The minimum answer length is 30 characters. That should give you an idea around the minimum amount of effort we are expecting to be put into an answer. If you are answering a question, please just write it as an answer. It will make my job easier, and benefit more people in the community.
I think the amount of formatting and additional discussion around the answer you provided demonstrates the benefit of this approach. Answers improve over time, and that collective improvement is a key strength of the Stack Exchange network.
As mentioned in the Help Center section on comments, comments are for clarification, constructive criticism, and adding relevant but minor or transient information to a post.
Comments are not recommended for any of the following:
- Suggesting corrections that don't fundamentally change the meaning of the post
- Answering a question or providing an alternate solution to an existing answer; instead, post an actual answer (or edit to expand an existing one);
- Compliments which do not add new information
- Criticisms which do not add anything constructive
- Secondary discussion or debating a controversial point
- Discussion of community behavior or site policies
See more information here:
I apply these guidelines when moderating posts, and am particularly insistent on these guidelines applied to the posted question.
Answers as comments are a problem on Stack Exchange for multiple reasons, including the following:
- it breaks threading
- paragraph formatting is unavailable (e.g. line breaks, bullet points, scripts, tables)
- it doesn't give proper credit to the person answering
- there's no way for moderators to convert a comment into an answer
- it breaks the "bubble to the top" approach for answers
- it confuses the question promotion algorithm
- it makes it hard for potential answerers to tell (from the question browser) when a question has already been answered
- revision history is not available
- other people can't update and improve the answer