I've come across a few questions where comments answer the question. I was wondering, if an actual answer does not exist for that comment, can I then answer that question assuming I've had experience with that software and expanding on the comment? I see that on ServerFault, that seems to be the consensus there,

Steal comments that answer the question and post them as an answer.

But I just wanted to be cleared here before I go out and start doing this. If you think should happen,

  1. Should there be a time limit between when the commentator wrote the comment and someone else posting an answer? (In the case that commentator was writing a real answer and someone posted their answer before the commenter did)
  2. Should the other person posting an answer reference the commenter's name?
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    You should have experience with what you're recommending. How often is that the case when you're 'stealing' a comment? – Undo Mar 5 '16 at 19:39
  • @Undo I always have experience with what I'm recommending but I also see that the software that I would have recommended, was already been stated in a comment, I see what you mean; though, and I'll use another word instead of steal. – Tom Mar 5 '16 at 19:43

I personally don't have an issue with this. Comments aren't supposed to be answers, answers should be answers. If someone posts an answer as a comment, you are fully within your rights to 'steal' it and post it as a real answer.

Standard rules apply, of course - answers stolen from comments must still pass the quality threshold, and they should still contain personal remarks (what you liked, what you didn't like, etc.)

If you post an answer, flagging the answer-as-a-comment as obsolete or similar wouldn't be a bad idea.

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As a rule of thumb (which I follow), I'd recommend the following approach:

  1. @ping the author of the comment to expand it into an answer
  2. go ahead if …
    • nothing happens in a reasonable time (I'd count ~5 days reasonable)
    • commenter indicates not to comply (reasonable if commenter e.g. just vaguely knows the software and thus doesn't feel comfortable with it)
    • commenter suggests to go ahead

I'd have (and had) a bad feeling if e.g. I rawly described what might fit (to see if I understood the requirements correctly), and you'd went straight to make that an answer within the next few minutes :)

If you happen to find some "old comment" (say, older than 6 months) from a commenter still having just 1 rep, situation is of course a little different: unlikely you will get feedback here, so I'd say in this case one could go ahead immediately and expand it to an answer.

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