UPDATE 11 October 2017
I am today, more than ever, convinced that @Arwen Undómiel post is unduly alarmist in saying: Answers is comments are detrimental to the site [sic]. The answers in comments that the OP fears and that all or some of the mods strive to delete in their valiant campaign are, in the end, counter-productive in the long run.
To illustrate my point, I shall provide a recent example:
How do I ask my friend for some of his water on a long bicycle ride without offending him?
Under the OP's question I had posted a single line comment. Something along the lines of
"What about a lightweight backpack?"
Now I don't consider that comment to be an answer because the OP specifically asked:
How can I ask my friend if I'm allowed some of his water without getting into an argument or offending him,…?
My comment was not an answer, it was only a helpful suggestion and I was also implying if carrying a backpack would be possible in those circumstances. And because I have never ridden a professional bicycle in my life, I could not draw upon my own personal experience but in Italy, bicycle racing (Giro d'Italia is perhaps the second most important international cycling competition) is a national sport, and semi-professional/amateur cyclists a recurring road hazard during the long summer months. In all my years as an Italian motorist, I could not recall seeing amateur cyclists, who sometimes ride in small packs, carrying a backpack. My suggestion was deleted, along with three other comments, which I did not read in time. Deleted because it was an "answer". Rubbish. It was nothing of the sort.
A second idea occurred to me, one which had not been mentioned by anyone else, it was an idea, but I had learned my lesson. So, I wrote an answer which addressed the OP's specific question, and squeezed my suggestion around this "fake" answer. I didn't lie, but I could not say I used this particular solution. I hadn't. Ever.
Is this really what the site wants? Users who have to contrive answers so their suggestions can remain on the page longer than five hours?
In Defence of Comments
Here's an excellent reason why partial answers or helpful comments are not indicative of “bad” or “lazy” users. The following defence and explanation is taken from an EL&U user ab2 who brilliantly wrote
(2) For some (not all) questions, there is a stage where something like brainstorming goes on. Possibilities are tossed out in comments, people read the comments and someone's brain goes "click!" and an answer emerges. Face-to-face meetings often have a brainstorming stage, before the participants settle down to propose serious solutions. This preliminary stage would be impossible if everyone had to submit a fully researched answer at the outset. Each person would have too much invested in his answer to consider tearing it up and going off on a tangent inspired by a couple of words of comment from a stranger.
This can be summed up in one word: cross-pollination. Cut off cross pollination ruthlessly, and you don't get the best flowers (answers).
The point I was making, and I thought very clearly too, is whenever a question has attracted three or more answers the OP is never going away empty-handed.
Many questions on SE Interpersonal have five, six and even ten answers. This is quite extraordinary for any SE site, and I have been a member of EL&U and ELL for well over four years. The only time you see 5 or more answers are in Single-Word-Requests. Why? Because there could be more than one answer.
Likewise, there is room for more than one answer on any given question on IPS. I have yet to see a comment from a community member telling an author of an answer that the question has already been answered. This is a typical criticism when an OP has accepted an answer that has attracted already dozens of upvotes, and frequently there is only one correct answer. This doesn't happen here. Which is great.
Answers in comments?
It is my humblest opinion that helpful comments on IPS are not meant to be answers. They are just meant to be suggestions to the OP. However, if some users are determined to delete helpful comments because they are interpreted as "answers" then watch the number of perplexed users asking in meta why their comments were deleted rise, and the number of users, new and old, dwindle over time.
IPS is not Stack Overflow, Mathematics or Arcade where a user/visitor posts a question that requires the answer, or if you prefer, the single best solution.
IPS is a different site, there isn't the answer to every problem posed.
If there was only one right answer we wouldn't be seeing 3, 6 or as many as 18 answers posted. I've been reading a lot of questions the past couple of weeks, I've yet to see a useful comment whose sentiment wasn't repeated or paraphrased in one or more answers.
For example, this question, which attracted many comments suggesting more or less the same solution. In spite of this, the OP received 9 answers, 7 of which say pretty much the same thing. However, the “best” answer (the fourth one submitted) rose to the top, and this happened despite the presence of three answers–agreeing on the same course of action–and the helpful comments.
I've seen real answers in comments posted on ELL and EL&U. Very often an answer on the aforementioned sites can be as short as one word or consist of a single sentence. On IPS a single-word-answer would be impossible to submit because the questions themselves are not asking for a one word solution.
In addition, one-word-answers cannot be posted on any site. SE, in its infinite wisdom, prohibits link-only answers, users with less than 50 rep from posting comments, and it also imposes a minimum limit of 30 characters. What does this do? It constrains users, especially newcomers, to post answers.
The main and fundamental difference between IPS and other SE sites is that answers on IPS do not consist of a single word padded out in a sentence with ten or twenty words. And I cannot believe no one acknowledges this simple truth.
There have been 520 questions posted to date (September 9th 2017)
Currently there are 16 questions with 0 answers of which 13 are closed.
The search box tells me that three questions remain open but have yet to receive any answer. Source
However, on closer inspection, it is only one question that has zero answers.
There are currently 336 questions with at least 3 answers.
of which 37 questions have at least 12 posted answers
Over half the questions posted on this site have three or more answers. Where exactly is the problem? Users are posting answers. Questions, even really bad questions, receive answers.
IPS has an excellent track record, probably the best of any Stack Exchange site.