When to use answers or comments

This article shares best practices for when to use answers or comments in question threads.

When to use answers

Use answers when you have a solution to the question that has been asked.

Some things to consider

  • Answers do not have a limitation in size, still they should be detailed enough while focused on the question asked.
  • Answers can be marked as Accepted Answers by the author, which helps other users to know the answer solved the user's problem helping both the author and others in the community.
  • Do not use answers for comments as the author will get a survey to evaluate the quality of the answer. If the answer is really a comment, there is not much the user can evaluate and it simply wastes their time.
  • See this article How to answer a question for best practices.

When to use comments

  • Clarify a question, answer, or comment or add more information.
  • Share tips on how the user might research the answer to their question.
  • Suggest ways to improve the question or answer.
  • Follow up with customers on abandoned threads.
  • Redirect customers to a different forum site. Be sure to always provide the proper context when linking to information on sites outside of Microsoft Q&A.

Comments should be short and to the point. Therefore, they have a limitation of 1,600 characters to keep the conversation focused.

Avoid answering questions in comments as those cannot be marked as Accepted Answers.

Converting answers to comments and vice-versa

Moderators ensure that answers and comments are posted correctly. Therefore, they can convert any answer to a comment and vice-versa. Users can convert their own comments to answers and vice-versa.

Converting comments to answers

If you feel you entered a comment by mistake and it is a potential answer, you can convert the comment to an answer by following these steps.

  1. Navigate to the comment.
  2. Under the comment, click on "More" option, and then on "Convert to answer". convert to answer
  3. You will see a pop-up "Are you sure you want to covert this comment to answer?", click on "Yes".

Your comment is now an "Answer".

Converting answers to comments

If you feel you entered an answer by mistake and it is just a clarifying note, tip, etc. (i.e., it is not solving the user’s question) you can convert the comment to an answer by following these steps.

Since there is a size limitation on comments, you have to take some steps first to reduce the answer’s size first.

  • Edit the answer to make it less than 1,600 characters.
  • Remove your answer and enter multiple comments instead.
  • Edit the answer and reduce its size by converting any code samples, logs, error outputs etc. as attachments. This makes your comment and the rest of the thread more readable while helping other users to focus on your main point without being distracted by the error, log, or code sample text.

Once the answer is less than 1,600 characters you can follow these steps to convert it to a comment.

  1. Navigate to your answer.
  2. On the "answer, click on "Gear" icon and then select "Convert to Comment". Screenshot of example user answer which shows a drop down menu with convert to comment selected.
  3. You will receive a confirmation dialogue: "You can place the comment under the "Question" or underneath any "Answer". If you select “Answer”, select the appropriate one and click "OK".

Note that if a moderator cannot convert your answer to a comment due to its size, they will post a comment with a mention to you, to encourage you take the steps above. Please make sure you have email notifications enabled so you will get a mail when the moderator mentions you. We appreciate a quick response on this action, so the community can best receive help from your inputs.