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At the time of writing, this post has 28 views and no downvotes (or upvotes). I see it simply as a PSQ (Problem Statement Question), and it is quite possible it will be closed soon. I didn't downvote it, because I found it a bit interesting. Even added a hint, and am working on it myself. Of course, I won't post a solution, but finding a solution will help me sleep. I didn't upvote it too, since it shows no effort. But I've seen other PSQs attracting downvotes rather quickly (even I downvote the ones which I don't find interesting). So, do we all refrain from voting on PSQs that seem interesting to us (of course, for many people, this will be very trivial)? I would like an honest answer and not an answer that just describes what ought to be done with PSQs. (Now it has just one upvote and one downvote, so no net change).
Also, I wonder if adding a comment-hint (like I did here) or a comment-answer (I've seen them quite a few times) to PSQs is ethical. Does it violate the quality standards? I often see comment-answers as a way to answer the PSQs question without the risk of downvotes.

Edit: Okay, so I understood a little about the original question. About the side question: Although the comment by Sarvesh talks a bit about answering PSQs in the comments, I'm still not satisfied. Again, do I violate the quality standards if I answer an absolute no-work PSQ (no context even in the comments) in the comments? What about providing a hint in the comments?

According to the question linked by Nij, comment-answers to PSQs should be avoided. What about comment-hints to PSQs?

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    $\begingroup$ Voting is anonymous (even to mods) and the motivation for voting is best known to the voter. It is best not to speculate on it. $\endgroup$
    – Paramanand Singh Mod
    Mar 3, 2023 at 8:11
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    $\begingroup$ Any blanket statement "ALL PSQs should be downvoted" etc. should be avoided. Apply more nuance in your voting. For example, the question could be a PSQ but there could be a lot of context in the comments. In that situation, we need to take into account the fact that suggested improvements will probably be incorporated, and write a comment "lift your comments to the main post, they are useful context" and so on. Answering PSQs should be a rare affair : there are users who may choose to answer a PSQ using context from comments, before those comments are edited into the main post. $\endgroup$ Mar 3, 2023 at 10:19
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    $\begingroup$ @SarveshRavichandranIyer "context in the comments" is not context. Until it is put into the question itself, it really shouldn't factor into how one votes on the question. I have even noticed a few people who will put "-1, but if you fix the errors, I'll change my vote". $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Mar 3, 2023 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ @SarveshRavichandranIyer Search engines treat comments differently, someone should not have to read through an extensive back-and-forth to understand a question, and comments can (and often are) deleted, often without notice. Comments are, by design, temporary. If it isn't in the question itself, it should not be a factor in assessing the quality of the question. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Mar 3, 2023 at 15:03
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson "Comments are not context" I don't fully subscribe to that. Alternately, I can suggest a compromise : if the OP writes anything in the comments, and a future answerer finds that it is useful in answering the question and is an important thing for future visitors to know, then one should be allowed to edit the question and place such a comment as context, or slightly tightened, request the OP via comments to do the same. To me , an OP providing information merely without knowing where to put it can easily be assisted to create a good question, a scalable solution. $\endgroup$ Mar 3, 2023 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ @SarveshRavichandranIyer Wether or not you subscribe to that idea, it is a network-wide understanding of what comments are, and what they are for. But, yes: anyone can edit the comments into the question. They should. Until those comments are edited into the question, they are not "context". $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Mar 3, 2023 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ @SarveshRavichandranIyer It has been long established that anyone is free to edit a question or answer, as long as it adheres to the intentions of the original author. If the original author clearly indicated their intentions in the comments, anyone is free to edit those comments into the question. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Mar 3, 2023 at 15:20
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    $\begingroup$ No idea how "we" vote on PSQs, but I will downvote any post I read that has not made a reasonable effort, is not useful, or goes against site policies. PSQs are all of these by definition. Even if it doesn't provide a disincentive to every PSQ post author, it will help them get cleaned up faster if they have a negative scores, versus a neutral score (or god forbid, a positive score, once pity vote makers have come through). $\endgroup$
    – Nij
    Mar 3, 2023 at 23:38
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    $\begingroup$ It depends on how interesting is the problem. If the problem is really interesting for me, I'll upvote the question, If the problem is standard and looks like homework, I'll downvote the question. Otherwise, I will not vote. $\endgroup$
    – kludg
    Mar 4, 2023 at 5:58
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    $\begingroup$ @ryang: answering poor questions even in comments is something against the standards the community has set. Such activity does encourage asking poor questions. Please flag such comments if you notice them. $\endgroup$
    – Paramanand Singh Mod
    Mar 4, 2023 at 5:58
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    $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? Are answers given by comments for low-quality questions against the principles stated with the EoQS? tldr Yes, answers in comments go against (EO)QS, don't use comments that way. $\endgroup$
    – Nij
    Mar 5, 2023 at 0:00
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    $\begingroup$ @DS, if you try posting a hint as an answer, someone will tell you it's not an answer, and it should have been posted as a comment(!) $\endgroup$ Mar 6, 2023 at 5:50
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    $\begingroup$ @SarveshRavichandranIyer I confess to having posted several hints with exactly that goal in mind (or to make them actually solve their problem, and hopefully also post an answer). My experience is mixed. More often than not such a hint-in-a-comment has no effect on the asker. This is par for the course, when the asker only wants somebody to do their homework. It does happen that the asker makes an elated "Got it!"-reply (frequently enough to keep me going). However, it is admittedly rare that the asker proceeds to post a full answer. May be somebody else has a better track record than I do? $\endgroup$ Mar 6, 2023 at 8:00
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    $\begingroup$ On the other hand, hinting in the comments is, per SE rules, not allowed: comments (on the main site) are for suggestions and clarification, only. My primary objective in moderation (with respect to these kinds of comments) is to maintain or improve the overall quality of the material on this site. If a question is of very low quality, I would prefer that it not be addressed until it is improved. No hints, no answers---fix the question first. However, if one is compelled to engage with a poor-quality question, I, personally, would rather that hints be left in the comments. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Mar 6, 2023 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ Answered questions are harder to delete than unanswered questions, hence I would prefer that folk not post answers to those questions. While it still isn't really okay to post a hint in the comments, if the question is destined for closure, it would be less bad to post a hint in the comments than to post a hint as an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Mar 6, 2023 at 16:23

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