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I just joined this site today. After looking through the first page of questions, I see that many of the questions are answered, but just as a comment (see end of post for list). I understand that even though this is not recommended, there are reasons why users do not wish to post a full answer. Is it worth it doing something to boost the answered question count? For example, I could:

  • Expand comments into answers myself.

  • Leave a comment suggesting to the commenter to post his comment as an answer.

  • Do nothing.

Personally, since this site is currently in Beta, and since the fact that many questions go unanswered is currently being used to argue that this site is having problems, I would prefer to do choice #1. I mean, I am obviously allowed to do so. However, I just wanted to gauge, would this be in line with the direction of this site?

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  • If my experience on other SE sites applies here, part of the reason people do this is because short partial answers attract down votes, while comments can't be downvoted. (I'm not justifying answering in comments, only observing a possible cause.) – I say Reinstate Monica Nov 16 '18 at 11:26
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I think I should also mention that this site is in Beta. What does that have to do with your question? Glad you asked.

Beta sites are judged on it's performance. Part of that consideration is the answer ratio - the number of questions that contain an answer. As of writing this post - this ratio is looking pretty bad:

enter image description here

Stack Exchange considers a 90% answer ratio to be on par, and 80% to be just okay. This site is at a staggering 64%.

So, how can I help?

First and foremost, refrain from answering questions in the comments. Art♦ already went over this in his response and I'm not here to repeat everything he said.

Don't ignore - educate. Users have many reasons for leaving answers in the comments, whether that is because they are afraid of rejection (down votes) or just don't feel their answer is on par with the question. This network encourages all kinds of on-topic answers - just because one answer is the best for you doesn't make it the best for me. Politely educate others to move their comment to an answer. Readers shouldn't have to go through all the comments to find the answer they need.

If you see an answer in the comment - and you were going to post that answer anyway, just do it; now's not the time to be courteous. Now if you weren't going to post it (but you think it's useful), then post it yourself if you can build it up to be a full answer. If you want to give the commenter the benefit of the doubt and wait 5 minutes, more power to you.

Now let's get to answerin'!

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  • I just noticed that I am a "New Contributor"... Lovely – K.Dᴀᴠɪs Nov 16 '18 at 6:08
  • Funny how I'm not -- even though that was my first post, I just joined a week ago. The main reason I've seen that users refrain from posting an answer is, because the question is not on topic. So to satisfy the user, they post an answer in the comments, but they think it's "bad practice" to post it as an actual answer, because that would allow the user to gain 2 rep for accepting that answer, and would encourage more off-topic questions. Incidentally, when I joined I didn't realize that, but since leaving comments to answers in comments and seeing their response, I have come to agree. – Alex Nov 16 '18 at 13:58
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Very much yes.

Comments are for:

  • asking for clarification
  • adding more relevant information
  • suggesting improvements

They are not for:

  • Answering the question
  • Arguing
  • Chatting
  • Literally anything else

While some leniency and discretion is perfectly reasonable, any comments that aren't doing one of the former three things (or comments that are, but have served their purpose) are subject to deletion.

If you see comments that are answering the question, I'd suggest it would be courteous to allow the comment's author a chance to make it into an answer before you go ahead - but if they're not responding or not willing to do so, then you're totally free to make it an answer yourself, and flag the comment for deletion.

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  • Wait... So I'm not allowed to leave lmgtfy comments? That could either fall in bullet # 1.2 or #2.4, not sure. – K.Dᴀᴠɪs Nov 16 '18 at 5:31
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    LMGTFY links will be nuked with extreme prejudice, @K.Davis :) – ArtOfCode Nov 16 '18 at 14:09

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