I recently found this: Is it possible to convert audio to midi with the shell?

As you can see, the person actually leading to the answer used the comments section to provide his answer instead of posting an actual answer post.

The person who asked the question then added an answer based on what the other person had written in the comments and accepted his own answer.

Now, this would seem like "reputation theft", but here's a different issue: the person that answered in the comments seems like he isn't active anymore. The answer was given eight months ago, and the user hasn't received any more rep. since. On the other hand, that user seems to be quite active on askubuntu.com.

I'm unsure how to deal with things like that. Should it be transferred to the community wiki or something? Should I flag this question and/or answer in any way?

  • 4
    Okay, you might want to go to the washroom and get a coffee, because I'm going to lay out a complex plan for attacking this problem, entirely contained within no fewer than 42 comment (most of which strain at the maximum length) following which I will continue the discussion in chat.
    – Kaz
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 4:17
  • meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/251597/….
    – R Sahu
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 22:18

2 Answers 2


Answers posted as comments are fair game. Here's what Tim Post, the Director of Stack Overflow Communities has to say about it:

You don't have anything to feel guilty about. If the person was interested in writing and maintaining an answer, they would have done so. If it was in fact the correct answer it's hardly likely that they would be the only one to think of it.

Doing what you did by expanding it into a proper answer is perfectly fine. The question came off the unanswered list, the answer exists in a much more articulated state to help future visitors and at the end of the day everyone wins.

Answers posted as comments are actively harmful to the site. They can't be voted for or against, and they leave the question unanswered. Answers should be posted as answers.

So no, nobody did anything wrong here and nothing should be flagged. The OP waited a few months (months!) and, when the person who commented never expanded their comment into an answer, they did the right thing and posted it themselves. All's well that ends well.

  • OK, the "not wanting to maintain" argument is a very good point. Thanks for that. I usually told the person answering in comments to create an answer that I'd accept, etc. giving them the chance to receive the rep they deserved. But being put like that is fine.
    – polemon
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 9:42
  • @polemon so do I, and there's nothing wrong with that. There's just also nothing wrong with doing it yourself. The objective here is to have great answers and comments don't help.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 9:46
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    I have a data.sx query that I sometimes work through to find questions that might have been answered in the comments. I'll sometimes post such answers as community wiki (I don't care that much about fake internet points, but like to see the mission of the site executed), but minimally refer back to the user & comment as the source of the information.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 10:54
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    They can be voted for (but not against - which may partly explain their existence (fear of downvoting)) . Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 10:35
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    There might be another reason people don't post the answer, although fear of downvoting may be one - a lot of people seem to be quick to downvote anyone who isn't a guru. But sometimes a rank beginner has a fairly easy problem, and I know most of the answer, but don't want to take the chance that this person will ask for too much help instead of doing a little research. I may want to post a comment with enough info to get him started, but I don't want to get too tied up doing research to post a complete and well-done answer. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 1:38
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    There also has been at least one recent post where the commentator explicitly said the this was not a complete answer but he did not have time to expand on it. He gave anybody permission to poach the comment and gain the rep for the answer. Similar to what @MartyFried is suggesting.
    – doneal24
    Commented Jan 21, 2023 at 14:11

Simple: poach them with no mercy! I am going to make it my business to poach each and every question I find that has been answered in the comments. If the commenter doesn't like it, tough - they should have posted a proper answer!

(seriously, this is one of my pet hates on SE ...)

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