Every morning I click on the unanswered link and every morning I see many of questions answered in the comments section. When this happens, person who asked the question cannot mark it as answered, it cannot be upvoted and it looks like there are much more unanswered questions then there should be.

Are there any guidelines for this? Am I the only one bothered by this?

[Update after Zanna comment] I believe this is a little different topic. What I am talking about is when there are correct legitimate answers in comments. You can even see next comment from requester saying thank you it worked. But this will be never marked as answered and/or upvoted.

  • 1
    No, it is a pain, and I cannot say I am innocent. What I would do is ask the commentor to convert to an answer if it is a "fresh" answer-comment. If not, or if the answerer does not within a reasonable amount of time (a day or so),you can. ^^^ answer in a comment :) Commented May 16, 2019 at 6:34
  • For me it's because I may not have time to give a full answer and then you get downvoted and flagged as having given a poor answer. You may not come back so you can give an idea. Also an answer may depend on info not yet provided, or be tentative. I've done it here, now. Oops.
    – pbhj
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 15:19
  • Personally, I post comments as suggestions on what can be done since: 1) I mostly visit askubuntu on phone now and writing a good answer ( at least the way I personally prefer a good answer to look like, with source or relevant links, code highlingting, etc ) requires editing, which can be very difficult on phone 2) writing good answers requires time, testing, verifying the suggestion is what's necessary. Also, let's be clear here: there's nothing wrong with having the suggestions that work in the comments as far as technical side goes; it's rather visibility and "proper documentation" issue Commented May 23, 2019 at 4:50
  • If you find an an answer in the comments, ping the comment author, ask them to post an answer, and if they can't - request to post their comment as your own answer (provided that you reference their comment - you can even copy a link to it, right click on time stamp). If they don't respond within 48 hours or something like that - post an answer yourself, of course referencing the original comment. At least on my comments, I'm cool with that so don't hesitate asking to post as your own. Commented May 23, 2019 at 4:54

2 Answers 2


Most of times either they are half-hearted answers or they are written by questioner or there is lack of communication between questioner and commentator.

Talking about my personal experience there have been multiple instances where I encounter such things. Suppose a person asks a question and some user commented "Try this" and it worked!! It might happen that questioner never returned to acknowledge that worked or many users commented on it and questioner forgot to ping the commentator using @ due to which they missed that. Another case is that user returned after few days/months and commented that, "I did blah blah and it worked!!!". In that case questioner should write that as an answer which I usually ask them whenever I encounter such situation.

What I do in such cases: First of all I go to user's profile who "answered in comments" and see their last seen. If it's a day or a week, it means they are active on the site and ask them to write that comment as an answer and ping me so that I can delete my comment and upvote the answer (bribing them ;-)). Or if their last seen is ages ago, I shamelessly copy their comment, make it a community wiki answer (since I am not the owner/author of that answer) and post that.

  • 5
    You actually don’t have to make it community wiki, there’s nothing wrong with you getting credit for an answer you created, even if you used information others provided in comments. The unwritten (?) law says: If a comment writer whose information turned out to be the answer doesn’t make it an answer in 24h it’s OK to write your own answer using the information.
    – dessert
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 19:34
  • 2
    @dessert Actually I consider it as plagiarism. As I said in my answer, I'm not the author of that comment, so IMO I don't have any rights by any means to get credit and earn reputation points from that. Moreover, I don't want anyone to have objection on my actions which might land me in debates in near future.
    – Kulfy
    Commented May 17, 2019 at 6:31
  • i'm not confident to presume my answer will be helpful, if the person says it actually was then i might repost as an answer
    – Rabbit
    Commented May 17, 2019 at 14:51
  • 1
    @Rabbit Q&A aren't only for the questioner but for all the users who might visit the site sooner or later. Comments should be used to make questions more clear. If you think you know the answer and it might work may be not for the questioner but for other person, post that without a second thought :-)
    – Kulfy
    Commented May 17, 2019 at 16:13
  • Seems like posting something that might turn out to be unhelpful might be confusing for both poster and other people googling in years to come? I like that the answers are helpful and straight to the point and comments are curious and exploitative, personally
    – Rabbit
    Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 13:27

If the comment turns out to be a valuable answer I will ask the contributor to post it as an answer and let them know that, upon them doing so, I will up-vote and mark correct. It seems to work when people actually follow-up on their own comments.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .