I've noticed that some people will leave answers as comments. This question made me think more about this behavior. You'll notice that there are a handful of answers left as comments to the question. The question itself is kind of questionable which may be why people commented instead of answered but I've seen it happen plenty of other times as well.

If someone left a correct answer as a comment, I feel weird about repeating what they said as an answer, but not answering it leaves it without an answer to accept.

Is there a time when an answer as an comment is correct behavior?

2 Answers 2


I really wouldn't consider any of those comments to be answers.

An answer means you have a solution to the problem. In this case, at the time of writing, the question is not merely "questionable" but virtually non-existent. The comments are random shots in the dark, potential seeds of answers based on insufficient data. Not answers.

In my mind, that is an exceptionally poor question and we shouldn't encourage that kind of sloppiness with actual answers - but of course, in practice, the answer box is yours to do with as you please.

It's very easy on a cooking site to fall into the pattern of posting random hints and tips as answers, because very often that's what people know - but if we want to keep the overall quality level on this site high, then there should be some expectation that answers are reasonably complete and well-researched (or at least well-founded). Answers that just say "hey, try this" without any context or rationale should be posted as comments; I'm personally glad to see that people aren't promoting those to the status of answers.

Sometimes we have to infer context because the questioner doesn't have the vocabulary or experience necessary to properly communicate their question. That's okay. But if you're literally just guessing at the meaning then it's questionable how much you are helping either the questioner or the internet at large by just throwing something out there.

Let's not promote or reward sarcastic or frivolous answers of dubious merit. If you're sure you understand the question and are prepared to offer an answer with reasonable detail then yes, absolutely, post an answer, even if you're not 100% sure that it's correct. If, on the other hand, you have little to no confidence in the usefulness of your response, and are unable to back it up at all (which is essentially impossible with vague questions), then please do post a comment instead.

P.S. Note that there's nothing wrong with "quick and dirty" answers, and I don't mean to suggest that every answer should consist of several pages of citations. If you can fully answer the question in a single paragraph then do it; but if your reason for briefness is due to a badly-asked question then ask for clarification instead of wild-guessing.

  • 2
    That is exactly how I choose whether to leave a comment or a question. If all I have is a guess, and I'm not sure it's the right one (often because I don't have experience with that particular food) I'll leave it as a comment rather than an answer. I will usually put something in the comment to the effect of "my guess is" or "maybe." (See my comment here for an example of when I was too unsure to post it as an answer: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/12526/… )
    – Martha F.
    Mar 2, 2011 at 16:11

If you feel a comment is a legitimate answer, it's fair to urge them to post it as such in a @reply comment.

Failing that, it is also OK to post someone else's comment as an answer, though I would mark it community wiki and indicate the source.

That said, I am not sure in this case those comments were actually answers.

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