I've just read a post that's really mundane. It's one of those "just read the error message" type questions. There's an obvious, correct, and incredibly trivial answer I can respond with; but I'm not sure the original post is high-quality enough to deserve a full post in reply. So...

Is the comment-only answer ever constructive?

If yes, under what circumstances should it be used?

Prior related discussion in the meta


2 Answers 2



  • Questions that are trivial enough to be answered in this way are too simple for dba.se and should be closed.
  • If it does warrant a full answer, posting the answer as a comment makes the solution less discoverable for future visitors.
  • Comment-answers make life harder for people trying to use comments for their intended purposes.
  • Answering a "poor" question in a comment encourages another poor question instead of improving the current one. After all, it worked!
  • Answering in a comment misleads new users into thinking it's OK to do that in general.
  • Comments only support upvotes, which award no reputation. The only way to point out an incorrect comment-answer is to add another comment.
  • Comments can't be improved by others (e.g. to add detail or maintain information over time). Comments can only be edited by the original author for a short time (currently 5 minutes).
  • Comments have no public revision history (like answers do).
  • Comment answers may dissuade others from writing a more detailed answer along the same lines.
  • Comments are more easily deleted than answers.


  • If it's a good enough question, Paul White's comment sock (or some other good samaritan) will convert it to an answer at some point anyway.
  • It makes it easier to delete the question in the future if it's deemed to be clutter.
  • We don't alienate a new user. They still get an answer and a chance to reply asking for further help. They can always learn more about the site by self-posting an answer as well!
  • 9
    I created Comment Converter as way to show people how much better answers are in answers than comments. It is not intended to be used as a service (it is time consuming). Why make work for others? Answering in comments does new users a disservice by illustrating how not to do things!
    – Paul White Mod
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 14:03

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