Most probably this is a duplicate but I looked for some guidance on this in both help and meta and I was not able to find.

When someone is asking a question on which the answer is not directly clear, but an certain answer is likely to be true, should it first be certified by comments or is it a answer?

On a lot of questions there are many possible answers or suggestions. Since the comment area is quite small and with only minimal format possibilities I tend to prefer to give my suggestion as an answer and handle questions on the answer in this comment area.
But is this right, and where to draw the line? I see a lot of high reps doing these suggestions in the comments so I am a bit puzzled on this.

For example this link. Where should the suggestions be?

  • And can anyone tell me why I should not ask this question and it should be downvoted? What happened to commenting why it should be downvoted. I try to get a sense for how to deal with this and can not find information about it. If Meta is not the place, where should I ask this then?
    – Requist
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 23:10
  • 1
    On Meta a downvote just means "I disagree", it doesn't express any opinion about the quality of your post.
    – guntbert
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 20:55
  • 1
    Ok, clear, that does make a difference. Still a bit strange to me since I do not make a suggestion, not even mangled in the question, for me it's just about getting information.
    – Requist
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 21:10

1 Answer 1


In those cases I tend to leave a comment and vote/flag as unclear. That serves double propose:

  1. If the question is left as unclear, it gets closed until there is enough information to provide a correct answer.
  2. If the questioner itself doesn't take care about the question, it will get closed and deleted. We can't take care of something the one asking doesn't.

If you see a question without the critical information that will allow you to write a concise, close it. That way we can identify the questions that can possibly have answers.

Summary: you ask in comments for clarifications, and answer when the question is clear enough to allow you a correct answer.

  • 1
    That would in the example supplied mean that all the answers should have been handled in comments? Cause none of the responders could be 100% sure their solution was the solution.
    – Requist
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 21:44
  • @Requist all questions ideally should have a single answer that solves them. There are some kind of questions that requires lots of troubleshooting and for that is comments/chat. Comments stays in comments and answers as complete solution of the question.
    – Braiam
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 21:53
  • Are you using linux? There is always an other way ;-) It would be preferable to have all questions like that indeed, but wouldn't that mean we have to flag 75% of the questions to be unclear?
    – Requist
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 22:25
  • 1
    @Braiam The perfect question doesn't necessarily have only one correct answer.
    – Seth
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 22:28
  • @Requist yeah, I know there are different ways to do stuff, but if the answerer doesn't have the security that it will fix the problem due the question lacking a critical piece of information and his answer leads to a cripple state of the system then who's the fault? The question or the guy that tried to help and just killed the pacient?
    – Braiam
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 22:33
  • @Seth but ideally should have just 1. I'm not saying that there isn't several ways to do stuff, I'm saying that there is at least 1 correct way to solve OP question.
    – Braiam
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 22:34
  • Ah, as in "at least 1" not "only 1"?
    – Seth
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 22:35
  • @Seth if I bork my dpkg dependencies, would an answer telling me to "reinstall the system" solve the problem? yes. Would it identify the problem and provide an specific solution, no. Apply that to my previous comment about what I consider only 1 correct answer.
    – Braiam
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 22:40
  • @Braiam Maybe I'm getting "1 correct answer" confused with "more than 1 way of doing that"?
    – Seth
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 23:11

You must log in to answer this question.

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