As I understand it new users cannot comment on a post for some reason but they can answer.

The problem is that new users are unfamiliar with the site and see a text box and type their comment unknowing of how this can disrupt the site.

Is it time for us to allow new users to comment, because it's easier to deal with disruptive comments being flagged than it is to constantly have the post: "Welcome to Ask Different _____! Unlike forums and other sites, this site focuses around the idea of questions, answers and comments, so it is preferred that answers are not used as comments. As a new user you can't yet post comments but this doesn't mean you should post them as answers, please consider removing your post for now."

Writing something like that is messy and confusing, and defeats the purpose of what the site is about.

Maybe I am wrong and people should comment in answers when they don't have the ability to comment, but I don't think that is what we want?

  • 1
    Hi. I’m going to retag this discussion. Once we’ve mocked up what a consensus change would be, a followon proposal with concrete design would make sense. If you want to make an edit saying feature should be X, that’s fine too.
    – bmike Mod
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 0:30

2 Answers 2


Here’s a situation that’s totally opposite - a high rep user answers in comments:

Is this one you might look to solve by fixing comments or would different tools and strategies attack each different use of posting? (And even if high rep users don’t use comments to improve the question - is the bar high enough for comments?

  • There does seem to be a need for a feature where a comment can be promoted to an answer by the original user or someone with suitable reputation, because there are plenty of times when people have commented "have you rebooted" followed by the user saying "Thanks so much that worked"... In this case it would be good to promote that as the official answer rather than reposting the same content. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 11:24
  • @unknowndomain Your example here "reboot" is a bad fit as it's usually borderline for improving the Q. (And usually not a real answer to a really good question anyway) For more elaborate answers in comments, read here, and keep in mind that it is considered a good practice to use the comment's content and use it for your own answer, as it was a comment in violation of the design. I would wait a few hours and attribute the source, but that courtesy is optional. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 11:38

Unlike forums and other sites, this site focuses around the idea of questions, answers and comments, so it is preferred that answers are not used as comments.

I guess that the first part of that is seen as a misconception. The correct/"official" take on this is "this site focuses around the idea of questions and answers". No comments at this stage. Comments do make this more like forum, especially if "abused". But comments are volatile, ephemeral and subject to deletion at any time.

This proposal of lowering the comment privilege threshold would primarily increase the amount of comments, among that increase would also be bad comments. Bad comments are chatty, thanks, not about improving the the post they are under. That happens. I like some of those a lot since they provide a channel of communication not otherwise present. But it is frowned upon and contrary to the site's design. I guess a lowered threshold would likely tend to increase the problem. That does not mean I would be totally against lowering thresholds.

New users typing text into a wrong box is one problem, old users doing the same under different circumstances the other side of the same medal. It seems to me that new users that stick around are much quicker learners in that regard that "do not put comments into answers" is actually followed than older users that still "answer in comments".

I do not have that much insight on absolute numbers. Therefore I cannot estimate reliably how disruptive the problem you identify really is. But the current solution to it is flag the post for deletion or conversion into a proper comment. That's work for the mods. They seem swift about it.

If you strive to be really helpful to the new user and comment on "answers that are really just comments" yourself, teaching them the ropes, then your struggle with repetitive typing might e reduced by having a text snippet prepared for that occasion. That reduces the messiness quite a bit. It's then not typing but copying that bit you already wrote here.

  • I have nearly entirely stopped using flags because the moderators often reject them and there is no recourse. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 11:21
  • @unknowndomain Well, "that" happens to me as well, sometimes. But that would be probably a different problem? It might be of benefit to include an example of a comment in answer post that survived your flag in your question. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 11:26
  • @unknowndomain Please feel free to ask here in meta if you have some examples of flags we've rejected. We may be able to shed some light on why they've been rejected and it'd also serve to help educate others. As an aside, the most common flag I see users get wrong is the Not an answer flag. If you haven't already seen it, it may be worth checking out Why was my flag for Not an Answer declined.
    – Monomeeth Mod
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 22:29

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