I've been noticing a trend lately of people writing answers in the comment section. What does this mean? When you write an attempt to solve the OPs question - whether it's a fully fleshed out idea or not - and dump it in the comment box.

This is not good.

Answers in comments are detrimental to the site. Comments cannot be downvoted, only upvoted, and so you can't have the quality checks that answers have. You cannot edit comments to improve them after 5 minutes. You cannot accept a comment. If you answer in a comment, and the OP says that solved their problem, they may leave the site never to return and leave an answer unaccepted, if the commenter answered with what they had originally posted as a comment.

More importantly, this is not what comments are for. Comments are for requesting more information and suggesting improvements. It says so, right when you go to post a comment:

see blockquote below

Use comments to ask for more information or suggest improvements. Avoid comments like "+1" or "thanks".

A Community Manager, Robert Cartaino, has been deleting a whole bunch of answers in comments. Let's take a look at his recent comments:

@[redacted] If you have an answer, please post it below. You don't need to ask the author if they will like your answer before you post it... unless you need a specific point of clarification. Thanks.

<many comments removed> If you have an answer, please post it below. Comments are here to ask for clarification to help improve the post, but they do not have the feature needed to properly vet whatever you say here. Comments are not for answers; answers are for answers. Thanks.

@[redacted] If you have an answer, please post it below. Thanks.

<comments removed> You cannot close a question saying it does not belong here and then proceed to answer it in comments. That is the worst of both worlds.

@[redacted] If you have an answer, please post it below. Links sending users elsewhere for that information doesns't [sic] help this site, and answering questions in comments only invites others to respond and doesn't actually help curate content that can be properly vetted. Thanks.

@[redacted] Not everyone is qualified to answer every question (but they'll certainly try <grin>). But that does not make this a discussion forum. Telling people, "If you cannot answer my question, we'll just discuss it in comments" is not how this site works. If you welcome alternative-culture answers, that's fine, but as a (presumably) Q&A site we CANNOT have the "real answers" posted below and a 2nd-class of answers in comments.

...the list goes on.

So: Please do not write answers in comments. They are harmful to the site.


And if you do see an answer in a comment... flag it! You can select the 'other' field, and then write an explanation that this is an answer in a comment.

using the other field to explain that it's an answer in a comment

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    Or, as a quick "answering in comments" is how I usually flag these. – NVZ Sep 6 '17 at 8:17
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    I've noticed that some of comments have been deleted even when they are not answers, but simply complimenting the OP on a good question and also asking for further clarification. – user3114 Sep 6 '17 at 8:36
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    @Mari-LouA : when the clarification has been added, there's no need for the comment anymore. I usually delete mine, as well as others do, some just flag it as "not needed anymore". I agree we have to clean our own mess too :) – OldPadawan Sep 6 '17 at 10:50
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    +1 good post! Err, I mean.... relevant meta discussion – Beofett Sep 6 '17 at 12:00
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    @OldPadawan When such clarification has been added, I personally find it helpful for the comments to stay on for at least some time so that the other person who requested such clarification can know that it happened. It's the difference between me getting a notification in my inbox and then proceeding to reverse a downvote I may have likely placed, and then forgetting about it completely. – Zizouz212 Sep 7 '17 at 2:17
  • @Zizouz212 : to make myself more clear, I mean I use a comment to ask OP for some clarification -> OP edits the question and all see it -> I delete my own comment as no more needed -> nobody has to read something useless anymore, and it cleans the page – OldPadawan Sep 7 '17 at 7:11
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    Well, for you, that's okay, because you yourself are deleting the comments. But I wouldn't want comments deleted if I haven't been offered the chance to know that clarification has been added. – Zizouz212 Sep 7 '17 at 20:31
  • Your parallel and very related question at ELU has become a full-fledged debate, @NVZ. I should like strict moderator action (read delete) on such comments as contain a partial answer (which the member is unwilling to post as a proper answer) but some users apparently want to retain answers posing as comments. – English Student Sep 8 '17 at 0:29
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    "You cannot close a question saying it does not belong here and then proceed to answer it in comments" I remember this one - my comment suggesting OP seek professional help got nuked too :/ – Em C Sep 10 '17 at 15:12
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    Man. I really want to write a comment here answering this question, but it isn't actually a question. – reirab Sep 11 '17 at 5:10
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    @EnglishStudent I don't think that whatever policy English Language Usage goes with is relevant here. English Language Usage is a very different site: it's about a more objective topic, it has a different style of answers, and it doesn't have the problems with comments that we do here. – user288 Sep 12 '17 at 3:40
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    I think there is no facility for making an observation about a question that the OP should consider, but is not exactly requesting a clarification or serving as an answer. Such as pointing out a logical inconsistency, or noting answers in another question that is not quite a duplicate have some bearing or should be reviewed, or many other such gray areas. I think comments fill that gap; as well as partial answers. I know from experience people DO down vote incomplete answers that may provide the OP a piece of the puzzle, which seems valuable to me but not worth risking a petty down vote. – Amadeus Sep 12 '17 at 12:18
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    Related questions on other sites: money.meta, photo.meta – Ben Miller Sep 13 '17 at 18:37
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    Downvoting comments is not as big problem as you picture, because if there are flaws in the comment, another comment may counter it and get more upvotes (and as a result also become more visible) – Sarge Borsch Oct 4 '17 at 5:43
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    @SargeBorsch Um... and then we get a third comment telling them that they're wrong, and a fourth and the comment section turns into an argument... no. This isn't acceptable. Comments are not for discussion or writing answers. – Catija Oct 12 '17 at 12:47
up vote 33 down vote accepted

So, I've been sitting and reading and thinking for some time now about what everyone's written in comments and answers here. I think I'd like to reiterate, emphasize, and expand on a point Arwen Undómiel brought up in the question.

Comments can't be downvoted or edited. That's important on a site like Interpersonal Skills. Answers here do more than just make a program more efficient or come up with a handy word or solve a math problem or make the universe a bit more understandable. Answers on IPS can change people's lives in major ways. They can make or break a relationship, a job, a life.

Think about that for a second. Stand up, walk around a bit and come back. Then think about it again, because it's important.

We can't have partial answers here. We just can't. Because poorly-thought-out remarks made by folks who can't or don't want to write a full, good-quality answer can be dangerous. If a comment-answer gets 9 upvotes, then maybe people think "Hey, that's a good idea! 9 other people like it!" But what if there are 30 other people who think it's a terrible idea but can't express it through voting? The comment gets visibility, even though it could be dead-wrong.

The only way we can combat this sort of problem is to nip it in the bud before it even starts to grow anew. That's why we need to delete answers in comments - or, really, just not let people write them in the first place. Allowing answers in comments will lead to crappy, half-serious answers that can cause real problems.

If you're too busy or intimidated to write out a full answer, or don't want to think things through fully, or think it's just not going to matter . . . then don't write an answer in a comment.

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    And before you ask us to only delete the ones that are actually bad, please remember that means you're telling us to judge the quality of content - which forces us to make judgement calls on what is good advice and what is bad. We can not do that. We can only either remove it all or allow it all and allowing it all would be untenable and obnoxious. – Catija Sep 13 '17 at 19:59
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    Thank you for writing this. I probably could have done something similar instead of basically going over it in comments on another answer here. I mean really though, it's not like you're saying something that isn't true all over SE; but the great part is you made it obvious why it's especially bad here. I find it funny that people tried to argue the exact opposite. I'm glad you came up with such a good way to explain why that's not the case. – JMac Sep 13 '17 at 23:00
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    -1 They can make or break a relationship, a job, a life ... poorly-thought-out remarks...can be dangerous Now comments can be life threatening, good grief. – user3114 Sep 14 '17 at 1:44
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    May I suggest that you use the expression "harmful", dangerous is too loaded a word and overly dramatic. – user3114 Sep 14 '17 at 1:47
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    How about an answer in a comment to a protected question by someone who wants to help but can't because he can't post an answer? This comment can change some lives in major ways. It can make or break a relationship, a job, a life. Think about it for a second. – Oleg Sep 14 '17 at 3:18
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    Be that as it may, @Oleg, with each gem comes a mountain of crap. And as Catija said, we can't pick out the pearls from the sand. We can either allow comments in answers or not, and people seem to be pretty against it. Besides, very few questions are protected; you're talking about extreme edge cases. – HDE 226868 Sep 14 '17 at 3:38
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    Are you saying you can't give dangerous advice in comments, @Mari-LouA? I guarantee you that's not the case. – HDE 226868 Sep 14 '17 at 3:43
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    Of course dangerous advice can be given, and in those case I seriously doubt anyone sane would upvote a dangerous comment. And I am pretty certain more than one user would flag that dangerous piece of advice, and rightly so, and if that comment receives three or more flags, I believe the system automatically deletes it. (I'm not sure if it is 3 or more, but mods will be notified) – user3114 Sep 14 '17 at 4:24
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    @Mari-LouA I've seen comments suggest violence (maybe tongue in cheek, but e-sarcasm is hard) and get voted up. The real problem would be advice that might seem good on first glance; but has a glaring flaw that has unforseen consequences. – JMac Sep 14 '17 at 9:43
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    Meta is where site policy is fleshed out, @Kik. It would behoove those who disagree with the current policy to speak up and say why they disagree. But this is something that has been policy for years and years, and it seems like it's pretty popular on IPS, looking at the voting. – HDE 226868 Sep 28 '17 at 15:34
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    @Kik - no, because even while people may be starting to do it less, this is still a prevalent problem. I've flagged a bunch of comments today for being answers in comments. This is still detrimental to the site, even if it's less widespread now. That just means that it's an improvement, but not completely fixed. – Arwen Undómiel Sep 28 '17 at 16:20
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    @Kik - it doesn't matter if everyone is against it, to be honest. It's a network-side Stack Exchage policy and is a fundamental rule for how SE works. If SE didn't have such strict policies on where to put specific responses, the quality would be a lot worse and it wouldn't be the site it is today. Also, please refrain from cursing on this site - all people here are expected to keep a professional tone and abide by Be Nice. – Arwen Undómiel Sep 28 '17 at 16:25
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    @JMac despite the fact that SE policy towards half-baked suggestions is exactly the opposite (i.e. don't convert to answers until the comment thread has finalized a suitable solution), my comment was not even directed at you. I am wondering why you deemed necessary to answer as if I were talking to you. – Andrea Lazzarotto Oct 8 '17 at 14:00
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    @Oleg you are allowed to respond as long as you don't take a comment as a personal attack, especially if said comment wasn't even written to you. A discussion assumes listening to the other part. Stating a policy without any chance of talking about it is not discussion. I am not against appeals to authority when talking about moderation, it's the entire point of moderation. But it should be tagged accordingly. – Andrea Lazzarotto Oct 9 '17 at 17:40
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    @Daniel Moving comments to chat is largely reserved for longer discussions - and it can't be done more than once. If they build up, they're noise, distracting from comments doing what they're supposed to do - requesting clarification, for instance. Leaving answers in comments invariably leads to side conversations and a more forum-like discussion, which isn't what SE is for. – HDE 226868 Mar 14 at 15:05

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).

CLARIFICATION

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.

Personal Experience

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.


Original Post

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.

  1. https://interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/3538/what-could-i-have-done-better

There are currently 336 questions with at least 3 answers.

of which 37 questions have at least 12 posted answers

Conclusion

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.

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    I read your edits. Still unclear to what question you are answering. This meta question isn't really a question in the first place. It's an announcement, a reminder. – NVZ Sep 10 '17 at 9:49
  • @NVZ OK. That's a fair criticism, I'll accept that. I disagree but it's understandable. In essence, I am saying that the problem of answers in comments is not a problem. The limited number of characters means a complete full answer can never be posted in one comment. But if it is spread out over 3 comments then that is effectively an answer. Either ask the author to convert it into an answer or flag it. I would like to see examples of these said "answers" in comments which have deterred others from answering. – user3114 Sep 10 '17 at 9:56
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    Surely, we flag and delete answers in comments. But saying that most IPS questions have a lot of actual answers doesn't give us the license to write answers in comments, if that's what you're getting at. I'm tempted to flag this as Not An Answer. ;) – NVZ Sep 10 '17 at 9:58
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    This answer ignores all of the other reasons why answer comments are bad. It also doesn't really take into account that IPS situations may have several viable "solutions" so the posted answers may still fail to convey the solution posted as a comment, which leaves the site poorer in the end. – Catija Sep 11 '17 at 0:02
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    @Catija if you were to ask me to give you examples of "answers" posted in comments, and I mean real answers, not tentative suggestions, on EL&U I could find three or four after a few minutes of searching. If you were to ask me to give you the names of users who most often writes these comments=answers I can immediately give you at least three. – user3114 Sep 11 '17 at 5:48
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    (Cont.) Now, I keep asking users to give me examples of open questions that did not receive answers. No one has so far. Now I'm asking you, @Catija, an expert of the site, to show me where a question was effectively answered in a comment that was not repeated in one or more answers. I really sincerely think this concern about answers in comments is a misapprehension. The OP who posted this "announcement" also tagged it with discussion. I'm allowed to discuss the concerns expressed by the OP. – user3114 Sep 11 '17 at 5:58
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    Just because we have some answers to the questions already, it doesn't make it reasonable to post answers as comments. Comments are not designed to function as answers. They are inherently less noticeable and less permanent. Also (very importantly), they cannot be downvoted. If someone posted a bad answer as a comment, it could still accumulate positive score if a few people vote it up. The only way to combat it is to post more comments that refute it; but then you have to read through the discussion to determine if it even is a good answer. It's bad practice, and there's no benefit. – JMac Sep 12 '17 at 12:10
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    @JMac helpful comments are just that, they;re meant to help the OP. They could be fleshed out into full and proper answer if the commenter feels encouraged. Then again when a question receives five or more answers the OP has a good choice and the community REWARDS good answers with rep. No rep, i.e. upvotes and downvotes, is earned in a comment upvoted even 20 times. There is more gratification in earning rep than seeing a comment upvoted. And if the comment is bad, it doesn't get any upvotes. For exampl, see my comments on this page not one upvote. – user3114 Sep 12 '17 at 12:32
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    @Mari-LouA But what if someone gives terrible advice but gets two upvotes on the comment. Someone can walk by and think "oh, people agree with that advice!", when in reality there could be collapsed comments underneath saying it's terrible. It's not about the user rep, it's about the quality of information you're giving them. If you have some advice that fits into another answer, AFAIK you can suggest they elaborate on it in their answer; so that the information is there and in the proper format. – JMac Sep 12 '17 at 12:41
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    @Mari-LouA This isn't just Interpersonal.SE policy that the situation pertains to, it's the entire site. We do not want comments as answers, because comments are designed for a different purpose and cannot handle answers. Writing a very basic comment without detail giving someone advice isn't really useful. You can either take the time and elaborate on why you think it works, or just let someone else post it as an answer. There's no real benefit to posting in comments without justification. Why would they follow advice if it isn't backed up? Basically, redundant comments aren't helping. – JMac Sep 12 '17 at 13:38
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    Mari-Lou, have you seen my meta question about how many comments have been deleted on this site? The only reason you think they're not a problem is because we've been so proactive in deleting them. From Shog's answer, as of two weeks ago, there were a total of 2373 comments deleted, 1412 on questions and 961 on answers. A good number of those 1412 question comments were answer comments. – Catija Sep 12 '17 at 15:39
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    It's not about gaming the system or the length of answers. If you have an answer to give; SE requires you to use the proper channels for several ingrained reasons (discussed in the many meta threads on the main meta). This is especially important here IMO, because it's easy to give advice in the space of a comment; but next to impossible to also justify it there. By posting answers in comments; you basically can only post an "answer" while avoiding any backup to the statement. So either they blindly follow your advice, or they ignore it because you didn't justify. Neither is good IMO. – JMac Sep 13 '17 at 9:42
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    @Mari-LouA I don't feel the need to submit an answer to this meta post, because this is more of a reminder than a question. I don't know what I would post as a relevant answer, it is already contained in the body of the "question", I. E. Don't post answers in comments. If you're trying to point out of irony of me "answering" this in comments, it's worth noting that the meta rules around it are different. That is because the meta often has discussions that go back and forth, and when kept on topic it's an appropriate place for the discussion AFAIK. – JMac Sep 13 '17 at 10:35
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    ELU culture is totally different. Quoting it doesn't add much, imho, to this answer. – NVZ Sep 23 '17 at 7:09
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    Why would we leave a comment that duplicates what is already in half of the answers? Most of the answers on that question already say to carry extra water - so your argument that it's not an answer because it's not an IPS solution would invalidate at least part of the content of half the answers. Also, again, comments are not for discussion suggesting a non-IPS solution is discussion. – Catija Oct 12 '17 at 15:22

I'm a StackOverflow user, sometimes I see an interesting question in the 'Hot Network Questions' feed and check it. Sometimes I have something useful(or just want to post something) to say and then I post an answer or a comment.

This happened with a question on 'interpersonal', I interpreted the situation differently than all the answers and wanted to post an answer because I believe it can help OP but the question was protected and I can't post. Don't know who made this decision but somehow a completely new user who answered one question and received one upvote should be trusted more than a relatively long time user with good track record on this network, very logical. OP offered me to answer a different question and then she would've upvoted my answer so I can post but this is silly and I refuse to participate in this silliness.

So what can I do? I answered in a couple of comments, they were removed before she could see them(this happened before what I described earlier) posted another comment and then after she asked me about it posted again an answer in a couple of comments, this time she saw them before they were deleted and though it wasn't as good as my original answer I mostly said what I wanted.

All of this was made much more difficult than it should be by the deletion of my original answer in comments, the protection of the question and the decision to not let me post in a protected question.

Is this an answer to this non question? Don't know but maybe it can be useful. In general I find the fight against comments on this network silly and futile, it's akin to prohibition, just give people what they want, they will do it anyway.(not currently offering alternatives to the attitude towards comments, when people will be willing to change things many good ones can be discussed)

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    You can see who made the "decision" to protect the question on the question - it was protected by the Community user because it had too many answers too quickly including three deleted answers, one for being abusive, one for being low quality and one self-deleted. The question also currently has 86 deleted comments. So, no... I don't think those all need to stay. Many of the comments (about 40), including yours were moved to chat, so they weren't completely deleted. chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/65394 – Catija Sep 12 '17 at 20:29
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    The explanation for when a question is protected automatically can be read on MSE: meta.stackexchange.com/q/109116/284336 and the general FAQ for question protection is here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/52764/… If you feel that a question is wrongfully protected, you can flag it and the moderation team will consider whether the question should remain protected. – Catija Sep 12 '17 at 20:49
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    That is a network-wide rule, so complaining about it here serves little purpose. – Catija Sep 12 '17 at 20:55
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    Does this one help: meta.stackexchange.com/a/129223 ? As the answer there states, the solution is to avoid overuse of the protection. Unfortunately, I agree that the question should have been protected in this case. But it doesn't have to remain that way forever. – Catija Sep 12 '17 at 23:06
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    @Catija Thanks, I saw that one as well and no it doesn't help. Having a completely new user with 10 rep being able to do something that a StackExchange user with > x (let's make x 3000 so it won't be about me) rep on a different site makes absolutely no sense. Please don't tell me that my comment serves no purpose, my only purpose with it was to respond to you I'm not going to go argue with Shog9 about it. – Oleg Sep 13 '17 at 0:21
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    Your point is very pertinent @Oleg -- yes, the network needs to reconsider the rule that association bonus is not sufficient to post an answer to a protected question. – English Student Sep 17 '17 at 9:10
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    @EnglishStudent No, that's the whole point - you need to have participated a little bit to be able to answer protected questions - that's the entire reason for protection, so new users who don't know the site well can't post poor answers. – Tim Sep 17 '17 at 15:46
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    @Tim No, the whole point(my whole point) is that new users who don't know the site at all can answer protected questions. Somebody who asked one question and received 2 upvotes knows jack shit about this site. Someone who uses this network for a long time is much more likely to post a good answer. – Oleg Sep 17 '17 at 15:55
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    @Oleg oh right sure, but protection is just to filter off the 95% who know nothing. The other 5% can be manually dealt with. – Tim Sep 17 '17 at 15:57
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    Oleg rightly says that the system should have more confidence in an association bonus member's substantial experience elsewhere on SE network and not treat them par with a brand new user when it comes to (not) answering protected questions @Tim, necessitating such a newly associated user to post his answer as a comment -- but again a solution to this will need a network-wide decision on this matter. – English Student Sep 17 '17 at 16:37
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    I got 95% of my rep on Academia SE by answering a protected question. I just had to politely ask a mod to unprotect it first, then I answered. No big deal. – Andrea Lazzarotto Oct 8 '17 at 11:27
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    I just had exactly the same issue on a "protected" question. I have a good answer, I have experience on many other networks - why can't I post it? So I'm stuck with a comment. – Diagon Oct 8 '17 at 19:20
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    @Richlv Not sure why we're still having this conversation, but the protected feature is there to improve quality. If you have evidence that the protected feature reduces quality by encouraging poor answers, show it. Otherwise, let's assume Stack Overflow know what they're doing WRT moderation on this network. – Tim Oct 9 '17 at 15:08
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    @Tim, we are having this discussion because the policy apparently seems detrimental to people. I did not claim (not sure anybody did) that it encourages poor answers - I suggested it eliminates answers and possibly pushes people away from the site altogether. I claimed that the "answer these questions to ramp up rep" popup encourages half-assed answers. So next time I'll just prefix my non-answer-comment with "Could you please clarify whether...". Also, adding smileys in the middle of a comment looks weird, so here you go ;) – Richlv Oct 9 '17 at 19:29
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    @Richlv If it gets an upvote, it's an answer we want on this site normally. That's a good thing. – Tim Oct 10 '17 at 11:28

By expressing your thoughts as questions rather affirmative sentences, they will become improvements and suggestions and fit perfectly the comment section.

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    Not necessarily. Just because a comment is in the form of a question is not sufficient for it to be considered requesting clarification. – sphennings Jul 23 at 4:07
  • how about something like "do you think X is best for you?" – Ooker Jul 23 at 5:58
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    "Clarification" refers to clarifying the question, not clarifying whether or not the OP thinks a potential answer is good. – Cascabel Jul 23 at 8:02
  • @Cascabel that's a good point. But still, why isn't it suitable? I think the form "have you tried X?" is common? – Ooker Jul 24 at 3:51
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    @Ooker Just because it's "common" doesn't mean it's good or desirable. – Lightness Races in Orbit Sep 4 at 11:38

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