a claim you don't know how to prove), inviting others to edit what you put up is an obvious solution. – Glen_b Dec 28 '16 at 0:12
  • Ok, I agree. It is that you wrote: If you don't want the responsibility and/ or the reward (as meagre as it usually is), there's always the possibility to make the answer community wiki. I understood the or the reward to be a stand alone suggestion of cause for converting to CW. In such cases, I think there would be no problem receiving the 'reward' because that user would be helping the site, therefore, should/could be 'rewarded'. – Andre Silva Dec 28 '16 at 13:26

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