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New users often want to make a comment about a question or answer that they have read on this site, but they lack the $50$ reputation necessary to leave a comment. To circumvent this, they post their question as an answer.

Sometimes the user is unaware that they should not post a question or comment as an answer; in this case I would flag the post as 'not an answer'. However, sometimes the user is well aware of this fact and they preface their question with something similar to "I don't have enough reputation to comment, but". I believe that these answers should still be flagged, but I feel a bit silly flagging it as 'not an answer' because the following text is automatically posted as a comment (from me):

This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post.

Clearly the user is already aware of this fact.

What is the appropriate course of action in this situation?

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    $\begingroup$ If you feel strongly about it, you can simply delete the auto-Comment. As you point out, it gets posted as-if by oneself automatically with the flagging. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Aug 10 '14 at 22:27
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    $\begingroup$ Just to mention it: Occasionally, the thing to do is flag as "other" and write "This should be converted to a comment, because ...". $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Aug 11 '14 at 10:07
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    $\begingroup$ You wrote: they should not post a question or comment as an answer. I am not sure whether everyone agrees with this. This thread is also related: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/9203/… $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Aug 11 '14 at 13:38
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    $\begingroup$ Incidentally, one of my most upvoted answers (math.stackexchange.com/questions/14282/…) starts out essentially like this (I wonder if I should get that removed at some point). $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kildetoft Aug 11 '14 at 18:39
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I feel a bit silly flagging it as 'not an answer' because the following text is automatically posted as a comment (from me):

Not when you flag. (I just tested flagging an answer as "not an answer"; no comment was added.) The comment is added when you review a flag in the Low Quality queue, and pick the option with this comment.

Hence, the solution: go with "No comment needed" option, which is selected by default.

A typical scenario when this applies: someone from outside Math.SE posts a notice that the question is from an ongoing contest. They do it as an answer, as that's the only way they have. Telling them "This does not provide an answer to the question" looks very much out of place, and reflects poorly on the site: the user may go away thinking that it's a Math.SE policy to enable cheaters (well, it does seem to be the policy of some users, but not of the majority).

Of course, in the above scenario I would also go to the question, try to confirm the claim, post a comment under question, and alert the moderators. And then pick the delete option in review. Here is a recent example (now deleted, so visible to 10K users only).

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    $\begingroup$ Your recent example $\not\exists$ $\endgroup$ – kasperd Aug 16 '14 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ @kasperd It was deleted. It is still visible to 10k+ users and mods. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Aug 23 '14 at 5:30

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