There are lots of comments that are short answer, generally under the guide of "I don't know for sure but here is some stuff" or "here is some advise" or "I think that" or "how about…".

This is not what comments are for. My view mimics mxyzplk's from RPG meta:

You should not answer in comments. Not partial answers, not full answers. Not "leads on" an answer. Not "I would answer but I'm tired/just woke up/am drunk so I'll just say this..." Not answers that you think aren’t good enough to post as answers. Not little helpful tips, not helpful suggestions, not useful anecdotes. […] Answer in answers.

What’s the best way to communicate the situation to the commenter or the moderators so that this stuff gets posted as answers, or at least not as comments?

  • There is SE policy, which mattm cites, and then there is the implementation on various sites. RPG is one of the more militant about enforcing the policy, SciFi is much more liberal. It really does come down to how each site chooses to enforce it. It's much like the Pirates Code. I am ok with whichever way the community wishes to go with it.
    – JohnP Mod
    Jan 23, 2019 at 14:29
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    Sardrathrion - Also, I dismissed your flags for the moment on mine and Duggan's comments. Depending on how this discussion goes, they can be deleted. I didn't just dismiss them out of hand.
    – JohnP Mod
    Jan 23, 2019 at 14:31
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    @JohnP Thank you. I raised those flags then thought that we kinda need a decision as a community. Jan 23, 2019 at 14:37
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    Absolutely, just didn't want you to think I just blew it off. Comments and how they are handled are one of the most differently handled items Exchange wide. Everyone has different approaches. IPS is another militant approach (Necessarily), Bicycles is looser, etc.
    – JohnP Mod
    Jan 23, 2019 at 14:40
  • @JohnP No problems whatsoever. Thank you for taking the time to explain your reasoning. Jan 23, 2019 at 14:41
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    Related discussion: Answers in comments…
    – slugster Mod
    Jan 23, 2019 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


I agree that people should not answer in comments.

We basically have these options:

  1. Comment and ask commenter to answer
  2. Delete answers in comments only
  3. Generate community wiki answers from answers in comments
  4. Answer for yourself
  5. Ignore it

Moderators have the power to delete comments. Moderators do not have the power to answer for other users; a moderator cannot convert a comment into an answer, only an answer into a comment.

Given the dearth of activity on this site, I am reluctant to delete comments without replacing them with answers.

  • RPG has a policy of removing them and pointing the offender to a FAQ entry. Jan 23, 2019 at 14:22
  • @Sardathrion - I will admit to being an offender on this one. My comment was not intended as an answer, but as a suggested improvement that could be incorporated into the answer. It gives a partial reason (Which is why I can see it being considered an answer), but I don't know enough about judo to flesh it out into a full answer.
    – JohnP Mod
    Jan 23, 2019 at 14:27
  • @JohnP To be fair, I think your comment would make a fine answer if expended a little. Andrew Jennings answer goes into more details but that does not mean that one of yours would be bad. Again, I was not singling you out at all. Apologies if I offended. It's something that has been nagging me since I am quiet active on RPG… Jan 23, 2019 at 14:40
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    @Sardathrion I think we need to emphasize point #1 from Matt's answer. It doesn't matter how other sites do it, this site is stand-alone and distinct and has its own community so other sites should only be used as an indicator. It's important that we don't take what could be considered a stringent approach based on the lobbying of one person :)
    – slugster Mod
    Jan 23, 2019 at 20:50

I think the nudge to the commenter is probably the best approach. I know it generally works on me. As to why I sometimes answer as a comment, it's usually because I don't have time to write a more comprehensive answer, and my intent is to get back to it if someone doesn't expand on my comment in an answer. I'm also very forgetful. Sometimes, however, it's because I legitimately don't feel it's worth more than a comment, particularly when I feel my answer is more anecdotal.

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