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At times i see people providing answers in comments vs actually providing an answer. I went through the below post to understand when to Comment vs Answer.

What is the etiquette when it comes to questions answered in comments?

My understanding is that commenting is used to get more details regarding the question which would enable any of the community users to provide a solution. Other than that even a suggestion how it can be implemented needs to go as an answer.

My guess is that at times the Answers gets down voted if its slightly off what is asked for ,so people are little tentative and start off with commenting.

But a level of clarity when to comment vs answer would be really helpful?

  • As you said, I think people tend to use comments if they are not 100% sure of their answer. Event more if the answer is complex and some checks have to be made before. – Martin Lezer Jun 13 '17 at 7:23
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    Also sometimes we might not want to get dragged into a long back-and-forth if we suspect the user might have many follow up questions. – Adrian Larson Jun 13 '17 at 16:18
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I've always approached comments as transient things. Here one moment, gone the next. Great for quick clarification, but likely to disappear at any point in time. It's my understanding that the site based search doesn't work over comments.

If there is anything important to either the question or an answer it should be edited in.

In the interest of being civil I'll usually try and nudge the commenter to post an actual answer to the question. Then it can be correctly flagged as such to help future visitors to the question get to the answer faster. Then it gets all sorts of good things, like the ability to be edited and commented on in isolation.

That said, it's all to easy to miss an answer hiding in a comment thread. I've arrived at questions in the past, known the answer, answered as such and then moved on. If I find out there was a similar answer in the comment I'll try and indicate as such.

If people want to fire off a quick incomplete answer in a comment, that's all good. It will provide some immediate help to the asker. However, I don't think they should be surprised or offended if someone turns their comment into an actual answer (ideally with some attribution to them and fair warning that it will be done on their behalf).

To quote @sfdcfox's comment:

I use the site to help people, and questions with no official answers don't help people. I scour the unanswered list to see if I can provide answers anywhere, and comment-answered questions still show up in the unanswered list, which makes me look at them over and again. If the person who supplied the correct answer would make their answer an answer, or even if the OP would make a comment the answer, then I wouldn't have to, and I could focus on questions with no actual answers!

  • Thanks Daniel. I somehow find it ethically wrong to post an answer to a question if the answer is already part of comments.But the flip side to that as you said is it may not help future visitors to this site for similar questions as they may not even know the answer is in the comments. – RedDevil Jun 20 '17 at 2:31
  • @RedDevil If you do notice an answer in the comments try and give them a polite @ nudge to come back round and add it as an official answer. If they don't show up after a period of time (a few days maybe?) consider it fair game to post your own answer and attribute it to them. Or Community Wiki it if you are having trouble sleeping at night. – Daniel Ballinger Jun 20 '17 at 2:35
  • lol ok thanks Daniel – RedDevil Jun 20 '17 at 2:36
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This is only my opinion, not any kind of official guideline I've read or seen posted anyplace. Sometimes people post questions that are readily answered by a quick Google search (I prefer http:findsf.info) or looking it up in Help. The question isn't difficult and is basic knowledge or obvious from looking at their code.

At other times, they may not have provided sufficient code to give a definitive answer, yet from the description, it's fairly obvious what the likely cause of the problem is. Then the are times when I know the question has been asked numerous times before but don't want to spend the time to look up an instance of where it's been asked and answered before. I'm here to primarily to help others, not spend my limited time as the "did you search this question first police" (although I do that where it's genuinely appropriate).

It's in those instances where I'll drop a quick answer in a comment. Why?

  1. I don't feel my answer would be worth an upvote because it essentially becomes a link-only answer and the effort put into asking it doesn't merit more than that kind of response.
  2. As @AdrianLarson said in his comments, I may not want to be drawn into a lengthy back & forth discussion with someone really just needs to spend time reading and learning from the documentation or doing Trailhead modules to learn the material.
  3. The question is borderline when it comes to closing, so doesn't merit the effort it requires to justify closing it when I can simply provide an answer in a comment.

That having been said, I find it in poor taste when I or someone else provides the answer to a question in comments, then another user posts it as their own.

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