9

Often I see Answers posted as Comments - sometimes I will add a comment asking the user to add an answer themselves, but this is usually ignored.

Posting Answers as Comments clearly impacts the site as a usable resource, as it reduces the search-ability of any particular search performed by a user.

There are also particular moderators who use a sock account to Convert these comments into answers.

Given all of the above, why can't I flag a comment as an answer specifically? Should I just be using the Other field? This feels like something that should have a dedicated flag option.

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    ...particular moderators who use a sock account - What are you talking about? I will admit to being guilty of offering potentially useful information in comments when I don't have the time or confidence to build out a proper answer at that moment. But I don't know of any moderators who perform actions on the site as anyone but themselves. – Aaron Bertrand Mar 15 at 11:59
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    @AaronBertrand Comment Converter as an example. I know a few others that use the same concept. – George.Palacios Mar 15 at 12:24
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    I stand corrected, I didn't know Paul did that. There are only a few active moderators so I'm sure he's the only one. – Aaron Bertrand Mar 15 at 12:31
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    @AaronBertrand there are a few more I've spoken to - in all honesty I assumed that converting was the "official" way to do this given that multiple people do use the tactic. – George.Palacios Mar 15 at 12:44
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    But they aren't "converting" someone's comment to an answer. They're choosing to create a new answer based on the comment because the original commenter chose not to... – Aaron Bertrand Mar 15 at 13:06
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There's nothing really for a moderator to do in these circumstances that you could not do yourself*.

So, it's hard to see what a new specific flag type would be useful for. The other flag types should suffice in all cases I can immediately think of.

The main reason I have a separate account for comments converted to answers is that I don't want these answers associated with my main account. Max Vernon has one of these as well, off the top of my head. There may be others.

The separate account is also useful to show people that regularly leave perfectly good answers in comments how much rep (and badges etc.) they're missing out on!

People that know me will already know my (strong) opinions about answers posted as comments. Honestly, aside from making work for others, I find it a little arrogant to post an 'answer' that will always be at the very top of the page, and cannot be downvoted 😉

All that said, I do agree with you to some extent. It would be nice to convert comments to answers directly sometimes. The reason I don't advocate for it is that I don't like the idea of posting an answer with someone else's name on it. They chose not to answer, so I shouldn't force them to. I don't altogether love that reasoning in all its aspects, but it is a tricky issue.

I am, however, more than happy to delete comments that shouldn't have been comments, so long as no truly useful content is lost, one way or another.

On the whole, the issue isn't out of control on dba.se like it is on some other sites, so I am grateful for everyone's help on that. Particularly those of you that regularly edit useful comment content into posts and flag the original comments as obsolete.


* For people that really don't want to take action themselves, I personally am willing to handle the odd custom flag explaining that they'd like me to convert the comment(s) to an answer, but I can't speak for the other mods. Also, I'd really like not to spend my own time on too much more of this - it is limited like everyone's.


Related:

8

Moderators don't have the ability to convert a comment to an answer (as ourselves or as whatever sock thing you're alluding to), and we can't force a user to do that either.

We can turn an answer to a comment, but not the reverse. The best we could do is create a new answer based on the original user's comment, but we can't make it their answer.

If you want a person to convert their comment to an answer, you'll need to ask that person. A flag isn't going to help you, at least the way the network currently works. That's a feature request that belongs on the broader meta, but it has already been discussed:

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    I'm not sure this answers WHY there is no option to flag for that - at a bear minimum the comment should be deleted as it doesn't meet the criteria for comments shouldn't it? – George.Palacios Mar 15 at 12:51
  • Are you saying my answer should have been a comment? The network currently doesn't support an operation "convert this comment to an answer" - that is why there is no flag for that. – Aaron Bertrand Mar 15 at 13:06
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    No I think the comment converter has confused the situation - I thought that as there were these comment converter accounts around AND there are rules around not posting answers in comments in the first place, that it was an obvious thing to flag. If the whole "converting" thing is unofficial (which is definitely the case as I now know), the question is then primarily around why there's no specific FLAG option for the comments. To put it another way I originally thought that comment converting was a common moderation technique employed officially by the site, so why wouldn't there be a flag? – George.Palacios Mar 15 at 13:10
1

I'm not a moderator but on rare occasions I will post a helpful comment rather than an answer because, as Aaron pointed out in one of his comments above, I may not be confident in the subject matter or I may not be able to find documentation or evidence to support my theory. I personally would not want it to be automatically converted to an answer because somebody has flagged it, as I may be wrong or just taking a wild guess. If somebody forced a comment of mine into an answer that I didn't want to post I would delete it. And that would drive people away from our site.

That being said, if I post a comment and the OP says that it was indeed the solution, I will convert it to an answer. Conversely, I may have commented a potential fix but then received no feedback from the OP regarding whether it worked or not. It would be wrong for me to make this an answer as I may have just been taking a stab in the dark at what the problem may be. If somebody takes my comment, and posts an answer that gets accepted, I will delete my comment as it is now obsolete.

I joined this site not only to help others, but to learn from people such as Paul and Aaron. We all give up our time to help people and support this site - and our moderators have to give up a large amount of time to go through all of the content. Adding another flag is more work for them and so personally, I'd not like a flag for it this - but instead prompt the poster to add an answer, or post an answer yourself.

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    That isn't what comments are for. Comments are for asking for clarification, offering improvements, and adding meta information about a post (such as a related question). Posting a partial answer as a comment does create more work for moderators and high rep users because it needs to be deleted. – Joe Obbish Mar 24 at 15:04
  • That’s a fair point and that was never my intention. I still think it is down to the commentator to post an answer/remove the comment - in this case, myself. – Mr.Brownstone Mar 24 at 15:12
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    All great, but many, many people will simply just not convert it themselves when asked nicely - This to me reduces usability of the site – George.Palacios Mar 25 at 13:39
  • The actual cost of us to delete is minor, the larger cost is the community to find and flag them. – jcolebrand Mar 28 at 18:00

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