This has been bugging me for a while, but I was prompted to ask here just now due to the question What are these wires on single-sided PCBs?.
To preserve the issue, here is a snapshot of the complete comment chain at the time of this writing:
A comment attempting to answer a question has these drawbacks:
- It is not peer-reviewed. Others can only upvote, not downvote.
- Comments discussing the "answer" are easily lost in the comment chain, and are noise there since that's not what the comments below a question are for.
- It's not labeled as a answer, and can therefore be easily overlooked by future readers.
- It circumvents the close mechanism. The whole point of closing a question is to prevent it from being answered. This is usually to force the OP to clean up the question by withholding a positive result until then. If a positive result is received via a comment, then the will of the members or mods expressed thru the close mechanism is subverted.
I liken comments to a question to scaffolding or construction lines to help build the question. They can also explain why a question is not a fit for the site.
So the question here is: What to do about comments answering questions? In this case, I flagged for moderator attention using the custom reason, explaining that it was a attempt to answer the question. I'm not sure that was right, and I don't know yet how that flag will be handled.
What is the right procedure?
The flag I raised on the answer-comment was accepted as "helpful", and the answer-comment is now gone.