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In the flagging dialog box, there is a way to indicate that an answer is not really an answer, but actually a comment.

What about the reverse case? Are flags encouraged that indicate that a comment is actually an answer to the problem? If we read comments that actually propose a solution to the problem, should we flag them as "not a comment" for a moderator to reclassify as an answer?

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Are flags encouraged that indicate that a comment is actually an answer to the problem?

Sure, but it would be faster to simply @ the commenter and tell them to make their comment an answer. That's what we would do; it is all we can do, per my answer to your second question.

If we read comments that actually propose a solution to the problem, should we flag them as "not a comment" for a moderator to reclassify as an answer?

We do not have the ability to switch comments to answers; we can only switch answers to comments (and I've done that a fair number of times). All we can do in that case is simply @ the commenter to ask them to add their comment as an answer. Veterans of Stack Exchange typically oblige, but people new to the culture typically don't and we are stuck.

  • That was my core question: I knew you had the ability to turn answers into comments, and didn't know if you had the reverse superpower. – Daniel Sep 22 '11 at 15:37
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    I've thought the same thing. It's kind of an awkward social situation. There's a nice answer there for the posting - so that it fits "our" vision of how the site should be structured, but we are trained to not speak for others - let them get credit for their "answer". – bmike Sep 23 '11 at 14:15

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