I keep bumping into questions with perfectly good answers that are not marked as accepted or can't even be marked nor voted because they're in comments. Even if you politely ask the "commentswerer" to move his solution from comments to answers they deny any rep being awarded for their help in an equally politely manner (Hence "rep shy")
UPDATE: Added headings to make more sense.
But this is affecting the rep of the site/community as a whole, and the comments-for-answers and answers-for-comments issues must be a burden for mods for sure, the labor of maintenance and cleaning of the data must be arduous because of this.
It'd be better if this wasn't left only to mods because they have loads and loads of responsibilities, instead a device to involve the community could be implemented in the form of a special flag or another type of devised functionality.
For users with the intend of asking a question it gets harder to browse and search for answers to their issues before posting a question, because without answers, many questions are easily dismissed because they appear to have no answers, its discouraging.
Real life case scenario
Even if that user finds a question with the same issue he/she has and enters to try and participate with the hope to bring the question back to life, will find out that because of having little or no rep he/she won't be able to comment nor upvote on a question that's been dead for months in order to remind someone that he/she shares this problem and needs an answer, also making it a favorite wont do any good, so this new user will have to post a new (duplicated) question.
So I'd debate Jeff Atwood on his posture towards this issue This "50rep for comments" he defends is problematic as described above.
Not sure if debating is the right word. I don't mean to be impolite.
A better solution I believe, would be to welcome new users with the about page and prove their acknowledgement of the rules with a brief questionnaire as a pre-condition to posting questions. An "informed" badge triggered by browse-down events in the code is not enough and a stronger measure would be discouraging for new users.
A persisting problem needs innovation.
This trend goes on and on. I think it is giving the whole site a bad rep of not having answers for questions asked.
This is not new, it goes back ages.
In summary I propose three things:
- That there was an easy way to politely suggest/remind the asker to mark an answer as accepted.
- That a new flag function be created to route a comment into the answers where it belongs, giving the user a choice (either he/she lets this flagged comment be an answer or be deleted).
- And that the new users are required to read and acknowledge the about page before they post anything with the benefit of gaining the right to post comments since day one (subject to loosing this privilege if misused).
Accordingly to what I've been reading, comments are second class citizens and will be eventually force to deletion anyways. So why not force them to be answers when it applies?
I hope this doesn't become yet another question full of "commentswers" or that we get just one answer by the usual suspect saying something in the line of "Leave a comment for the commenter or turn the comment into a community wiki answer" and no one else daring to propose something different and staying silent. It is counter-intuitive and becomes a self-defeating measure. Suggesting that things stay the same wont do anyone no good.
I'm just saying we the users can help reduce mods' overload of work (this is not speculation, in this post a mod named Oli clearly states the wide scope of things to be attended by moderators).
The main point I'm trying to make is: We need more efficiency to get answers and effectively reflect the real state of questions already asked and answered. This will lead to a better community, more easily maintained by the awesome mods.