There are a lot of comments that are essentially answers, like this.

It means that someone with authority signed off on your invoice as authoritative and that your demand for payment, as documented by your invoice, moves forward toward your goal of being fully paid - a goal which will be achieved when everyone with the requisite authority and responsibility has signed off on your invoice. If it sounds bureaucratic and deliberate, that's because it is bureaucratic and deliberate. They weren't going to liberate your money just on your say-so, right? :) – Vietnhi Phuvan 43 mins ago

Thanks, Vietnhi! So what do I actually put in the boxes? Where my guesses correct? – invoicehelp 42 mins ago

You don't get to fill in the boxes! For the same reason that I'd get rich if I got to approve my own invoices :) Submit your invoice to your client. Either your client fills in the boxes because your client has the authority, or your client passes on the invoice to someone in the client's hierarchy who has authority to liberate your money. But you gotta take the first step amd submit that invoice to your client :) – Vietnhi Phuvan 37 mins ago

I could take those two comments and make them into a halfway decent answer. Is that appropriate? (In this case, I don't actually know enough to make an answer on my own, so perhaps it shouldn't be me using the comments. On the other hand, the OP seems to think the comments/answer is helpful.)

This meta question starts from the person asking the question, how to respond when the answer is in the comments. This question is from the view of someone coming across a question where there isn't an answer yet, except for in the comments, and those comments appear to be at least the start for a good answer. Perhaps the answer for both this and that are the same, and this should be considered a duplicate.

  • 2
    Vietnhi already got several requests in comments ;-) to move his comments into an answer and he is doing so. Still a good question though.
    – user8036
    May 1 '14 at 11:32

There's nothing wrong with answering a question based on a comment you saw, as long as you can validate it as per the back it up rule with facts and references, or experiences that happened to you personally.

I can say that I've definitely seen comments that have sparked some ideas in my head and got me to think about a problem and a solution. In the end, the goal is to help the asker and future visitors, and if we should gain ideas from others who don't take the time to contribute answers, then this is sort of a win. However, the answers I ultimately post are based on my own knowledge and experiences. Thus, while a copy/paste verbatim answer may be considered inappropriate, the actual content that would come from us as the authors is ideal.

Comments are intended to seek clarification or help improve a post, and moderators delete such comments that don't fall within these guidelines. Since the answers in comments can't be properly voted on and ranked, they're basically noise.

In this case, I'd suggest using comments to encourage these commenters to leave actual answers. You can certainly leave such encouraging comments, and I think I've even seen you leave such comments.

Ultimately, if we must choose between losing content posted incorrectly in comments or having someone like you take the time and care to develop a great answer, then we should choose the latter.


I am fine with anyone piecing a coherent answer together from comments, especially if they have something that's original to add. Any action that helps produce insight into the situation is welcome. While our individual answers reflect our individual effort and contribution, the answers as an aggregate represent a community effort to help the OP. Helping the OP is the immediate, specific goal of the community while the encompassing goal of the community is helping those readers who are in a situation that's similar to the OP's. A sanity check is that answers that make sense should reinforce each other in some way. To me, an answer that does nothing more than reinforce other answers that make sense - that's still a valuable answer.

I'll note that life for many comments can be nasty, brutish and short regardless of the merits of the comments. Nobody gets helped by comments that have been erased.

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