I was reviewing the low-quality posts queue, and came across this answer. It's a hint answer that very closely resembles a comment made a minute prior under the question. Should I recommend deletion?

It's worth pointing out too that another answer, one that answers the question completely, and was posted two minutes prior to the hint answer.

I have no qualms with giving hint answers; such answers can be the most helpful to the asker. I also see the value in answers drawn from discussion in comments, so that the question actually has an answer (though community wiki seems appropriate). And, I don't mind when two similar answers appear, only minutes between them, as expecting someone to delete their answer minutes after somebody else completes their answer fosters the "race" mentality that is harmful for a number of reasons.

But, somehow, the combination of all three makes me want to recommend deletion. It's such a simple, short answer too, so there's not a lot of effort being wasted, and a full answer was given prior.

So, the answer seems to add nothing new to question, but at the same time, I can't fault the person who wrote it for writing it. Is it reasonable to recommend deletion in such circumstances? What about voting down? When is it appropriate to recommend deletion, instead of just voting down?

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    $\begingroup$ FWIW, the answer's already gone... $\endgroup$
    – Andrew T.
    Feb 21, 2019 at 8:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Andrew, it's deleted, which isn't exactly the same thing as gone, as those with enough points can still see it. $\endgroup$ Feb 21, 2019 at 9:25
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    $\begingroup$ I think you have to judge the quality of the Answer post without regard to the duplication of a Comment. If it is a valid answer, then so be it. (Note that we discourage posting full or nearly full answers as Comments, but it would be appropriate to give credit in an Answer that repeats an idea first provided as a Comment.) I personally have qualms about "hint" Answers, however helpful these might be, if they fall short of a workable solution outline, but that is something about which I acknowledge there can be other valid opinions. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Feb 22, 2019 at 3:46
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath In this case, it wasn't clear that the answer was a copy of the comment, due to them being posted so close to each other. But, in general, do you think it's ok for someone else to write up an answer presented in the comments, provided they give credit? $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2019 at 2:09
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    $\begingroup$ @TheoBendit: Yes, I believe this is the consensus of several discussions here. See for example, Question answered in comments and Dealing with answers in comments. Of course if the person who posted the answer did not see the comment(s), it's understandable that they don't credit those. But the interest is to have good Answers for content (Comments are ephemeral). I think the "hint" answer in the above case was good. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Feb 23, 2019 at 2:37
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath Thank you! $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2019 at 2:38

1 Answer 1


The bad guy here is the comment. Comments are not supposed to be used for answers. It is very common to see answers in comments on this site and, as opposed to most other SE siblings, moderators here don't seem to care (in other SE sites you regularly see moderators telling members not to post answers as comments).


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