1. How do accept a comment as the correct answer to my question? As a newbie, I can't vote, and existing posts about this issue tell me I should click on the grayed out check mark next to the answer. But in the case of comments there's no such grayed out check mark. And if I 'Answer my own question', I would merely be repeating what the comment says.

  2. Suppose an answer (or comment!) offers a partial answer, but I want to continue the dialog, saying 'yes, but...'. Or suppose an offered answer (or comment!) simply didn't work and I want to report that fact? To the extent I've understood your etiquette so far, I should do so by editing my question itself. Is that right? So should I start this by saying something like 'According to one of the comments below...'?

1 Answer 1

  1. Leave a comment requesting the user convert it to an answer. See Why do people answer in comments? and Adding the "accepted" mark to a question or to a comment.

  2. Typically a "discussion" ensues within comments to the answer. This brings attention to the answerer to possibly update it to suit the new requirements. On the other hand. If the question is solved in this way, some users tend to leave their original question as-is. Others tend to feel that a modified question more adequately reflects their (original) intent, and therefore do exactly that.

    I always think that it's best to leave the post in a very general format, as it serves a purpose on its own. Explicitly stating "Edit 1" or "Edit 2", or mentioning that "some new request is as a result of some comment" makes people have to find and read the related comments to fully understand what went on. And that isn't always necessary in my opinion. You can identify post edits by looking at the revision history, and comments vary in their usefulness and shouldn't always be referred to as being part of a question/answer.

    What is important though is asking a good question to start with. Yes, this is not always easy. Do your research before "throwing in the towel"... One thing that has shown to help time-and-time again is the construction of a minimal (working) example (or MWE). Very often, when breaking down a problem into its minimal components, it reveals clues as to what the solution might hold. Moreover, it shows that you care and would serve the community a problem on a silver platter... rather than just dumping your question using a fix-this-for-me approach. Never under-estimate the power of a minimal (working) example.

  • 4
    Maybe point out that if the comments are asking for clarification, editing the original question is usually a good idea?
    – cfr
    Jun 18, 2015 at 3:06
  • 1
    Also point out that editing the question in a way that changes its meaning (if invalidating existing answers) is not allowed. New doubts = new question. If the doubts are "accessory" to the question, then they can be posted as comments.
    – Alenanno
    Jun 26, 2015 at 15:14
  • Sorry, but I had to un-check the answer. Re-reading it, I find that I still don't understand what to do. The response 'Typically a "discussion" ensues within comments to the answer.' suggests to me that when a suggested answer is tried but doesn't work, or works only partially and I want to continue the dialog, I should do so in a comment. But earlier someone told me that's not what comments are for. So I still don't know whether to continue the dialog by adding a comment reporting results so far vs. editing the answer to describe attempts up to this point. Jun 29, 2015 at 14:11
  • @PeytonTodd: There's nothing that prevents one from using comments to pursue a dialog. The system will automatically suggest "continuation of the discussion in a [separate] chat room", if it gets too long. And that "too long" is actually not really that long... However, since comments tend to distract from the answers, they are cleared up (deleted by the owners) after things have been sorted out.
    – Werner Mod
    Jun 29, 2015 at 20:53
  • @Werner: Just for clarification, by "owners" I assume you mean the people making the comment, right? Also, in the event the system suggests "continuation in a chat room", will it tell me how to get to this chat room? Thanks. Jun 30, 2015 at 14:59
  • @PeytonTodd: Yes, owners = those who wrote the original comment. However, some people who read the comments may find their existence obsolete and flag it as such (which may cause deletion by a moderator). When the systems suggests continuation of some comment-discussion in chat, a visible bar will be displayed. In fact, there's actually been an old feature request to make this available as an option by default, not just when comment-discussions become lengthy.
    – Werner Mod
    Jun 30, 2015 at 17:08
  • @PeytonTodd: I am barely above the level of newbie myself. My observations: Comments are best, unless the question is narrowly defined, and has a narrowly defined answer. Most of those involve a MWE (minimal working example) with a problem, and a TeX code answer as a solution. Generalities are best as comments, which are more by way of discussion. As others note, if your problem is solved in the comments, then request that the comment be promoted to answer, and be sure to mark it as the answer.
    – RobtA
    Jul 1, 2015 at 1:59

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