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I know it is best-stackexchange-practice to not post mini-answers in the comments, but I think it is a losing battle to try to control the behavior of commenters. I recommend we just let it go.

This remark triggered by Beautiful planar geometry theorems not encountered in high school and the several answers in the comments.

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I'm the main one asking people to move mini-answers from comments into answers, so let me explain why.

This answer on languagelearning.SE contains almost everything I have to say on the topic. The main thing I dislike about mini-answers in comments is:

In some cases (semi-)answers in comments deter others from contributing full answers. The logic is simple: I know the answer, I want to post it as a full-featured Answer, but then I see someone's Comment that hints toward a solution, then I hesitate to post my own Answer because I don't want look like I'm stealing someone else's ideas.

By encouraging the poster of the mini-answer to post an answer, I hope to make it clear not just to the commenter, but also to others, that it would be great if the idea in the comment was posted as an answer.

Still though, I'd be happy to give up on it if you all like. Comments appreciated. It's also possible that it is just my tone that is off -- maybe there is a clearer way for me to communicate other than "@commenter Post an answer!"

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From the OP:

...but I think it is a losing battle to try to control the behavior of commenters.

From a comment by @ChrisCunningham:

...I plan to delete my own comments after a week or so has passed.

I wonder if comments must really live indefinitely. If folks here want a true Question/Answer format, where these items are labeled as such, what about advertising that comments will be summarized (after some interval) and then deleted automatically? I see comments as a way to help folks fine-tune their questions (or answers), but they so often evolve into miniature, threaded Q&A fora themselves. And sometimes, they become really uninviting for new users.

So, I would propose, as an alternative to allowing mini-answers-in-comments, that comments have a fixed shelf-life, and they be somehow summarized/included in the question (or answer) itself.

[Note: I do not have a plan for how this would be operationalized.]

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't have an overarching solution in this direction, but it's worth pointing out that many comments do, to a degree, have a shelf-life, in the sense that comments that are no longer useful after the discussion is over get eventually flagged as "no longer needed" and then they are removed. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cunningham Nov 23 '19 at 22:52

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