Recently I replied to a question. Some one downvoted the answer saying that it should have been comment not the answer. The main reason I posted the reply as answer was that I didn't had privileges to comment.

But then I wondered what differentiates an answer from comment. I am new to WPSE, so I would love to know how you people decide if you should answer or comment?

Here is the question that I answered: get_transient(), PHP switch(), and comparison operators

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That down vote may not have come from the commenter. Rarst has answered very well here. I think in this case a downvote could have been avoided if you included corrected code rather than just saying the other answer was incorrect. That being said don't let downvotes get you down :) –  Brady May 13 '11 at 13:11
    
No by the time I wrote my answer the other two answers were already posted, so I never got the chance to actually see those other two answers. And I didn't meant your answer was wrong, I meant the examples in the question. :) Apologies as I am still getting a hold of this, and this is just my first day. –  Hameedullah Khan May 13 '11 at 15:26
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1 Answer

up vote 7 down vote accepted
  • Answer is solution (or at least attempt) of an issue, posed in original question.
  • Comment is tool for discussion of original question or answers.

Here is how FAQ puts it:

Answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. Answers that are

  • commentary on the question or other answers
  • asking another, different question
  • “thanks!” or “me too!” responses
  • exact duplicates of other answers
  • not even a partial answer to the actual question

may be be removed. If you wish to improve an existing answer, click edit. For additional guidance, see How to Answer.

Also you should be precise when you want to mention other answers in your own. Things like "answer above mine" make no sense because order shifts all the time and such.

If you want to expand other answer considerably you can formulate it like following

Username had already covered X but I want to add/change/note Y and Z to his point.

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Thanks Rarst, now one thing I wonder. How do you both get to know about my this question? did you get any notification when I linked the question or something? –  Hameedullah Khan May 13 '11 at 15:28
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@Hameedullah Khan you mean about this question on meta? Moderators like me (marked by ♦ after nickname) get notified about every new question on meta and are instructed to pay special attention to them. –  Rarst May 13 '11 at 17:43
    
Yes, I meant this question on meta. Thanks for the help and clarification. –  Hameedullah Khan May 13 '11 at 20:15
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