Why people use comments to answer the questions? I am already read this question, which is very close to what I am saying here. But I want to go further because I don't get how the community uses the answers and comments. So why regulators censor answers that could be comments? Why don't ask to migrate the answer to a comment?

Sorry, it is just a specific case that was happened to me. But seems like another "no written regulation" on the community. Wich is very difficult for new members like me to get it.

Besides some "culture" of answering on the comments, that is somehow common for people censor the answers that may be posted in comments? If that's the case, why people don't do a double check (Besides that how the moderation could be double-checked?) or do feedback to the user migrate the answer to the comment?

What I mean is: Instead of using a comment, I used the answer to try to contribute a question. I advised a site with academic research tools (it was a tool to discover the network of existing connections with a specific academic text), but my answer was quickly denounced and my contribution was seen as website marketing!

I tried to use the edit to see if I received feedback from my replica. But the answer disappeared and I didn't have or couldn't find

  • I believe somebody (Massimo Ortolano?) once said that he doesn't want to leave questioners hanging and answers are more difficult on a mobile phone. Can't find it now, so I cannot post it as an answer.
    – user111388
    Oct 26, 2020 at 21:09
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    @user111388 Yes, I may have actually said something like that. It was probably referred to a time where I used the mobile app (now discontinued) and the responsive design wasn't fully developed. For some reason, with the mobile app interface, I found it easier to comment rather than answer. Now, there is no longer such a difference if you use the full site view on mobile. It's still true, though, that sometimes users may not have the time to write a full answer (see Louic's answer) and answer in comments. Indeed, this is referred to my experience because I access a lot the site from mobile. Nov 18, 2020 at 20:16
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    It's not only here; all the Stack Exchange sites are notorious for making the rules hard to find. Even when you do find them, they are arcane. Look at the big original site, Stack Overflow. There's nothing on the home page to indicate what the site is about or how to use it. If you are lucky, you'll find a small "?" in the upper right corner, and that might lead you to take their "tour", which helps a little but not much. New users will have many of their early posts downvoted or rejected. (Old users also get rejected, but not as often.) Nov 19, 2020 at 14:30
  • @RayButterworth: Oh yes, I tried for a long time to find out what Code Golf is about, but then I gave up;)
    – user111388
    Nov 19, 2020 at 15:34

2 Answers 2


(1) Why people use comments to answer the questions?

They shouldn't. This bypasses the voting mechanism; further, popular comments are often more visible than answers. The photography stack has a nice write up of why answers-in-comments are discouraged.

I can't quite follow the rest of your post, but I'll try to break this down.

(2) How do moderators handle answers in comments?

This is tricky. Some of the possible ways we can deal with answers-in-comments include:

  • Encouraging authors to turn answers-in-comments into proper answers (everyone can do this, not just mods!)
  • Move answers-in-comments and other off-topic comments to chat (the system only allows us move comments to chat once per post)
  • Linking this FAQ which warns people that future answers-in-comments may be deleted
  • Deleting answers-in-comments
  • Declining to take any action

Determining which of these to use in a given case is a tricky business: comment-writers get angry when we delete their comments, but answer-writers get angry when we don't! We had some discussion of this a year ago, and while we did arrive at some general guidelines, we generally tailor our approach to each situation.

That said, there is no automatic answer-in-comment detector: if no one raises a flag, and we mods don't happen across it ourselves, then no action will be taken. This is one reason why it might appear that answers-in-comments are allowed.

(3) How do moderators handle comments in answers?

In my experience, most are extremely low-quality and are just deleted. In rare cases, we can convert answers to comments (but not the other way around)

(4) What I mean is: Instead of using a comment, I used the answer to try to contribute a question. I advised a site with academic research tools (it was a tool to discover the network of existing connections with a specific academic text), but my answer was quickly denounced and my contribution was seen as website marketing!

So in fact, this example really has nothing to do with the distinction between answers and comments!

I believe you are referring to this deleted answer (link for users with >10K reputation). In this case, the user had asked some specific questions about Google Scholar. You ignored these questions and wrote:

Although Sorry if my answer isn't such precise. However, I think everyone needs to know this website. That is a wonderful tool to follow and do the net of bibliography that apparently you want with Google Scholar features. [url redacted]

This does look a lot like spam. You didn't address any of OP's specific questions, instead recommending a totally different tool with no justification. I believe you when you say that you are not spamming, and I'm sorry you had this negative experience. However, if you are going to recommend a tool, you need to be very specific about why the tool solves OP's specific problem. We get a lot of spam here (often for predatory tools, journals, or conferences) and so it is natural to question the motivation of those who recommend a particular tool (and even moreso when the author is a new user).

  • This is very clear. I did not see any spam yet but agree with you. I'm will improve my other contributions to be more precise.
    – Rodrigues
    Oct 24, 2020 at 16:42
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    @Rodrigues Note also that if you want to advertise websites, papers and whatever that can be of interest for this community, you can link them in chat. This would be a quite appropriate use of the chat. Oct 26, 2020 at 19:10
  • Nice. I don't know how my question went there. But I will read about the chat on FAQ's page. I even didn't knew the chat existence. Tnks
    – Rodrigues
    Oct 27, 2020 at 11:42

Possible reasons to place answers in comments (as far as I have encountered them):

  • On stack overflow people use comments to post answers because they do not want to "pollute" their credibility: they do not wish to get reputation points for the easier answers: potential employers watch their account, so this is understandable there. This is probably less relevant for academia, but the behaviour may exist.

  • People may answer in comments because they wish to help OP, despite the question being off-topic, a duplicate, or a shopping question.

  • The answer is incomplete: it includes one suggestion that could be seen as an answer by some, but the actual answer is more complex. The person who answers realizes this, but does not have the knowledge, time or motivation to post a full, detailed answer. If he still wishes to contribute or post a hint for the one who will write the full answer, comments are used.

Even though these may not be the intended use of comments, in many cases it helps OP and the website so I see no reason to forbid or prevent it, but that is a matter of opinion of course.

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